St. Lucia Citizenship By Investment: The Ultimate GuideBecome a citizen of St. Lucia in the Caribbean and get a passport offering visa-free travel to 145+ countries.
Invest a minimum of $100,000
Get your passport in 3-6 months
Visa-free travel to 145+ countries
Last updated November 29, 2021
Having options is great and that’s exactly what St. Lucia offers when it comes to citizenship by investment (CBI) – many options.
Not only is St. Lucia a highly-reputable option when it comes to obtaining a second passport in the Caribbean region, but it also offers plenty of investment routes that you can take to obtain its passport.
Sure, there are already a citizenship program in each of the following countries, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Grenada, but another one is great to have nonetheless. Each of them has pros and cons.
While Antigua and Barbuda will work better for some people (e.g., larger families), St. Lucia offers one of the lowest points of investment if you’re a solo applicant.
Plus, in the few short years that it’s been in operation, the St. Lucia citizenship by investment program has earned itself a solid reputation. Some might even say it’s more of a ‘Western’ passport.
That’s because they haven’t buddied up to Russia or China, or taken the more neutral route of the neighboring countries. They also haven’t been approving everyone’s application and they’ve even had the gall to revoke the granted citizenship of six applicants in the past.
It’s a passport program that is both respectable and one of the most affordable ones too. And a recent discount due to COVID-19 has made it an even more attractive program than before.
At just $100,000 (plus administrative fees), you could get access to over 145 countries visa-free, get all of the tropical benefits, and enjoy your St. Lucian passport for the rest of your life.
After all, there must be something to a tiny island-state that’s produced not one, but two Nobel prize laureates.
Let’s see what St. Lucia is all about.
Citizenship by Investment: The Basics
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of Saint Lucia citizenship by investment programme, we should first establish some common ground.
What is a CBI program? How does one jurisdiction differ from another, and what should a high net worth investor pay attention to when obtaining his second passport?
Simply put, a CBI program is set up and run by a government that wants to get investment capital it might otherwise not get.
CBI programs are typical of island-states and states that are otherwise overly reliant on one or two industries, thus having no other way to attract investment dollars or develop their economy.
Basically, countries are selling their passports and all the benefits that they bring in exchange for cash:
- Some will want you to donate to a development government fund
- Others will let you buy real estate (sometimes from a pre-approved list only)
- Some offer an option to buy bonds or another financial instrument, and
- Occasionally, you will be asked to set up a local company and employ locals
Usually, countries will only ask you to do one of those things, but there are exceptions (e.g., Montenegro wants a donation AND a real estate investment).
A donation will never be recouped, whereas the other forms of investment will be subject to a holding period, after which you could potentially get your investment back.
There are many more rules and regulations that depend on the jurisdiction. The pros and cons of a particular passport will also differ.
WHY ST. LUCIA CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT?
It’s not usual that you get to buy a passport in a country that holds the title for the most Nobel Prize laureates per capita.
- Arthur Lewis (economic) and Derek Walcott (literature) are both great testimonies to St. Lucia’s well-educated society as well as its high standards.
It’s a safe and stable country: St. Lucia is a member of the UN, CARICOM (Caribbean Community), and various other Caribbean-based unions. It uses the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD) that has been pegged to the US dollar for over four decades.
The island paradise that is St. Lucia gained its independence from the United Kingdom back in 1979 but remains part of the Commonwealth.
Together with its past comes English as the official language, charming colonial architecture, a legal system based on English common law, and access to the UK and Ireland.
But even if you’re not interested in any of that, St. Lucia is also a great vanity project.
You can proudly show off a really nice passport to a country dripping in luxury and beaches rivaling those of the Cayman Islands. Put differently, it has a much higher-end vibe than Dominica but for the same price tag.
For Those Who Will Visit Saint Lucia
Just in case you ever decide to visit or reside in St. Lucia, let’s talk about the great quality of life there.
Although the country has no travel or residency requirement – in other words, you can become a St. Lucian citizen without ever setting foot in the country – the country offers a high standard of living.
