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St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship-by-Investment Program: The Ultimate Guide

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Everyone has a story. 

Every place has a soul to find. 

Some souls are more compelling, filled with deeper histories, richer cultures.

Consider St Kitts and Nevis. It looks like another Caribbean island. That’s the first mistake.

Thinking you understand its depth after a short visit is the second.

It’s more than sun and sea. Stay a while, and listen to the rhythm that pulses the air, whispering of old, deep stories of culture and tradition.

Legends here speak of Carib gods, brushing the skies with vibrant blues and verdant greens. Ruins of sugar plantations and old forts carry tales of a more recent past.

The Zombie Dance is one such legend, rooted in the islands’ history of slavery. It’s seen as an expression of resistance and freedom. Dancers move to the beat of a drum, their bodies in a trance, straining against the chains of oppression, a symbol of defiance and unbroken spirit.

The dance is not just a memory. It’s part of St Kitts and Nevis’ annual festivals, a connection to the past and a celebration of life.

Visitors are drawn to these twin islands for different reasons. Some come for the sun and the sea. Others for the famed hot, healing springs believed by the natives to be where spirits bathe. Yet more come for the culture, the history and the adventure.

Quite a few of our clients are enticed by a more modern-day legend: the St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) program. So, let’s get straight to it – what does the St Kitts and Nevis citizenship-by-investment (CBI) program have that others don’t? What makes this program more worthwhile than other Caribbean citizenship-by-investment programs?

It sure isn’t the cheapest way for high-net-worth investors to obtain a second passport. It also isn’t the fastest.

What it is, though, is the longest-standing CBI program in the Caribbean. More than 20,000 foreigners have been naturalised over a period of 40 years. 

But it isn’t so much the longevity that makes this CBI tick all the right boxes; it is the high regard and the respect for a program the government has worked so hard to maintain that attracts investors.

It’s also the stability. Many governments have come and gone over the years, but the CBI program has never been threatened with closure. 

In short, this St Kitts and Nevis citizenship program has that ‘platinum standard’ that makes the program a popular choice for those seeking alternatives or additions to their current citizenship. 

It’s maintaining the price point of US$250,000 to stay relevant on the global CBI scene, just another reason to love it.

What Is Citizenship by Investment?

Before we get to the minute details about the program, let’s explore what a CBI program is. 

A citizenship-by-investment program, also called economic citizenship, requires investors to make a significant donation or an investment in a country’s economy in exchange for citizenship. 

Applicants are usually required to: 

  • Make a non-refundable donation
  • Invest in (government-approved) real estate
  • Buy governmental financial instruments
  • Set up and run a company.

An application will have to be lodged, paperwork will have to be gathered, and an investment of a specified sum will have to be made. 

After the application is approved and a certificate of naturalisation is issued, the person will be able to claim a passport of the country. 

It will be a standard passport that can be used for travelling, working, and living abroad. In other words, full citizenship is granted.

Why St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship? 

Saint Kitts citizenship by investment

Getting a second passport in Saint Kitts is one of the easiest ways to lower your global tax bill.

Before delving into the St Kitts and Nevis citizenship-by-investment, it is crucial to understand the investment’s origins. With that in mind, before we jump into the St Kitts and Nevis CBI, let’s look at the country itself.

Also known as the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis, the two-island country is located in the West Indies in the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea.

St Kitts and Nevis is an Independent British commonwealth nation. The islands were the first home of English and French colonists, earning them the name of the ‘Mother Colony of the West Indies.’

It is also the smallest sovereign nation in the Western Hemisphere – in both size and population – with approximately 48,000 residents.

Interestingly, the climate on these two islands is different. St Kitts is classified as a tropical savanna climate. Meanwhile, Nevis, by comparison, is classified as a tropical monsoon climate. 

Either way, the mountainous regions of the islands are stunning and the ocean views are magnificent, making these islands a fabulous place to spend time.

St Kitts And Nevis’ Citizenship-by-Investment Program

ST. KITTS AND NEVIS CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT PROGRAM

Not one for lounging around on beaches? Let’s go straight to the heart of the matter then. After all, that’s what we’re all here for – to find out how to get a second passport in the most efficient way possible. 

Luckily, St Kitts and Nevis citizenship-by-investment is a solid and highly efficient processing system that has been running for 40 years.

The ‘platinum standard’ program was established back in 1984 when the sugar industry collapsed and the country found itself in dire need of investment. 

