Saint Lucia’s citizenship by investment program saw a surge in applications in 2017, thanks to the government’s decision to reduce the cost of donation-based individual applications from $200,000 to $100,000 at the start of the year. Still, stiff regional competition and political blowback mean the island could face a struggle to sustain momentum in 2018.
Saint Lucia Investment Immigration Programs Overview
A reduction in the donation qualifying investment option, accompanied by a number of investor-friendly reforms, saw interest in Saint Lucia’s CBI program surge in 2017. The program attracted 18 applications in 2016 as compared to 279 applications in 2017. Saint Lucia offers several citizenship options, including contribution to the National Economic Fund; the purchasing of non-interest-bearing bonds, investment into approved real-estate projects, and investment into approved enterprise-based investment pathways. The most popular route to citizenship, however, is a straightforward $100,000 donation to the island’s National Economic Fund.
Saint Lucia offers several options for citizenship by investment:
The main route to citizenship for most investors is a simple donation to the island’s National Economic Fund, priced at $100,000 for one individual, $165,000 for a married couple, and $190,000 for a family of up to four people. Additional qualifying dependents can be included for $25,000 per person.
A government bond purchase to the value of $500,000, held at zero interest for five years, also qualifies individual investors for citizenship. A married couple can qualify with a $535,000 investment, and a family of up to four people can obtain citizenship in exchange for a $550,000 bond purchase. Additional qualifying dependents cost $25,000 per person.
Saint Lucia offers citizenship in exchange for a $300,000 real-estate investment in an approved real estate project. Though relatively new, with five projects approved as of February 2018, the real-estate option should prove to be popular.
Investors can gain Saint Lucia citizenship by making a $3.5 million business investment; multiple applicants can apply by investing $6 million in a joint venture, with each investor contributing at least $1 million. No enterprise projects have so far been approved.
Investors who purchase bonds must pay an additional $50,000 application fee, while real-estate investors must pay the $50,000 application fee and an additional $35,000 per adult dependent and $25,000 per minor dependent. All main applicants, including donation-based applicants, must also pay $9,500 for the processing and due-diligence fee, and up to $6,000 in due diligence and processing fees for each dependent.
Saint Lucia does not offer a residency-by-investment program, but it is possible for business people to obtain one-year multiple-entry visas. Permanent residency is available to anyone who legally resides in Saint Lucia for five years or more.
How To Apply
Applicants must submit their application through a licensed authorized agent; while application fees and due-diligence charges must be paid up-front, the core investment is made only once the application has been formally approved. Besides the regular biographical documentation, applicants must submit a professional reference, a bank reference and valid police certificate.
Every applicant must go through a detailed due diligence process which includes the undertaking of due diligence by a third party due diligence firm and law enforcement/ intelligence. It is only when those two vetting conclusions have been obtained that a decision of the application will be made.
There is no requirement for applicants to travel to Saint Lucia, and no residency requirement for successful applicants. A time period of three months is given for the processing of applications and notification will be provided if processing is delayed beyond that point.
Saint Lucia’s passport is ranked 34th in the world, with visa-free access to 130 countries, including the UK and the Schengen Area.
With an economy driven by tourism and banana-farming, citizenship by investment has provided Saint Lucia with a much-needed influx of capital. While few investors spend much time on the island, new citizens can look forward to visiting an island known for its natural beauty — including forested mountains and golden beaches — and for a stable tropical climate that’s cooled by ocean breezes but generally manages to avoid the worst of the hurricane season. The island is a stable parliamentary democracy, and a member of the Commonwealth, with a legal system based on British common law.