The crime rates are very low and there is access to modern healthcare and infrastructure. As an added bonus, there are a few top restaurants that cater to St. Lucia’s discerning populace.
Its main geographic features – the two Piton mountains – are the island’s most famous landmarks and have even been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is also a drive-in volcano, rainforests, national parks, botanical gardens, and of course, the beaches.
With virtually no traffic and a tropical climate year-round, St. Lucia certainly is inviting. However, do keep in mind that hurricanes hit the island periodically and can sometimes be devastating.
There are also direct links to east coast hubs in North America, including Miami, Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, and Toronto. Europe is also directly connected with St. Lucia with hubs in London and Frankfurt.
The Economy of Saint Lucia
Before you invest in any country, you should take a long and careful look at its economy. That’s especially true if you’re going the actual investment (and not the donation) route. You’ll want to recoup your investment at some point, won’t you?
Luckily, with a population of just under 200,000 people and a GDP of $2 billion, St. Lucia’s economy is in no terrible shape. In fact, it’s one of the top performers in the region.
However, the typical island-nation problems plague this volcanic paradise too.
First, it’s reliant on just a few major industries: banana production and tourism. This is, of course, problematic for a country that wants to grow its GDP and improve the lives of its population.
Banana production is on a terminal decline due to the competition from Latin American countries that have substantially lower production costs. Crop diversification has been encouraged to make sure that agriculture remains a substantial part of the country’s GDP.
Meanwhile, tourism and its related services make up 82% of the St. Lucian GDP. Nearly 1 million people visit the country annually and it’s one of the top destinations for opulent weddings and swanky honeymoons.
St. Lucia’s second problem is unemployment. Just like its neighbors, the island suffers chronic unemployment rates of over 20%. With a median age of 34.5, that’s a lot of young people going without and needing to be supported by the state.
Given the fact that the population is highly educated and skilled, the only culprit here is the lack of economic activity, especially the lack of foreign investment.
By now, it’s a crisis that needs urgent attention. And every crisis brings opportunity. The St. Lucian government has created that opportunity by launching a citizenship by investment program.
Main Pros of Having a Saint Lucian Passport By Investment
Saint Lucia will process your application in 3-6 months.
The Cheapest Passport
St. Lucia has the lowest donation amount and fees of any CBI program.
No Residence Requirement
You never have to visit St. Lucia to receive or renew your passport.
Visit 145+ countries, including the EU, the UK, and Ireland.
No tax on income from abroad, and no wealth or inheritance taxes.
Various Investment Options
St. Lucia offers four different investment options to qualify for citizenship.
Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Program
No amount of tourism or crop diversification was ever going to get Saint Lucia’s economy where it needs to be.
Not too long ago, the government promised that they would double the nation’s GDP in a decade, but this was perhaps a populistic over-promise, despite being a laudable goal for a country that’s suffering high unemployment.
Doubling their GDP is probably their only way to pay off debt, diversify industries, and employ people.
So, the country set up a citizenship by investment program that requires applicants to make a ‘significant economic contribution’ in exchange for a passport.
Today, Saint Lucia’s citizenship by investment accounts for a healthy 4% of its GDP.
Compare that to other jurisdictions like Dominica, where CBI income accounts for roughly 50% of its GDP, and you’ll start noticing just how careful and calculated the Saint Lucian government has been.
They don’t want to screw this up, so they’ve kept a really high standard. Extensive due diligence has been the hallmark of the Saint Lucian program.
In addition, the Saint Lucian government has run the program differently than its neighbors. For example, it has not gained visa-free access to Russia or China, possibly on purpose.
It has positioned itself as a somewhat ‘Western’ passport, which certainly makes it appeal to some. In fact, it has sided with Taiwan on the international scene, probably delaying China’s visa-free access indefinitely.
Daring and bold, Saint Lucia citizenship by investment has a solid reputation. It has meant rejecting a fair few applicants and even revoking the citizenships of six of its own naturalized Saint Lucia citizens due to acts committed by them.
Simply put – Saint Lucia doesn’t deal with people who have any ‘issues,’ no matter how small.
Today, the total investment raised is over $40 million and the total number of passports issued is approximately 650.
