Saint Kitts and Nevis
Residency and Citizenship

Citizenship under a new light: Changes in St Kitts and Nevis program

9/6/2023 8:00:00 AM
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Since July 27, there have been important changes in St Kitts and Nevis program when it comes to citizenship. If you're interested in finding the best place to emigrate, then these changes are probably on your radar. Now, is the program still convenient? Let's analyze the options for people who want to move to Saint Kitts or hold a second passport for optimal travel freedom.

Finding the best place to emigrate: What you need to know about St Kitts’ changes

After a press release confirming changes in St Kitts and Nevis program, the oldest CBI became much different than what it used to be. In general, these changes in immigration laws were implemented to comply with the demands of the European Union and can be summarized as follows:

  • Third-party transfers won't be allowed anymore
  • The minimum investment options have been doubled
  • Changes in immigration laws require applicants to collect the documents in situ removing the possibility of applying 100% remotely unless you live close to a consular office 
  • All applicants will have to undergo mandatory interviews
  • The due diligence processes are enhanced
  • Stricter requirements for family members to qualify as dependents 

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Getting to know Saint Kitts and Nevis and the program's new light

The two islands have been an important business jurisdiction for a long time especially since they released the first citizenship by investment program. For those who wanted to move to Saint Kitts, the process suddenly became simpler. Nonetheless, in July 2023 there have been dramatic changes in St Kitts and Nevis program which the Prime Minister described (and we paraphrase) as a bold step towards transparency.

Terrance Drew announced that they do not only intend to offer a great service to investors but also to contribute to transparency worldwide through a tightened system. Thus, the country would be protecting its reputation from illicit players and unlawful mechanisms. These mechanisms mainly refer to practically tolerated yet unlawful practices involving financing schemes and discounts.

Move to Saint Kitts but now with higher thresholds

The bad news is that the minimum investment requirements have increased significantly. What before was known as a Sustainable Growth Fund is now replaced by the SISC and requires a minimum donation of 250,000. Naturally, the numbers rise as you add up dependents whose requirements, by the way, were also significantly changed.

Now if you want to move to Saint Kitts by getting a real estate passport the minimum investment is 400,000. However, the minimum property holding period remains as before (seven years). 

Through the APH option, or Approved Private Home, applicants can qualify by buying a condo for at least 400,000 or a single-family residency for 800,000. 

In the process of getting to know Saint Kitts and Nevis and finding the best place to emigrate, there's also the option of contributing to a public benefit project which naturally has to be approved by the government. In this case, the threshold increased from 175,000 to 250,000. The same as before, investors must promote projects that contribute to enhancing local employment, local infrastructure, and that transfer technology while assuming all financial risks.

Changes in immigration laws also affect the program’s flexibility

After the changes in St Kitts and Nevis program, all applicants must undergo an interview which can be in person or online. Moreover, the Citizenship by Investment Unit announced that they will hire professional firms in Europe, the US, and the UK to conduct due diligence thus complying with the European Union's demands.

If you move to Saint Kitts by acquiring a passport, keep in mind that the process is no longer 100% remote. This doesn't necessarily mean that the beneficiary will have to travel to Saint Kitts, however, they need to collect their passport in person whether in the country or in a designated diplomatic office abroad.

How do changes in St Kitts and Nevis program affect the country's allure?

Nobody likes to pay extra so this is definitely a downside, however, the program still remains competitive especially when compared to Europe which currently has very few investment citizenship options.

A great advantage of Saint Kitts is its location. No place in the Americas is further than a 7-hour flight and Europe is still accessible. In terms of location, if you move to Saint Kitts and, in this regard, also to other Caribbean countries, you won't experience much change. This area is more accessible than, for example, New Zealand, Seychelles, or Vanuatu especially when traveling to important Western centers like the United States, Panama, or Canada.

Either way, changes in St Kitts and Nevis program have one enormous benefit: they contribute to the country's commitment to transparency and reputation. After all, if you call yourself a citizen of a certain country, you'll want it to be on the right side. Bank transfers, contracts, visas, businesses, investments, and travel will be easier if the country is fully compliant. If finding the best place to emigrate is on your mind, keep Saint Kitts and Nevis on your radar because it's still as solid as a rock when it comes to investment citizenship.

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