Citizenship in Saint-Kitts and Nevis
In this article we shall focus on the oldest second citizenship by investment program in the world – Saint-Kitts & Nevis. The program was established in 1984. Regulations regarding citizenship-by-investment are contained in Part II, Section 3 (5) of the Citizenship Act, 1984. After amendments and effective from April 2018, the two following investment options eligible for citizenship applications are available:
- Real Estate Investment The minimum real estate investment required by law is USD 200,000 (resalable after 7 years) or USD 400,000 (resalable after 5 years) for each main applicant. Investor must also be ready to pay non-refundable government fees USD 35,000 per principal applicant, USD 20,000 per spouse, and USD 10,000 per each dependent child. It is easy to calculate that for a family of four members it makes USD 75,000 of non-refundable expenses. The important condition of real estate option is that you cannot sell your property during the first five years after the purchase without losing citizenship. If you sell your property before 5 or 7 years are expired, citizenship will be revoked.
- The Sustainable Growth Fund option requires non-refundable contribution (donation) of USD 150,000 for a single applicant or USD 195,000 for a family of 4 members. Additional family members regardless of age will be expected to pay USD 10,000 each. All the others government fees with the exception of due diligence fees are included.
In addition to the expenses above, under both real estate and fund options, investor must also pay due diligence fee USD 7,500 per principal applicant and USD 4,000 per his spouse or each person over 16 years of age.
Advantages of Saint-Kitts and Nevis Citizenship
- Visa-free travel. St.-Kitts & Nevis citizens have visa-free or visa on arrival access to 152 countries and territories, including Schengen Area (27 European countries), the United Kingdom, Russia, and many others.
- Dual citizenship is recognized in Saint-Kitts and Nevis. You do not need to renounce your previous citizenship.
- You have the right to take up residence in Saint-Kitts and Nevis or in any other CARICOM-country at any time and for any length of time.
- You are not liable for global taxation, if you live outside Saint-Kitts.
- You are not liable for global taxation, if you decide to relocate and live in Saint-Kitts and Nevis, as there are no direct taxes whatsoever.
- As a citizen of British Commonwealth of Nations, you receive certain preferential treatment in the United Kingdom and other countries of the Commonwealth.
- Heavenly climate in a tropical paradise of Saint-Kitts and Nevis.
Summary of St. Kitts & Nevis Citizenship Law
For those who are not investors but are interested in Citizenship Law of St. Kitts and Nevis here is a brief summary of law. Citizenship laws are based upon the Constitution of St. Kitts and Nevis. Categories of citizenship are divided by the date of independence, September 19, 1983. Citizenship of St. Kitts by birth: Child of unknown parents is granted citizenship. Persons born before September 19, 1983: Birth within the territory of St. Kitts and Nevis does not automatically confer citizenship. Person born on or after September 19, 1983: Child born in the territory of St. Kitts and Nevis, regardless of the citizenship of the parents. Citizenship of St. Kitts by descent: Person born before September 19, 1983: Any person living in St. Kitts, who was at that time a British Dependent Territory Citizen (BDTC) or a British Citizen was eligible for citizenship St. Kitts. Their child born abroad or adopted. Their foreign national spouse. Persons born on or after September 19, 1983: Child born abroad, at least one of whose parents was a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis. Citizenship of St. Kitts by naturalization – information was not provided. Dual citizenship is recognized. Person seeking citizenship of St. Kitts is not required to renounce previous citizenship. Loss of citizenship: Voluntary renunciation of citizenship is permitted by law. Letter of renunciation must be sent to the Attorney General of St. Kitts. Contact the Embassy for proper procedures concerning letter of renunciation. The following are grounds for involuntary loss of naturalized citizenship of St. Kitts: Person’s naturalized citizenship was obtained by fraud, false representation, or willful concealment of information. Person commits act of treason against the government.
Questions regarding Saint-Kitts & Nevis citizenship by investment program:
Question: When should I make my investment?
Answer: You will be required to pay our legal fee together with non-refundable due diligence fee at the time we conclude an agreement. Due diligence fee will be paid to CIU at the time of submitting application. After the CIU has finalized their review, they will issue an Approved in Principal letter and then you will have 90 days to complete either The Sustainable Growth Fund donation or the property purchase.
Question: Do I have to travel to St. Kitts?
Answer: No, unless you wish to. Certificates of registration as a citizen and passports will be mailed to you by FedEx. Alternatively, you may travel to St. Kitts and collect them personally.
Question: We are interested in Saint-Kitts & Nevis citizenship program. Can our minor kids study in the UK after they obtain passport of Saint-Kitts?
Answer: As to the High Commission of St. Kitts & Nevis in London, nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis are allowed to study in the UK, once they have proof of unconditional acceptance from a UK academic institution and of financial wherewithal to pay for their studies and stay in the UK. Educational programs are out of “Elma Global” specialization. So, you may contact the UK Home Office on immigration procedures for the UK.
Question: Do they investigate the origin of the funds to be invested in Saint-Kitts?
Answer: Source of funds to be invested in Saint-Kitts must be of clear origin to the authorities of Saint-Kitts & Nevis. The application forms contain questions regarding annual income and costs of assets of the applicants. In case there are doubts about the source of income that is invested additional documents must be provided to support application.