China is the top source for new Saint Lucian citizens (21%), followed by Russia (9%) and Syria (8%).
The History of the Program
Saint Lucia was beautifully positioned to launch its St. Lucia citizenship by investment program. Learning from its close neighbors and their CBI programs which had run for decades, Saint Lucia could really pick and choose which aspects to include in their own program.
Taking onboard the best practices, Saint Lucia launched its citizenship by investment program in December of 2015. It came into full effect on January 1, 2016, based on the Citizenship by Investment Act (Act No. 14 of 2015).
Although it’s one of the newest CBI programs on the global scene, it has already been through multiple changes.
Most notably, Saint Lucia removed the net worth requirement back in 2017. There weren’t many takers when the program had a wealth check: you had to be worth at least $3 million in order to apply.
Needless to say, that was highly prohibitive to many investors, who perhaps had the investment money to spare but weren’t worth that much on paper.
Ever since this substantial change, anyone has been able to apply as long as they can afford the investment.
They also recognized the fact that they had overpriced their program, especially when looked at in relation to its neighboring CBI competitor countries.
Thus, Saint Lucia lowered its fees from $200,000 to $100,000 in 2017. Now, the total investment is on par with other comparable CBI programs.
Saint Lucia also removed multiple bureaucratic hurdles and shortened the total application to passport time to 3-6 months, without decreasing the level of due diligence on applicants.
Finally, in the face of COVID-19 and its economic impact, St. Lucia has offered a deep discount on government fees and one of its best investment routes. But more on that in a minute.
HOW DOES THE ST. LUCIA CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT PROGRAM COMPARE?
You would definitely be forgiven for thinking that Saint Lucia is ‘yet another CBI program.’ In so many aspects, the Caribbean citizenship by investment programs are so similar that it’s really hard to point out the differences and their USPs.
There are three notable differences between Saint Lucia and its Caribbean neighbors.
First, it’s the cheapest option for a single person to obtain a second passport. Although other CBI jurisdictions, such as Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda also ask for a donation of $100,000, their fees are considerably higher than in St. Lucia.
The total investment, including all fees, for a single person applying, is thus $109,500. This does exclude any agency fees, but these are going to be the same, no matter which CBI program you go for.
Second, St. Lucia offers some of the more exotic investment routes for those who don’t want to go the donation route. If it floats your boat, you can invest in government bonds and even approved enterprise projects.
And third, St. Lucia certainly has a different vibe than its closest CBI rival of Dominica.
When you think of Saint Lucia, think opulence and exclusivity. The resorts and hotels that are geared toward the creme de la creme of society are telling signs.
Meanwhile, Dominica is much more pedestrian. We’re not saying it’s necessarily bad, but it’s a distinguishing factor between the two nonetheless.
It’s up to you to decide which one you’d like to go for.
How to Obtain a Passport From Saint Lucia
Make a Donation
Donate $100,000 to St. Lucia’s government development fund.
Invest in Real Estate
Invest $300,000 in pre-approved real estate, plus fees.
Invest in Government Bonds
Invest $250,000 in government bonds and hold 5 years.
Invest in a Local Business
Invest a minimum of $3.5 million in an enterprise project.
How TO GET A SAINT LUCIA PASSPORT BY INVESTMENT
Ready to get started?
Here is what it will take to get a Saint Lucian passport.
1. National Economic Fund Donation
Making a one-time, non-refundable donation to the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund is the most popular way to obtain Saint Lucia citizenship by investment.
The Fund was established for the sole purpose of granting St. Lucia citizenship by donation of foreign investments, though to this day, there has been no public account as to how the funds were and are being spent (which has caused considerable controversy).
In any case:
- You’re expected to contribute at least $100,000 if you’re a single applicant.
- Couples will spend $140,000 (discounted from the pre-COVID price of $165,000).
- A family of four will spend $150,000 (original price: $190,000).
- Each additional dependent will cost you $15,000 (original price: 25,000).
