Immigrant investment programs in St. Kitts and Nevis are boosting the country’s economy while also offering new citizens many travel and tax benefits.
The St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program, one of the oldest and longest running economic citizenship program’s in the world.
The twin islands once generated enormous wealth from sugar cane exports, however when sugar prices fell, the government and the European Union had to heavily subsidise the industry. In a move to diversify their economy, St. Kitts and Nevis created a unique program to bring in foreign investment: the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program, one of the oldest and longest running economic citizenship program’s in the world. The program offers foreign investors the opportunity to invest in real estate projects in return for citizenship to the country, without having to physically reside there. This benefits many Asian and Middle Eastern businessmen who invest in a passport to grant them ease of travel to over 139 countries without a visa.
Investing in real estate
Real estate developers have created projects where investors can purchase residential villas, cottages and townhouses, under the country’s government backed Citizenship by Investment Program. In order to qualify for this program, an investor must invest a minimum of US$400,000 in an approved real estate development, such as Kittitian Hill or the newest development on the island the Park Hyatt. This then entitles them to a St.Kitts and Nevis citizenship and passport, which enables visa-free travel as well as no wealth, income or inheritance tax.
Demand is high for such real estate projects, which offer both
an investment opportunity as well as a second citizenship. Simon Galt, Sales and Marketing Manager for Kittitian Hill, told GC, that they’ve sold 68% of the cottage hotel, 58 of the 85 available to foreign investors who invested in return for the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship.
“We are now putting emphasis on the cottage suites and fractional villas,” he said. “To-date we have sold and reserved approximately 10% and 20% of these properties respectively.”
Since January this year, the government allows purchasers to re-sell their property to another citizenship applicant after five years from purchase (2017), making the property option even more popular. Meanwhile, citizenship application have increased over the last 6-8 months, making St. Kitts an ideal solution for those who wish to acquire a second citizenship legally and without physical residency requirements.
“St. Kitts is particularly popular among businessmen based in the Middle East who have multiple businesses spread across countries and families based here, making it impossible to fully relocate to get a second citizenship,” says Armand Arton, Chairman of Arton Capital a global financial advisory firm with offices in Dubai, Canada and Europe. Arton Capital partners with developers including Kittitian Hill and Park Hyatt to facilitate the investment and oversee the complete visa and citizenship process for foreign investors. They also work closely with the government of St. Kitts and law firms to ensure the process is carried out efficiently and processing times are minimised.