Question: Is it possible to invest through offshore structure?
Answer: Yes, it is possible to invest from some offshore structure that belongs to the client, not only from client’s personal account. But in case of investing through offshore company the company (or the relevant bank) must provide letter explaining relationship between the offshore structure and the client (e.g., beneficial owner, director, representative, etc.). Hope, this is crystal clear. Yes, they check the background of foreign investors.
Question: Can St. Kitts nationals (whose first citizenship is Ukrainian) be extradited to other countries, in particular, to Ukraine?
Answer: Citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis may be extradited to other countries if there is Treaty or legislation providing for such extradition. St Kitts has in place Extradition Treaties with the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. However, there is a Fugitive Offenders Act under which persons committing crimes in any Commonwealth Country may be extradited. The Fugitive Offenders Act is a piece of legislation that is passed and in force in all Commonwealth Countries. There is an extradition treaty between St. Kitts and Nevis and the United States and it covers any would be a crime in St. Kitts and Nevis and in the United States, and could attract a penalty of over 1-year imprisonment. There is Treaty on Extradition between St. Kitts and Ukraine.
Question: Is it possible to change a spelling in St. Kitts passport of a client? The current family name is Petrov (as in Russian passport). The client wants German spelling: Petroff. In Russian passport the spelling will be the same as it was: Petrov. If this is possible, please, let me know the fee, the procedure, and how long it will take.
Answer: As far as I understand, all the documents submitted to the Citizenship Unit were in the name Petrov. Unless there was an actual error on the passport spelling the unit will not approve the change the spelling unfortunately. We have had cases like this before and we got nowhere with it. Unless the client changes his name by deed poll in his country for which is other passport is issued and provides proof of the change of name in his official documents there like his Russian passport, they will not change his name in St. Kitts. This is being closely monitored here as the Government does not want persons having passports here in one name but legally using other names under different documentation in other jurisdictions. You can be sure that all other kind of information regarding the possibility of name change in St. Kitts documents without changing of name in the passport of country of origin is misleading.
Question: I am a Chinese citizen. Can I participate in the Saint-Kitts & Nevis citizenship program?
Answer: Yes, everybody can participate in the programs excluding citizens of Iran and Afghanistan. Saint-Kitts allows dual citizenship. But you should keep in mind that in China dual citizenship is not allowed. So, after becoming St. Kitts citizen you must renounce your Chinese citizenship.
Question: Does St. Kitts inform foreign countries (countries of applicant’s origin) about new citizens who obtain passports through Economic Citizenship Program?
Answer: No, the process is fully confidential.
Question: I am an Iranian national residing and doing business in Dubai. Can you assist me in obtaining citizenship-by-investment in Saint-Kitts & Nevis?
Answer: No, Iranians (irrespectively of where they live) are not accepted by Saint-Kitts government. We recommend you to consider the citizenship-by-investment program in Bulgaria.
Question: We are interested in citizenship of Saint-Kitts & Nevis. Can we apply using the Fund option? We just got married. Will this economic citizenship be transferable to our kids in the future?
Answer: It is a full citizenship and it is transferable to your kids. Moreover, it is transferable to your grandchildren (kids of your kids) without any additional investment. It will be citizenship by descent. Moreover, if you or any of your kids (holders of Saint-Kitts passport) decide to take up residence on the islands you may do so without restriction. The only restriction this citizenship has is the right to vote. Being abroad you cannot vote to elect officials in Saint-Kitts. In order to become eligible for voting you must take up residence in Saint-Kitts and reside there physically for two years. Only after that you may elect and be elected.
Question: I am a citizen of Germany and it could be that a tax problem will come up, if I live on your island St. Kitts (with a second passport), is there an extradition treaty with Germany so that I will deliver to Germany on any request.
Answer: There is no extradition treaty between Saint-Kitts and Germany. Saint-Kitts has extradition treaties with the UK, the USA, and with Canada. At the same time any crime in the country of the British Commonwealth is considered to be a crime in Saint-Kitts & Nevis (this is according to Fugitive Offenders Act). So, you will not be extradited to Germany. On the other hand, you cannot hold two citizenships. According to German legislation you will be expected to renounce your German citizenship after you get citizenship of Saint-Kitts.
Citizenship-by-investment in other countries
Nowadays there are five countries in the Caribbean (St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, Dominica, Grenada, and Antigua & Barbuda) that officially allow foreigners obtaining citizenship by investment in a reasonably short period of time. Three other countries that offer citizenship by investment are located in Europe (Montenegro, Bulgaria, and Malta). Certainly, there are other countries in EU (for instance, Slovakia and Austria) that allow obtaining citizenship “by special merits” or “by special contribution” into economy. But in these states the concrete amount of investment or donation that is appropriate and good for second citizenship purpose is not specified. Consequently, decisions are made on case-by-case basis and there is a risk of investing money without getting citizenship due to subjective factor. These programs are not “citizenship by investment programs” in the strict sense of the wording.
If you have any question regarding above-mentioned material or wish to use our legal assistance in obtaining second citizenship and passport of St. Kitts & Nevis, contact us today. When you send us an e-mail, please, indicate your citizenship, country of residence, and age of every family member to be included into application. Then we shall be able to calculate the fees and expenses applicable in your case.