Every application also comes with processing and admin fees:
- Main applicant will pay $2,000 of processing fees for himself and $1,000 per dependent
- Due diligence fees are $7,500 for the main applicant and $5,000 per dependant (over 16 years old)
The total St. Lucia citizenship by donation required for a single person applying is thus $109,500, excluding any agency fees. Meanwhile, a family of four (2 adults and 2 children 16+) will pay $167,500 (originally $217,500).
The government has also made a permanent change for newborn dependents. Now, instead of the $25,000 administrative fee for additional dependents, it will only cost $500 to add a newborn to your application. This makes St. Lucia much more competitive, especially for applicants with families.
2. Real Estate Investment
With CBI programs, there is nearly always a real estate investment option. Saint Lucia is no different.
You may purchase a property that’s worth a minimum investment required of $300,000, but only from the officially pre-approved list of real estate investment properties.
Here is a full list of approved real estate developments that you can invest in. Given the newness of the program, there are currently only a handful of real estate properties on there.
Nonetheless, you can expect to be investing in a high-end hotel or a resort of some sort, and usually, these will be slightly overpriced – a regular occurrence with CBI programs that require you to buy from a pre-approved list of real estate.
You will be required to hold the property for at least five years.
In addition to the actual price, keep in mind that there are additional fees that are higher than for a donation:
- The principal applicant will have to pay $50,000 in admin fees
- Each qualifying adult dependant will pay $35,000 and $25,000 if the dependant is under 18 years old
- Due diligence fees are $7,500 for the main applicant and $5,000 per dependant (over 16 years old)
In total, a solo applicant going for the real estate option will shell out $357,500. Meanwhile, a family with two small kids would have to pay a total of $437,500.
3. Government Bond Investment
A St. Lucia citizenship by investment can also be obtained by government bond investment. In light of COVID-19, the St. Lucian government has introduced sweeping changes to this particular investment option that will apply until December 31, 2021, making it the perfect opportunity for bond investors.
Previously, investors were required to invest at least $500,000 in government-issued non-interest-bearing bonds and hold them for at least five years. Now, however, applicants can qualify for St. Lucia citizenship by a minimum investment required of $250,000 in the COVID Relief Bond with a five-year hold period.
If you’re applying as a couple, the price has also been reduced to $250,000, but the hold period is extended to six years.
A family of four can also access the discounted price of $250,000 for a six-year hold period, or they can increase the minimum investment amount to $300,000 and reduce the hold period to five years.
Each additional dependent will cost an extra $15,000 (reduced from $25,000). And in the case of additional dependents, the holding period is extended to a full seven years.
While the application fees are considerably higher than if you were to go the donation route, they have also been discounted:
- An administrative fee of $30,000 (previously $50,000) for those buying government bonds. This is now only payable upon approval.
- Due diligence fees are $7,500 for the main applicant and $5,000 per dependant (over 16 years old)
With this option, you can essentially donate $30,000 and invest $250,000 in government bonds with no interest for five years
For people who have cash sitting around, you can save $70,000 in “sunk costs” in exchange for parking $250,000 for a time. As long as St. Lucia doesn’t “go Argentina” and default on bonds, you will get that money back in five years. Money in the bank earns almost nothing now anyway so if you have cash that you’re not investing, it’s a good deal.
4. Approved Enterprise Projects
Finally, the most exotic option of them all is investing in an approved enterprise project. This comes as no surprise since the government of St. Lucia is making a concerted effort to not just attract foreign capital but also create jobs for its population.
If you’re a sole investor, you will need to spend a minimum of $3,500,000, but if you’re making the investment together with partners, you will each need to contribute at least $1,000,000 and a total of $6,000,000.
In addition, you’ve got the fees:
- A non-refundable admin fee of $50,000 will be charged
- Each qualifying adult dependant will pay $35,000 and $25,000 if the dependant is under 18 years old
- Due diligence fees are $7,500 for the applicant and $5,000 per dependant (over 16 years old)
The caveat is that you can’t just dream up the investment projects. Each project is pre-approved by the government and featured on its official website.
The projects can range from specialty restaurants, cruise ports, and marinas, agro-processing plants, pharmaceutical products, ports, bridges, roads and highways, research institutions and facilities, to offshore universities.
