BASSETERRE, St Kitts – The much-anticipated changes to St Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment Programme have been announced today by the country’s recently appointed Citizenship by Investment Unit Head, Michael Martin. Setting a bold and new tone for the industry as a whole, St Kitts and Nevis is once again leading the way for the investment immigration industry – adding a new layer of integrity to truly accelerate the country’s economic diversification, empower and prosper local citizens while creating an enriching base for intelligent investors.
“Today, our progressive government brings to fruition these much-awaited and very important changes to our much-loved Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP). Today marks a new era for the investment immigration industry as we boldly declare that a clear strategy will drive our Citizenship by Investment Programme with the sole purpose of benefiting our people and investors who want to see our nation flourish.”
“Today these changes show the international community that we place honesty and integrity above all else as we look to deliver a product that will bring us a positive reputation and send a clear message that we are open for business,” said Michael Martin.
The changes have been gazetted on 23 December 2022 and will take effect on 1 January 2023.
Since his election in August, prime minister of St Kitts and Nevis, Dr Terrance Drew, has hinted at upcoming changes to the country’s Citizenship by Investment programme – reiterating multiple times that the revamped programme needs to be mutually beneficial to both Kittians and Nevisians and international investors.
The prime minister said at a recent event:
“While we navigate the complexities of managing a small island developing state in this unpredictable and highly globalized world, we have made it a priority to craft a solution to ensure that the evolution of our citizenship programme will be a sustainable model filled with integrity, transparency and accountability.”
The programme will be underpinned by three fundamental principles that have guided the administration’s decision-making with respect to the evolved version of the twin-island’s citizenship by investment programme – sustainability, good governance and pragmatism.
“We have crafted a sustainable model that will continue to be the envy of the international community by injecting high levels of integrity that will come through administrative improvements. We have also structured our programme to allow for greater transparency and accountability, which make the hallmarks of a good governance framework that solidifies the foundation of any successful endeavour. Lastly, we have tailored our investment options to align with market realities while preserving the platinum brand our proud nation has developed and nurtured for four decades, operating the oldest citizenship by investment programme in the world,” added the prime minister.
To achieve this, the most notable change to the programme will be the introduction of a board of governors and a technical committee.
Effective next year, a professional citizenship by investment board of governors will be responsible for high-level supervisory matters such as providing general oversight of the operations the CBI Unit, developing and implementing policies and procedures for the CBI Unit, ensuring that application processing is completed as swiftly as possible within the time frames advertised without comprising the integrity of the programme and, continuously monitoring the global investor immigration industry to ensure that the country’s Citizenship by Investment regulations align with and adjust to, international market forces.
To further the Programme’s good governance agenda, a citizenship by investment technical committee will be charged with ensuring that all due diligence background checks are comprehensive and that all citizenship by investment applications are reviewed thoroughly. This committee will also be tasked with making recommendations to the prime minister in his capacity as minister of national security, immigration and citizenship.
The technical committee will be comprised of a chairperson, this role will be filled by the recently appointed head of the CBI Unit, Michael Martin; a senior officer and a secretary – who will be a civil servant assigned by the prime minister.
Applicants can gain second citizenship in 60 days, but only for a limited time
St Kitts and Nevis is offering applicants a chance to gain second citizenship in as little as 60 days through its Sustainable Growth Fund – the revenue from the fund is aimed to facilitate economic development and social upliftment in the country. The Sustainable Growth Fund will be used to provide financial support to educational institutions, medical facilities, as well as provide additional funding for the construction of infrastructure, the development of local tourism, the preservation of local culture and heritage and support of sustainable growth initiatives in the twin-island nation.
The Sustainable Growth Fund remains the quickest and easiest route to second citizenship in St Kitts and Nevis and from 1 January to 30 June 2023, for a Limited Time Offer, a main applicant, following stringent background checks, can make a minimum investment of US$125,000 to the Fund and receive approval in principle within 60 days of submission of application.
