As the world we live in is undergoing rapid transformation, obtaining a second citizenship is becoming increasingly more appealing. Whilst many may picture white sandy beaches and coral reefs when they think of St. Kitts and Nevis, not so many people are aware of the vast benefits that St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship may offer. For one, citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis can travel to over 150 countries worldwide either visa free or on a visa-on-arrival basis, including countries in the Schengen area, the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore. They can also now travel visa-free to Canada if they have had a Canadian visa over the past 10 years or if they have a current non-immigrant US visa. They would also be able to reside and work in any other of the other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries. As dual citizenship is recognized by St. Kitts and Nevis, you would be able to retain your current citizenship.

The program is accessible to many people worldwide as there are no language, education or management experience requirements under this program. Neither is there a minimum residency requirement – but we would definitely invite you to spend as much time as you can in St. Kitts & Nevis and enjoy the beautiful environment there. Another key feature of the CBI program is that it may also offer faster processing times. Under the usual process, you would need to wait for 4-8 months on average to become a St. Kitts & Nevis citizen. But if you apply under a fast-track process, you can receive approval in principle on your application within 60 days. This is a major advantage compared to many other investment immigration programs that involve much longer waiting times. Additionally, the government of St. Kitts & Nevis has recently established a new regulatory body, the CIU (Citizenship by Investment Unit) Board of Governors and has appointed a Technical Committee. The establishment of the new bodies is expected to improve the efficiency and accuracy of processing CBI applications.

To apply, you would need to be over 18 years old, of good character and without a criminal record. You would also need to make an investment or contribution under one of the qualifying options. In your application, you can include your children up to 30 years old and your parents (whom must be at least 55 years old) and unmarried, dependent siblings up to 30 years old. There is no limit on the number of dependents you could add to your application. You can also add dependents even after obtaining citizenship for a fee. Citizenship under the program is issued for life and the passport issued would be valid for 10 years, renewable at Consulates worldwide.

Investment Options

You could choose from the following qualifying options:

1) Donation Option:

You could make a non-refundable donation to the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF). The SGF was established to facilitate economic and social development in St. Kitts and Nevis. The fund is used to provide a wide range of services, including financial support to educational institutions, medical facilities and additional funding for infrastructure.

Under the Limited Time Offer (LTO), the minimum contribution required to the SGF has been reduced. The LTO has now been extended until 31 January 2024. Under the LTO, the minimum contribution required to the SGF are as follows:

  • USD 125,000 for a single applicant;
  • USD 150,000 for main applicant and spouse;
  • USD 170,000 for main applicant with up to three dependents;
  • USD 10,000 per additional dependent under 18; and
  • USD 25,000 per additional dependent over 18.

From 1 February 2024 onwards, the minimum contribution to the SGF will increase to the amounts prior to the LTO period:

  • USD 150,000 for the main applicant only;
  • USD 175,000 for the main applicant and their spouse;
  • USD 195,000 for the main applicant and up to three dependents;
  • USD 10,000 per additional dependent under 18; and
  • USD 25,000 per additional dependent over 18.

If you apply before the end of 31 January 2024, an application under the SGF will automatically qualify for an accelerated processing time of 60 days beginning from the CIU's acknowledgement of submission of the application to approval-in-principle of the application. Under the LTO, the SGF donation option is the fastest way to obtain citizenship under the program.

2) Real Estate Option:

  • Purchase a real estate unit of an Approved Development with a minimum value of USD 200,000 and hold the purchase for a minimum of 7 years; OR
  • Purchase a private 'residential' real estate property with a minimum value of USD 400,000 and hold the purchase for a minimum of 5 years.

In addition, under the real estate option, you would also need to pay government fees as follows:

  • USD 25,000 for the main applicant;
  • USD 15,000 for the spouse;
  • USD 10,000 per dependent child under 18; and
  • USD 15,000 per dependent child over 18.

3) Private Home Sale Investment Option:

You also have the option to invest a minimum amount of USD 400,000 in a private single-family dwelling house designated as an Approved Private Home.

4) Public Benefit Option:

Effective January 2023, the Alternate Investment Option has been replaced with a newly introduced Public Good Investment Option. Under this option, you would be required to make a minimum investment of USD 175,000 in an Approved Public Good Project to an Approved Public Good Investor.

In addition to the donation or investment amount, you would also need to pay due diligence fees as follows:

  • USD 7,500 for the main applicant; and
  • USD 4,000 per dependent of the main applicant over 16.

If you wish to add additional family members to your application after you obtain citizenship under the CBI program, you will need to pay the following government fees:

  • USD 35,000 for the spouse of the main applicant;
  • USD 10,000 per dependent child of the main applicant; and
  • USD 20,000 per sibling of the main applicant.

Whether you are retiring abroad, starting a business, or looking to obtain a second citizenship without having to reside in a particular country, the St. Kitts & Nevis CBI program offers a wide range of benefits that may suit your needs.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.