These are the most desirable community and infrastructure projects that you can expect to contribute to.
STEP-BY-STEP APPLICATION FOR CITIZENSHIP PROCESS
Before you apply for St. Lucia citizenship, you should check if you are eligible. The good news is that the eligibility requirements are pretty standard and don’t make it too difficult for a Nomad Capitalist to tick all of the boxes.
In order to be considered for a St. Lucia citizenship by investment, and the subsequent passport, you should:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have no ‘issues’ with your character
- Hold no criminal record
- Be in good health
- Not be a potential security risk
Good on the eligibility front? Here’s how you apply:
- Do an initial due diligence check and gather your documents. You must work with a government-approved agency to do this and to lodge an application. We can help.
- Pay the due diligence fee and the registration fee (real estate option). Then, lodge your application with the Saint Lucian Citizenship Unit.
- The Saint Lucian government will take approximately 60 to 90 days to approve your application. Once approved, you’ll receive a Letter of Approval.
- The full payment of the total investment amount will be done at this point. It must be carried out within 90 calendar days after the Letter of Approval is issued.
- Once completed, the Citizenship Unit will issue a Certificate of Naturalization to you (and your family members). Take an oath or affirmation of allegiance before an attorney-at-law or notary public.
- You can then apply for and receive your Saint Lucian passport in a week’s time.
It should be noted that you can add dependents for five years after your own application gets approved, for the additional administrative and due diligence fees.
ENJOY ST. LUCIA CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT LIKE THESE NOMAD CAPITALISTS
“Going the donation route was a no-brainer. Having a second passport has really opened up numerous opportunities for me personally and professionally. I also have a swanky passport I can show my friends at parties – I love it.”
“I’ve had the best of times obtaining my Saint Lucian passport. Not only does it mean my wife and I can now enjoy visa-free travel to all of Central and South America, but I can also expand my manufacturing business in the EU.”
“Andrew and his team at Nomad Capitalist are simply the best in the second citizenship business. They know their CBI programs inside and out, and their advice for me to choose Saint Lucia was spot on. I couldn’t be happier with my decision.”
ST. LUCIA CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT BENEFITS
There are many St. Lucia citizenship benefits as opposed to applying to another CBI program. Here are the St. Lucia citizenship benefits.
No pointless hoops to jump through. There won’t be an interview to obtain the St. Lucia passport, nor are there any tests that need to be taken.
Visa-free access to over 140 countries. All of Europe, lots of Central and South America, as well as Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK, and Ireland are included.
Invest only after getting approved. Some CBI programs will demand that you make the investment before you get approved for their citizenship. The opposite is true in St. Lucia citizenship by investment – you’ll only be spending real money after you’re approved for and receive your naturalization certificate.
Fast citizenship. You won’t need to sit around and wait for years until your St. Lucia citizenship by investment is approved. It will take 3-6 months to get your St. Lucia passport.
Cheapest second passport. Tied with a few other jurisdictions in the Caribbean, the St.Lucia passport is the cheapest for a single person to obtain.
Your family can come too. You can obtain St. Lucia citizenship by investment for your spouse, dependent children (under 25), and parents (over 65) when applying for the St. Lucia citizenship by investment program, but each dependent comes at an additional price.
No residency requirement. You don’t have to reside in Saint Lucia before, during, or after the application process.
No travel is required. You can fill out all of your paperwork remotely and obtain your St. Lucia passport remotely too.
Your citizenship is for life. Everyone who obtains a St. Lucia citizenship by investment will hold their St. Lucia passport for life. That means you will always have a place to live and work, no matter what happens.
You’ve got options. With the most varied investment options, Saint Lucia caters not only to those who want to buy citizenship fast, but also to those who want to create actual ties with the country and help its economy develop.
Dual citizenship allowed. Saint Lucia recognizes dual citizenship, so you won’t have an issue obtaining and having two passports, ever.
Moderate taxation. There is no inheritance taxes, no wealth taxes, no capital gains tax, no personal income tax rates for revenue derived from abroad either if you do not reside in St. Lucia.