Fast-forward to today, the St Kitts and Nevis CBI is one of the most trusted and successful programs out there. 

The process is relatively quick, taking just three to four months, with the new passport holder gaining access to over 150 countries worldwide, including the EU, UK, Ireland, and Russia, in this short time.

Price Wars

In 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the Caribbean nation of St Kitts and Nevis. The two-island nation was devastated by the hurricanes, severely damaging infrastructure and other essential areas, such as schools, agriculture, main roads, police stations, and the fire department. 

The damage totalled approximately US$150 million and St Kitts and Nevis needed money to rebuild.

This desperate need brought a new twist to the island nation’s citizenship by investment. As of 2017, eligible donors could gain citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis by contributing just $150,000 to the new Hurricane Relief Fund. Compared to the previous price tag of US$250,000, this was a bargain.

Of course, whenever a scheme like this comes into effect, you can expect some opposition. 

Eventually, the country introduced a more permanent government fund – the Sustainable Growth Fund (now The Sustainable Island State Contribution (SISC)) – that effectively reduced the price for the St Kitts and Nevis citizenship-by-investment program long-term.

The motivation?

St Kitts and Nevis was not the only island country trying to rebuild from the 2017 hurricane season. Other countries were and still are competing to attract folks looking to invest somewhere to gain citizenship. 

This competition created an ongoing price war in the Caribbean, driving down prices for existing programs and prompting the creation of new programs.

However, in 2023, the powers that be made a sharp turn and doubled the required investment amounts for St Kitts and Nevis CBI.

Minimum investments have doubled, with the donation for a single applicant increasing to US$250,000. Similarly, the minimum investment in real estate has increased to US$400,000. 

Along with these price changes, they have also added another layer of due diligence, with interviews for all applicants now mandatory. 

Another crucial change is that citizenship documents must now be collected in person, whether in St Kitts and Nevis or at a designated diplomatic mission abroad.

These changes come as the Caribbean Islands strive to adhere to the European Commission’s demands and protect its citizens’ privileged status.

Luckily, some well-priced CBIs can now be found across the Caribbean.

The St Kitts citizenship-by-investment program includes three routes to obtaining citizenship and a passport. They have industry-standard requirements – either make a non-refundable donation or invest in government-approved real estate.

 

St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment: An Interview

Sustainable Island State Contribution 

SUSTAINABLE GROWTH FUND DONATION

All Caribbean Island CBI programs offer the non-refundable donation route and St Kitts and Nevis is no different. 

The Sustainable Island State Contribution (SISC) was established to support St Kitts and Nevis’s economic and social development. Under this option, you’ll be expected to donate US$250,000 (plus fees) as a single applicant. A family of four can expect to make a donation of US$350,000 to the SISC.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the donation option:

  • One applicant: US$250,000 
  • Principal applicant and spouse: US$300,000
  • Principal applicant, spouse, and one or two dependants: US$350,000
  • Dependant under 18 US$50,000 and a dependant 18 or over US$75,000

There are additional fees to keep in mind that will be used to pay for the due diligence process: 

  • Principal applicant: US$10,000
  • A dependant over the age of 16: US$7,500.

The funds raised through CBI donations are used for food production, green energy, and social protection, among other things. 

Invest in Real Estate

INVEST IN REAL ESTATE

There are two routes to invest in St Kitts and Nevis real estate. These are:

  • Developer’s Real Estate Option: An applicant can purchase shares in hotel rooms and properties with a minimum investment threshold of US$400,000. The property shares must be held for seven years. 
  • Approved Private Home Option: The newly updated program provides for investment in condominiums or single-family dwellings. The minimum investment in an approved condominium unit is US$400,000. 

Investing in real estate to qualify for citizenship and obtain a passport is more expensive, but you do have a chance to recover your investment.

If you decide to invest, you have the option of putting a minimum investment of US$400,000 into a government-approved property. You should also note that this investment St Kitts route has pretty hefty government fees:

As well as the standard due diligence fee of US$10,000 (US$7,500 for each dependant) for all its CBI programs, St Kitts and Nevis charges:

  • A post-approval fee of US$25,000 for the principal applicant
  • An additional US$15,000 for the spouse of the principal applicant
  • US$10,000 for children regardless of age

So, if you’re a solo applicant buying real estate on your own, you will have to pay a minimum of US$435,000. This means that you are really only saving yourself from a portion of the donation amount compared to the direct donation option.

Finally, bear in mind that this is the longer of the two processes due to the extra steps required to finalise and purchase a property. In light of recent changes, including significant price increases, should you explore other citizenship routes?

