Just announced on 27 July 2023, St. Kitts and Nevis updated their citizenship by investment program to conform to the demands of the European Union and maintain the strength of their passport to remain the Platinum Standard in investment migration.
Over the past week, the European Union and the United Kingdom have been laser-focused on the Caribbean – specifically the investment migration programs.
Presumably, this focus was a last-ditch effort to influence policy changes prior to launching ETIAS and ETA: e-visa programs that will effectively end free access to anyone wishing to travel to virtually the entire European continent in 2024.
Those changes are now materializing.
St. Kitts and Nevis CIP changes
St. Kitts and Nevis announced – and took immediate effect – substantial changes to their citizenship by investment program. Changes that have significant effects on investment thresholds and reach throughout the entire application process in general.
Effective as of 28 July 2023, the Platinum Standard for citizenship by investment becomes much more selective and elite due to the following “monumental” and “groundbreaking” changes:
St. Kitts increases minimum investment
As the trailblazing program that launched the global investment migration industry and, to this day, hailed as the Platinum Standard for investment migration, the St. Kitts and Nevis program has also maintained one of the most affordable investment thresholds.
However, that has now changed, and the program’s price tag has inevitably caught up to its genuine value.
The minimum investment for any entry point into the St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship program was a very affordable $125,000.
This investment minimum not only made the St. Kitts and Nevis program one of the best options amongst its Caribbean neighbors but one of the best options in the entire industry.
However, access to the best has always come at a cost, and now the Platinum Standard reflects this fact. The newly updated program is paired with a new – and some may argue, long-anticipated – increase in investment.
Some investment options are doubling the previous investment minimums.
St. Kitts adds private ownership to real estate options
The St. Kitts and Nevis CIP has always offered a real estate option, but it was primarily focused on investments in hotel shares.
The new re-launching of the program continues to permit investment into property shares as well as highlights traditional home ownership.
Along with the types of ownership permitted, the previous program made specific mention of joint property ownership by two separate investors of the same property.
The status of joint ownership is now a bit unclear, and hopefully, additional clarification and guidance will be provided about this aspect of the program in the near future.
The new CIP policy provides for two distinct real estate investment routes:
- Developer’s Real Estate Option
- Approved Private Home Option
Developer’s Real Estate Option
The ability to purchase shares into hotel rooms and properties will continue to be a staple investment route in the St. Kitts and Nevis program.
However, the minimum investment thresholds have been increased.
The new minimum real estate investment – for hotel shares – is now $400,000.
The property shares must be held for seven years, at which time they can be sold back into the CIP program to another interested and eligible investor.
Approved Private Home Option
The new program update provides special attention to traditional home ownership in the island federation.
The newly updated program provides for “condominium or single-family dwelling[s]” to be eligible for program investment with the following investment minimums:
- Condominiums -$400,000
- Single-family homes – $800,000
The new program announcement states that private homes must be held for seven years.
However, a deeper reading into the language suggests that private ownership requires permission to be granted by the Federal Cabinet in order to resell the property back into the CIP program.
The good news – potentially now that the St. Kitts and Nevis CIP is dedicating special attention to traditional home ownership, property options will increase making St. Kitts one of the best Plan B/backup plans that money can buy – specifically for US-based HNWIs.
The Approved Public Benefit Project option
Essentially updating the current Social Projects investment option, the new Approved Public Benefit Project route will focus specifically on public projects providing direct benefits to the local community.
The Approved Public Benefit Project requires:
- Minimum investment of $250,000
- A project by an Approved Public Benefactor
Approved Public Benefactors must be engaged in a project that meets the federal government eligibility requirements and must “maximise local employment”.
St. Kitts and Nevis implement new ESG investment option
Possibly, the most significant upgrade to the St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship program is a newly targeted focus on ESG and the federation’s long-time commitment to the UN’s SDG program.
Previously, St. Kitts and Nevis permitted an investor to dedicate their funding to the country’s Sustainable Growth Fund [SGF].
The newly updated program replaces the SDF with the newly implemented Sustainable Island State Contribution [SISC].
The SISC will permit ESG-conscious investors to direct their investment funds into the country’s seven pillars of sustainability – which the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship Unit memo outlines as:
- Increasing local food production;
- Transitioning to Green Energy;
- Diversifying the economy;
- Attracting and supporting sustainable industries;
- Evolving the Creative Economy;
- Recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
- Expanding social protection and safety nets to protect the most vulnerable.
The contribution to the new SISC will be paired with the increased minimum investment threshold previously mentioned and will be as follows:
- Single/main applicant = $250,000
- Main applicant + spouse = $300,000
- Main applicant + spouse + 2 eligible dependents = $350,000
- Each additional minor dependent = $50,000
- Each additional adult dependent = $75,000
Additional program changes
The Kittian government did not simply increase investment thresholds but has also leveled up the entire application process as well as the required due diligence obligations.
Those changes are as follows:
- All investors are required to be interviewed by a representative of the St.Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Unit
- The interview will be either in person or virtual
- All background checks on investors and the corresponding due diligence requirements will be conducted by a firm authorized in the US, UK, or Europe
- Once the process is approved and finalized, the Certificate of Registration [the official citizenship document] must be collected by the investor in person in St. Kitts and Nevis or at one of their consulates/embassies
While there is much speculation regarding why St. Kitts and Nevis have made these changes to their citizenship by investment program, the government’s official stance is:
St Kitts and Nevis wish to attract distinguished applicants who have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments, possess substantial investment capabilities, and are committed to making significant contributions to the country’s growth and development.
The primary objective of this approach is to ensure that St Kitts and Nevis maintains the highest standards of citizenship and fosters a vibrant community of nationals who share a common vision for the nation’s advancement.
St Kitts and Nevis is on a path toward sustainable growth and the changes to the Citizenship by Investment Programme show a clear direction that the country is setting itself apart.
High net worth persons looking to invest in professionally regulated projects or contribute meaningfully towards societal advancement, should choose St Kitts and Nevis.
St. Kitts and Nevis has always been both a trailblazer in the investment migration industry and a benchmark for how dual citizenship allows global HNWIs to capitalize on their success to gain access to the benefits of self-sovereignty, lifestyle security, and enduring wealth.
Astons is an officially Authorised Agent by the Kittian government for the St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment program.
To learn more about the new changes to the St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment program and whether it can satisfy your needs, goals, and demands, schedule a Free Consultation with an Astons expert now.