Ease of doing business. In the Doing Business Report, Saint Lucia currently ranks as the 77th country of 183. This makes it the second-best in the Caribbean region – a remarkable result.
Vibrant offshore sector. Comparable to other Caribbean islands, Saint Lucia also has a vibrant international offshore sector, allowing people to participate in all areas of financial services, for instance, the creation of international companies and the opening of trusts.
THE CONS OF ST. LUCIA CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT
There aren’t many cons in relation to the St. Lucia citizenship by investment program. However, the few cons that remain are all related to its newness and its unique approach to international affairs.
No access to Russia or China. If these two countries are important for you to have visa-free access to, you won’t get it with a St. Lucia passport. That’s because the country has not been too keen to establish relations with them. Plus, it has sided with Taiwan in international affairs, which means its China access is far, far away.
It’s a new program. Sometimes, border patrol officers can be funny and a lesser-known passport such as Saint Lucia can mean that they take extra time and care checking you out before they admit you into their country.
High fees. The administration and due diligence fees, especially the $50,000 fee for alternative investment options other than the donation to the development fund, put Saint Lucia at a higher fee price-point than its neighboring countries.
St. Lucia Citizenship by Investment FAQs
How long does it take to get a Saint Lucia passport?
It will usually take 3-4 months to receive a Saint Lucia citizenship and passport. Delays might be caused by extra due diligence processes.
What’s the best way to invest to get Saint Lucian citizenship?
If by best you mean cheapest, then it’s the donation route that you should go with. By far the cheapest and simplest in terms of its structure, the donation fund will receive your once-off donation, you’ll pay the fees and be done with it all. Alternatively, if by best you mean the investment that allows you to recoup the principle, it’d be the government bonds option.
Is Saint Lucia safe and stable?
Saint Lucia is one of the safest Caribbean islands and it’s both politically and economically stable.
How good is the St. Lucian passport?
Saint Lucia is tied for the 59th spot on our Nomad Passport Index. You can travel to over 145 countries visa-free with your St. Lucia second passport, including all of the EU, the UK, Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong, and many others.
Can my family join me and get a Saint Lucia passport?
As is standard in most CBI programs now, your spouse, your children (under a certain age), and even dependent parents (over 65 years old) can be added to your St. Lucia citizenship by investment application. They will add additional investment sums and fees, and thus increase the total needed investment.
Can I pass my citizenship along to my children?
Yes, Saint Lucian citizenship is for forever and for future generations too.
What paperwork do I need to file to apply for a St. Lucia second passport?
Documents such as your birth certificate, marriage certificate, university diplomas, medical health certificate, a police certificate, a business background report, two professional references, financial statements, and a recommendation from your bank are all required. These need to be in English, or translated into English and officially approved.
YOUR ST. LUCIA CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT
Saint Lucia might be a newcomer in the CBI world, but it definitely has a leg to stand on. Its high standards and stringent due diligence measures have made the St. Lucia citizenship by investment highly regarded.
Some concerns remain, mostly having to do with the government’s lack of experience in running such a program that manifests in turning potential developers off.
For example, the country’s lack of administrative efficiency caused the Range Development company to stop its plans of building a Ritz Carlton in Saint Lucia and go for development in Grenada instead.
When many Caribbean islands are offering similar CBI programs with extremely similar benefits and prices, failures like this matter.
However, if Saint Lucia is given more time, we’re certain that their level-headed approach will help them come out on top.
For single applicants, St. Lucia citizenship by investment programs is really one of the best to participate in. For just $100,000 (plus fees), you can have your Saint Lucian passport in a matter of 3-4 months. The entire process can be completed remotely – there really isn’t much more to it than that.
When you start adding complexities, such as family members or alternative investment routes that you potentially would want to consider, the costs rise, which is why each case must be looked at individually.
However, the COVID discount is a very attractive offer that is worth jumping on now as it won’t be around for long.
We’ve helped dozens of people obtain their Saint Lucian passport in the past, and Andrew has personally obtained Saint Lucian citizenship too.
Let us help you figure it out as well so you can diversify and give yourself the option to go where you’re treated best.