General Information on Economic Citizenship
Economic citizenship is a route that allows foreign nationals to become a citizen of a participating country, through a government sponsored investment programme.
An application can be made on behalf of an individual, or an entire family (applicant, spouse and two unmarried dependant children). Those meeting the requirements of the investment programme are rewarded by full citizenship, including a passport and the right to permanently reside and work in the participating country.
Presently only Dominica and St. Kitts & Nevis offer economic citizenship programmes in the Caribbean.
Please Note : Foreign Nationals wishing to buy property and live in St. Kitts & Nevis may do so without having to obtain Economic Citizenship. The EC Programme is only for those individuals who specifically want a passport and full voting rights.
Economic Citizenship in St. Kitts & Nevis
The Economic Citizenship Programme for St. Kitts and Nevis was established in 1984 and provides the following benefits :
- Citizenship for life, for applicant and all eligible family members.
- Dual Citizenship is permitted, without the requirement to notify the applicants home country, and without any need for the applicant to reside in St. Kitts/Nevis.
- Passports will be issued to the applicant an all eligible family members, and may be easily renewed.
- Visa-Free Travel to approximately 80 countries including :- Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and most British commonwealth countries. When a visa is required, they are also relatively easy to obtain.
- Full Residency Status and the right to work in St. Kitts/Nevis
- Tax Free Status on foreign income, capital gains, gift, wealth and inheritance tax
An application requires a non-refundable cash payment of US$35,000 for a single applicant plus US$15,000 for each dependent, plus a US$2,000 fee for a background check on any person included in the application, who is over 18 years of age.
In addition to the above fees are the associated legal fees which will vary depending on the number of persons included in the application, but are usually in the region of US$15,000.
Additionally, the applicant must invest a minimum of US$350,000 in government designated real estate, among which there are some excellent real estate developments. Please note that the investment required was increased by the government from the old level of US$250,000 in late 2006. The total financial cost of economic citizenship for a single person in St. Kitts is therefore approx US$400,000.
We recommend that applicants employ the services of a lawyer based in St. Kitts/Nevis to prepare and expedite their application. As with other citizenship programmes, the applicant will be subject to a thorough background check, but are not required to personally attend any interviews in St. Kitts/Nevis in this respect.
The granting of citizenship is at the sole discretion of the Government of St. Kitts & Nevis, and therefore there is no guarantee that applicant will be approved. However, as most applicants are carefully screened by their lawyer prior to submitting an application, applications are rarely refused.
Economic Citizenship Application Requirements :
- Birth Certificate for each person in the application.
- Legible copies of all persons passport information providing a photograph, signature, passport number and date and place of issue are required. (colour copies are preferred).
- Police Certificate, stating that the applicant has no criminal record.
- Marriage Certificate only required if the spouse is also applying for citizenship.
- Divorce Certificate, only required if your new spouse is also applying for citizenship.
- Health Certificate. This certificate needs to show that the applicant is not suffering from any contagious or communicable disease, including HIV. This certificate is required for all persons in the application, both adults and children.
- Affidavit of Support. This document is required only if the application includes the applicants spouse and/or dependent children. The affidavit needs to state that the applicant is prepared to support the spouse and dependent children. If the spouse has independent assets, and provides a Bank Reference letter, the affidavit is required only for the children.
- Bankers Reference. A bank reference is required for all adult applicants including the spouse and any children 18 and over. The reference letter must state how long the account has been maintained, the general level of the account held and that the account relationship has been satisfactory. A separate letter may also be submitted by an accountant or stock broker if the applicant has significant funds in trading or investment account.
- Character Reference. Two original references of good character are required for the applicant and each family member of 18 years or older. The references must be from either a doctor, lawyer, accountant, bank manager, or other professional. The name, address and phone numbers of the referees are required.
- Business/Technical Experience. A resume is required showing the education and experience of each person in the application aged 18 years or older. If the children are still attending school or university, educational information is all that is required.
- Photographs. Eight passport size photographs are required for each person in the application.
- A letter from the applicant giving authority for the lawyer to act on his/her behalf.
SIDF Option Under Citizenship-by-Investment
Acquisition of citizenship under the SIDF option requires a contribution to the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation. The contribution is in the form of a one-time payment, and there are four different categories:
A. Single applicant: US$ 200,000 investment required
B. Applicant with up to three dependants (i.e. spouse and two children below the age of 18): US$ 250,000 investment required
C. Applicant with up to five dependants (i.e. one spouse and four children): US$ 300,000 investment required
D. Applicant with six and more dependants: US$ 400,000 investment required.
In each of these categories, the total amount includes all government and due diligence fees. The documentation required for an application is reasonable and the application procedure is straightforward. The average processing time under the SIDF option is 3 – 4 months.
The following forms and documents are required from each applicant, including children:
- Photograph and Signature Certificate (Form C2).
- Medical Certificate (Form C3) including original results of an HIV test (an HIV test is required for all persons applying for citizenship, including children). The HIV test results must be not older than 3 months.
- Certified copy of your current passport(s) showing name, photo, citizenship/nationality, date and place of issue, expiry date, passport number and issuing country.
- Certified copy of your current national identity card(s).
- Six original passport-size photos of yourself taken within the past 6 months.
- Original excerpt of full birth record or certified copy of full birth certificate (i.e. a birth document that also includes your parent’s details, or a household register, family book etc.).
- Original police certificate(s) from country of citizenship (unless you can provide satisfactory evidence that you have never lived there) and from any country where you have lived more than 1 year over the past 10 years. Police certificates must be less than six months old at the time you lodge your application.
The following forms and documents are required only once from the main applicant:
- Investment Confirmation / Escrow Agreement (Form C4-S or C4-R) and confirmation of funds having been wired to an escrow account. Also, in the case of Form C4-R, a copy of the executed real-estate contract.
- One original bank reference letter issued by an internationally recognized bank, not older than 6 months.
- One original professional reference (e.g. from an attorney, notary public, chartered accountant or other professional of similar standing), not older than 6 months.
The following documents are required only if applicable, i.e. if married persons apply together:
- Original excerpt of marriage record or certified copy of marriage certificate(s) (if applicable).
- Certified copy of divorce document(s) (if applicable).