(“Citizenship by Investment Programme”)
St. Kitts & Nevis offers the potential for immediate citizenship to persons who make certain approved investments in those particular countries. Our firm is very familiar with these programs and has experience with the St. Kitts & Nevis program as well as on-the-ground familiarity with both islands.
St. Kitts & Nevis (officially, “The Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis”) is a small, beautiful Caribbean island nation located about 1,250 miles southeast of Miami, consisting of the larger, more densely populated island of St. Kitts and the smaller less densely populated island of Nevis, 3 miles away. The total population of St. Kitts & Nevis is a little over 50,000, with about three-fourths of the population living on St. Kitts. St. Kitts and Nevis gained independence from Great Britain in 1983.
Although sugar cane farming continues to be a major source of revenue, tourism, manufacturing and offshore financial services have assumed larger roles in the economy of St. Kitts & Nevis. Tens of thousands of tourist visit the country annually. There are several resort hotels on the islands, including a luxurious Four Seasons resort on Nevis. St. Kitts has a modern airport with regular non-stop passenger service from several major U.S. airports, including Miami, Philadelphia and Charlotte. Communications are excellent with fiber optic cable linking the islands of the eastern Caribbean, and an enhanced wireless communications infrastructure.
The “Citizenship by Investment Programme”,was established in 1984 under the St. Kitts and Nevis Constitution. The program requires investment of US$400,000 or more in an approved investment project. The only approved investment projects to date have been real estate projects, i.e., houses and condominiums. Our firm has a good working understanding of the locations, cost and quality of approved investment projects. Buyers’ real estate closing costs are usually about 5% of the purchase price.
In addition to the investment, the program requires the payment of government registration fees. If economic citizenship is desired for one person, the fee is US$50,047. If citizenship is desired for a family, the fee is $50,047 for the head of the household, $25,047 for the spouse, $25,047 for each dependent child under age 18, and $50,047 for each dependent age 18 and over. Additional costs include a background investigation fee and legal fees for U.S. and local counsel totaling approximately $20,000.
Alternatively, an applicant for economic citizenship may make a contribution of $250,000 (for one applicant) to the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation, a public charity. For the applicant and up to three dependents (e.g., a spouse and two children), five dependents, or seven dependents, the required contributions are US$300,000, $350,000 and $450,000, respectively. An unmarried dependent between the ages of 18 and 25 can be included in the same application for an additional fee of $50,000. These amounts includes all government fees.
The St. Kitts & Nevis government generally takes about six months to process the application. After receiving approval, an applicant may apply for and receive a St. Kitts and Nevis passport. A St. Kitts & Nevis passport holder may reside permanently in St. Kitts & Nevis, and may establish a business and reside permanently in other CARICOM countries (including the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and several other Caribbean countries). A St. Kitts & Nevis passport holder may travel without visas to a number of other countries, including, notably, Canada, the U.K., most other Caribbean countries, many Central and South American countries, many African countries, Denmark, Switzerland, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Riser Adkisson LLP advises U.S. clients on the U.S. tax and other implications of St. Kitts & Nevis citizenship, can assist clients with Nevis trusts, Nevis LLCs, and Nevis corporations, and can liaise with local real estate agents and developers, but we do not submit citizenship applications on behalf of clients. We refer clients to qualified authorized local counsel in St. Kitts & Nevis to submit citizenship applications. Applications are accepted only from authorised local persons.
For further information, please contact Chris Riser at criser (at) riserlaw.com or call 706-552-4800 to schedule an initial telephone consultation.