As we often highlight here at Nomad Capitalist, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the answer to this question depends on your individual circumstances and goals. 

Despite these price increases, the St Kitts passport remains a lucrative prospect, giving you access to 150 countries, including the European Union. It still comes with attractive tax benefits and advantages for families, including the chance to pass down citizenship to the next generation. 

For over a decade, our team at Nomad Capitalist has been mastering the art of interpreting and solving CBI’s ever-changing landscape. We navigate changes and handle all the complexities so you don’t have to. Apply to become a client, and we will be your guides. 

What Is Your Best Option?

WHAT IS YOUR BEST OPTION

There are both benefits and drawbacks to each CBI option in St Kitts and Nevis.

Obviously, the length of the process for each of them should be considered. A donation is by far the fastest of the two methods. You make your donation, file your paperwork, and within three to four months, you should have your passport.

Or, if you want it even faster, there is also an Accelerated Application Process which we will discuss in the next section.

Real estate investment takes longer, as previously mentioned. You need to account for the time it takes to select a compatible agent, select the property, file the paperwork, and then wait for the paperwork and details to be finalised.

The next consideration is cost. A donation is by far the cheaper option of the two. You can donate to the Sustainable Island State Contribution for US$250,000 as a single applicant. 

The real estate investment is more expensive, but there is also a chance that you can recoup part of that investment after the allotted time has expired.

That may be enough justification for others to choose the real estate option, but it’s also important to note that each approved property has differing investment costs. 

If you want to recoup costs associated with the CBI program, keep in mind that you will probably not get a large portion of what you put in back. You are basically at the mercy of other CBI investors, or if you are lucky, the developer will have a buyback option.

The Step-by-Step Application Process

St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment



Thanks to years of experience, St. Kitts citizenship by investment program has an incredibly streamlined application process.

So, how do you go about getting St Kitts citizenship? Thanks to years of experience, the St Kitts CBI program has a streamlined application process.

It also has what they describe as the ‘Platinum Standard’ of CBI programs and is the only country that can guarantee that the process will be done in a specified timeframe. When it comes to service and high-level due diligence, they are ahead of their neighbouring competitors. 

In short, the country is particularly discerning about whom they grant citizenship to. This is precisely why St Kitts’ citizenship-by-investment program is an excellent option for your second passport.

To qualify for the St Kitts citizenship-by-investment program, you must be of outstanding character, have no criminal record, be in excellent health and be a high-net-worth individual. 

When applying, your documentation should include:

  • Application for registration as a citizen
  • Photograph and signature certificate
  • Medical certificate with HIV test results for anyone over the age of 12 (the results must not be older than three months)
  • Birth certificates for each applicant
  • Police records
  • Bank statements
  • Proof of address
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable).

This must be done for each applicant. The complete list of forms can be found here.

First, you will be expected to submit all of the paperwork we outlined above, pay the due diligence fees, and initiate the process of getting citizenship approval. This usually takes a couple of months.

Then, if your background check comes back clear, you will be approved for citizenship and invited to make or finalise your investment. 

It should be noted that St Kitts’s CBI program is currently not accepting applicants from Afghanistan, Iran, the Republic of Iraq, the Republic of Yemen, North Korea or Syria.

Currently, citizens of Russia and Belarus are also banned from applying.

The Pros of St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship

THE PROS OF ST. KITTS & NEVIS CITIZENSHIP

We’ve already mentioned that St Kitts and Nevis follows the ‘platinum standard’ in its CBI program. So, as you can imagine, there are many benefits to opting for this particular CBI, the main ones of which we’ve listed below:

  • It’s well priced: Even though it’s not the cheapest CBI program out there, some argue it’s worth paying the premium – US$250,000 – as the program is reliable and trustworthy. 
  • Visa-free access to over 150 countries: St Kitts and Nevis passport is ranked 49th in the World, ahead of other CBI countries like Montenegro (76th) and Turkey (87th). It gives you visa-free access to the EU, UK, and Russia. 
  • Bring the family: Your entire family can come. Dependents under the age of 25 can be added to the application, as can parents and grandparents over 55. 
  • Pass it along: Once you obtain economic citizenship in St Kitts and Nevis, you have it for life and can be passed on to your descendants.
  • Short investment period: You will have to hold your real estate investment for seven years. You can then resell it and recoup at least part of your investment. 
  • Attractive tax environment: St Kitts and Nevis has no income, wealth, or inheritance tax. Your global income won’t be taxed just because you’re a citizen. Among all the available Caribbean CBI programs, St Kitts and Nevis is the only country that is entirely tax-free. While other countries may market themselves as tax-free, the reality is that they have residential- or territorial-based systems and assume that investors will choose not to live or earn money in the country and thus avoid becoming subject to their country’s taxes.
  • No residence requirement: You won’t need to visit St Kitts and Nevis before you lodge the citizenship application, nor will you have to visit the country afterwards. You can become, and be, a citizen without ever stepping foot in St Kitts and Nevis. 
  • Invest only after you’re approved: Only after your St Kitts and Nevis citizenship application is approved will you have to make the full investment, thus reducing risk exposure.