Under the Limited Time Offer, investment options are as follows:
- Single applicant – US$ 125,000
- Main applicant and a spouse – US$150,000
- Main applicant, spouse and two dependants – US$170,000
- Each additional dependant under 18 – US$10,000
- Each additional dependant over 18 – US$25,000
From 1 July 2023 onwards, applicants investing through the Sustainable Growth Fund will be charged as follows and can expect approval in principle within 90 days of submission of application.
- Main applicant – US$150,000
- Main applicant and a spouse – US$175,000
- Main applicant, spouse and two dependants – US$195,000
- Each additional dependant under 18 – US$10,000
- Each additional dependant over 18 – US$25,000
These changes are part of the government’s tireless efforts to create conditions necessary for sustainable economic growth and diverse business opportunities.
“This is an exciting time because these policies will continue our progressive course in the global investor immigration industry and cement St Kitts and Nevis’ place as a leader in the citizenship by investment space. As we move toward a brand-new diversified economy, we remain committed to investing in tangible projects to uplift the country to achieve our goal of establishing a sustainable island state,” continued the prime minister.
It is important to note that these additional layers are not meant to hinder the application process but rather ensure multiple aspects including keeping processing to agreed timelines, all approved applicants are of the highest repute and most importantly, that projects meet the requirement of benefitting the local economy.
Another change is that the sustainable model of the citizenship by investment programme will now involve the implementation of an improved multi-faceted approved real estate application process, the removal of loopholes and the strict enforcement of escrow and project milestone requirements.
The evolved St Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment programme will invite bold and creative investors to facilitate the development of innovative industries in St Kitts and Nevis including construction of real estate developments pursuant to the new administration’s priority infrastructure list. “All projects must bring substantial benefit to the people of St Kitts and Nevis,” noted the prime minister.
The government will approve real estate projects to be developed and of these, a designated number of real estate units will be available to be sold to qualifying investors. Real estate projects will be constructed and completed according to a pre-defined schedule and a designated escrow drawdown process will also be implemented.
Only approved real estate developments will be eligible for the Citizenship by Investment option and most importantly, current “Approved Projects” will lose this designation once the new Citizenship by Investment regulations have been gazetted and approved, meaning stakeholders of these projects will need to apply afresh to become an “Approved Development”.
Minimum investment for approved real estate will remain at US$200,000 but there will be an introduction of penalties for the circumvention of minimum investment sums including:
- Fines of up to US$200,000 on summary conviction;
- Revocation/suspension of Approved Development status;
- Removal of Authorised Agent licence;
- Blacklisting on the Citizenship by Investment website as a person or entity not authorised to submit a Citizenship b Investment application.
A new Public Good Investment Option (PGIO) will replace the Alternative Investment Option (AIO) and will focus on effecting real transformation for the country by investing into areas that will benefit the citizens of St Kitts and Nevis – these projects must maximise local employment, transfer technological skills and increase capacity building. Investors of the PGIO must assume all financial risks associated with the projects and, if the investment results in the development of real estate on state land, investors must agree to transfer all real estate to the state on substantial completion.
Investors looking to contribute to the PGIO will be required to apply to the board of governors to be designated as a Public Good Investor. To qualify under the PGIO, an applicant must contribute US$175,000, excluding relevant due diligence, processing and government fees.
Investors can also apply for citizenship through the purchase of a qualified private home, for a minimum investment of US$400 000.00 for each main applicant. Unlike the preapproved real estate option, investing through a private home means a single-family home is sold as one unit and cannot be converted into apartments, condominiums or divided otherwise. The use of shares is also prohibited.
A private home that has been purchased through the citizenship by investment programme cannot be sold for a period of five years after the granting of the citizenship and the property may never be eligible for use in a subsequent citizenship by investment application.
Having established the citizenship by investment industry 40 years ago, the progressive government of St Kitts and Nevis believes that these changes to its programme will once again set a much-needed positive tone and direction in the investor immigration industry.
St Kitts and Nevis has created a name for itself as a financial nexus with an attractive citizenship programme underpinned by a sound legal framework and robust multi-layered due diligence.
For nearly 40 years, St Kitts and Nevis has been the pioneer of the global investor immigration industry.