By Moustafa Daly
St. Kitts and Nevis has announced doubling its CBI investment threshold to $250,000 for main applicants.
“The trend since 2016 is clear: it’s not getting easier or cheaper to obtain a second passport. Requirements - monetarily and administratively - keep going up. The changes in St. Kitts and Nevis reflect that trend," says Philippe May, CEO of EC Holdings, to Uglobal.
The move conforms with a new set of rules reportedly issued by the EU to Caribbean CBI programs, St Kitts being the first Caribbean CBI nation to comply.
“Today, St Kitts and Nevis takes another bold step in reaffirming our intention to not only offer the best Citizenship by Investment Programme in the world, but also to offer a program held together by a tight regulatory system designed to be a best-in-practice defense mechanism against illicit actors and those who try to bypass our high-end investment and contribution options,” said Prime Minister Dr. Terrence Drew in a government press release on July 27.
The St Kitts and Nevis government further announced introducing a new investment option for its CBI program, entailing a contribution to the Sustainable Island State Contribution (SISC), to replace the now-expired Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF) option.
“Contributions start from $250,000 for one applicant only and increase as a spouse or dependents are added,” stated the press release. “For a family of two, the contribution amount increases to $300,000 and for a family of four, the minimum Sustainable Island State Contribution is $350,000.”
Meanwhile, for real estate investments, the minimum investment doubled to $400,000 for condominiums and to $800,000 for single-family dwellings.
More changes to St Kitts’ CBI program
As demanded by the EU, all due diligence on CBI applicants will be conducted by independent third-party firms based in the US, UK, or the EU.
“Investors applying for Citizenship by Investment are now required to have a mandatory interview either virtually or in person at a location specified by the Citizenship by Investment Unit and approved by the Board of Governors,” read the press release. The interviews will be conducted by independent third-party firms commissioned by the country’s CBI unit. Dominica introduced a similar CBI requirement last week.
Once a CBI application is approved, applicants must collect a certificate of registration in person from St Kitts or Nevis or at one of the country’s embassies or consulates abroad.
Also, the government is moving to limit the “methods by which the St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme is to be advertised internationally,” according to the press release. The EU has reportedly demanded that promotional material for Caribbean CBI programs do not advertise visa-free access to the Schengen Area.
Experts expect the changes to make the programs less accessible to non-HNWIs applicants. “We are going to see less upper middle class applicants, but not much less applicants in general,” explains May.
“Also, some of the unlicensed CBI promoters, fly-by-nights who offered “discounts“, “financed options“ and other crooked options will disappear. There will be a consolidation in the industry,” he predicts.
Moreover, May predicts that higher CBI thresholds in the Caribbean could inspire other countries to launch cheaper CBI programs to cater to those who would no longer afford Caribbean citizenships.
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