The Cons of St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship

THE CONS OF ST. KITTS AND NEVIS CITIZENSHI

Let’s take a look at the other side of the coin, the negative aspects of participating in the St Kitts and Nevis CBI program. These include:

  • There are cheaper programs: Even though St Kitts and Nevis citizenship is well priced, it’s not the cheapest CBI in the Caribbean. If you want to pay the absolute lowest price for your second passport, you’ll have to go with Dominica, St Lucia, or Antigua and Barbuda.
  • The real estate is overpriced: As with every other CBI program, the pre-approved real estate that you’re able to invest in could be overpriced. Put another way, you would never get what you paid for it on the free market. Plus, the quality of construction can often be lacking. 
  • Small population: While it’s not a con for everyone, the country is the smallest of all CBI program countries in the Caribbean. Fewer people mean less economic potential. 
  • Violent climate: Hurricanes and tropical storms affect St Kitts and Nevis regularly. If you’re investing in real estate, it’s certainly something to consider. What will your insurance premium be? 

St Kitts and Nevis’ Passport FAQs

How long does the process of obtaining a St Kitts and Nevis passport take? 

It will take approximately three to four months to get your St Kitts and Nevis passport. 

Can I submit an application with some documentation missing and then provide it later?

No. An application is only deemed complete and can be processed if all the needed documentation is submitted with it. 

What are the differences between the two investment options?

The main difference is the price. While the donation option for St Kitts and Nevis citizenship is US$250,000, the real estate investment is now $400,000, plus higher government fees.

How long must I hold the real estate?

Real estate must be held for five years before it can be resold if you’re a solo investor. If you choose to share an investment with someone else, you will have to hold the real estate for seven years before you can resell it. 

How can I get a St Kitts and Nevis passport? Is there a residence requirement?

No. You won’t have to visit the country prior to getting your St Kitts and Nevis passport, nor will you have to go there once you are a citizen to renew your passport.

Is obtaining a St Kitts and Nevis citizenship confidential?

Yes. St Kitts and Nevis neither reports nor publishes any data in relation to its CBI program participants. So, you don’t need to worry about losing your first passport. If you prefer to keep your second passport under wraps, St Kitts will ensure this is the case.

Will I have to pay taxes in St Kitts and Nevis?

No, St Kitts is a zero-income tax country. However, if you choose to live there, you will pay a VAT of 17%. You will also be subject to taxes if you incorporate your business there or buy property, as there is both a property tax and a transfer tax. 

I’ve been denied a visa before. Can I still apply to obtain a St Kitts and Nevis passport? 

If you’ve ever been denied a visa to one of the countries with which St Kitts and Nevis has a visa-free access agreement, your St Kitts and Nevis citizenship application will not be considered.

Get the St Kitts Citizenship Program

GET THE ST. KITTS CITIZENSHIP PROGRAM

St Kitts and Nevis is an established, quality program, even if not the cheapest.

If you feel it’s important to you to move forward with a program that offers a long history of successfully granting citizenship by investment, then the St Kitts citizenship program has the prestige of being the oldest CBI program in the world.

St Kitts citizenship program offers many advantages to those looking to diversify their affairs globally. The islands are beautiful, the people are friendly, and the St Kitts and Nevis citizenship-by-investment program makes obtaining a second passport a reality.

The different investment routes to get a St Kitts citizenship program, such as donation and real estate, both have benefits and drawbacks, but it’s important to compare which options work best for your individual situation.

By diversifying your passports, you are taking an important step in regard to globalising your affairs, and the St Kitts and Nevis passport can fit in nicely with many different strategies. The question is whether or not it fits your personal strategy.

As always, the best option is to go where you’re treated best. If you need help figuring out where exactly that is, feel free to reach out and get help.

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