If you’re looking for a second passport, St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program is well worth a look. It’s a long running program that consistently wins awards in the industry as the “best” option in the field.
Admittedly, we might be a little biased in that assessment since we’ve helped many clients get citizenship there.
But have a look at the facts below. You’ll learn why it’s worth considering, how to qualify, how to apply, and other key details.
That’ll help you see whether it’s right for you.
Why St. Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment?
You Become Part of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)
The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is an economic union of 11 member states in the Eastern Caribbean. The full members are Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
In some ways, it’s like a mini-EU — citizens of a member country have the right to live and work in any other full member.
Thus, citizenship in St Kitts — just like the Dominica Citizenship by Investment program — opens the door to living, working, or retiring in any of the other OECS full members.
Good Visa-Free Access
St Kitts and Nevis offers visa-free access to 156 countries. Although not as “good” as the US passport (187 countries), it punches high above its weight in this category. In fact, St Kitts and Nevis offers the best access to worldwide travel of any Caribbean Citizenship by Investment program.
It’s a great Plan B insurance policy
A second passport from St Kitts and Nevis gives you the freedom to travel internationally if you lose access to your US passport for any reason.
The Disadvantages to St Kitts Citizenship by Investment Program
Can’t be used to reduce tax for US Citizens
St Kitts citizens pay no income tax, no inheritance tax, wealth tax or investment income tax.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t help US citizens. Even if you leave America permanently, you still need to pay tax on your worldwide income as if you never left.
(The only way to get rid of that obligation is to expatriate.)
For US Citizens, the Real Estate option is… complicated
There are two paths to St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship under this program. You can make a Sustainable Island State Contribution (SISC) or invest in government-approved real estate.
Most of our clients like the idea of real estate… at first glance. You can buy in for $400,000 per family, qualify for the program and then resell in seven years.
But if you look into it, these government approved real estate programs are actually shares in real estate companies, not real estate itself. When it comes time to sell, that’s a problem for US citizens.
That’s because, if you want to sell to other US citizens, you’re now technically selling an unregistered security, not real estate. That means you need to follow securities laws. And that becomes very expensive very quickly.
There is also one more real estate option… You could buy a full title deed on a condo or private home, hold for seven years and then resell.
This sort of ownership avoids having to deal with a security. But not many are available, and most of those that are in the “single-family private dwelling” category where the minimum investment to qualify jumps from $400,000 to $800,000.
Eligibility and Requirements
To qualify for the St Kitts and Nevis citizenship program, you need to be:
- At least 18 years old.
- Submit a medical questionnaire signed by a medical professional. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to be in perfect health to qualify.)
- Have a clean criminal record.
- Pass a detailed background check.
Adding on Family Members
The following family members can apply on the same application to get a permanent St Kitts and Nevis citizenship:
- Your opposite-sex husband or wife.
- Your children under 18 years old.
- Your children between 18 and 25 if they’re full-time students at a college or university and are fully supported by you.
- Mentally or physically disabled children of any age who you fully support.
- Your parents over 65 years old, if they live with you and you fully support them.
St Kitts & Nevis citizenship document requirements
Applications for this citizenship by investment are handled by “Licensed Persons” on the island who act with the government’s Citizenship by Investment Unit to process applications. The CIU ultimately decides what documents are needed. In some cases, the process will be quite simple. In others, they may come back multiple times with requests for more information.
(Feel free to get in touch with us for a consultation to see whether your application is likely to be a simple one or more complex.)
St. Kitts & Nevis Application Documents will include…
Government forms: An Application Form, a Medical Form, an Investment Agreement (EDF option), a Sales and Purchase Agreement (Real Estate option), etc.
Security and police documentation: A police record check from your home country (the FBI does this in the US), Fingerprint and photograph verification form, etc.
Documentation about you: Various ID information, photos, proof of residential address, birth certificates, copy of university / college diplomas (as relevant), marriage certificate (as relevant), etc.
Medical documentation: HIV test for applicants over 12, routine blood and urine tests, medical questionnaire and certificate, etc.
How to Apply
Our clients tend to take 8-9 months from start to finish. Here’s a summary of the different steps to consider and how long each stage is.
#1: Choosing the investment route
There are two options…
- The Sustainable Island State Contribution (SISC) fund. You support St. Kitts & Nevis’s development by making a non-refundable contribution of at least $250,000 to the fund. The minimum donation (and extra costs) will depend on how many family members apply with you.
- Preapproved real estate. You invest at least $400,000 in a government approved real estate project. Most properties are high-end tourist accommodations comparable in price to what you would find in many places within the US.
The properties can be resold in as little as seven years. However, keep in mind that if you plan to sell to other Americans, you will probably have to consider US securities laws. That does not come cheap. So be sure you understand the details before you invest.
It’s worth mentioning that almost all of our clients choose the SISC Fund.
#2: Preparing documents and forms
Now that you know which qualifying option you want, we start to prepare the paperwork the St. Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment Unit needs to process your application. The Nestmann Group will guide you through the collection of all documentation needed and vet all of your paperwork beforehand.
Doing it this way makes sure your application is done properly and is less likely to run into any delays.
#3: Submitting the application
The next step is to submit your application to a Licensed Agent in St. Kitts & Nevis who we’ve worked with for years.
That’s because St. Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment Unit — the CIU — does not allow applications directly from applicants; they work with Licensed Agents who are approved to manage forms and submit the applications to the CIU on behalf of clients.
Applicants age 16 or older must also do a personal interview. These can be done in person or using an online conferencing service like Zoom.
#4: Receiving approval from the CIU
After about three months, you’ll get a confirmation letter to say you’ve been accepted in principle.
#5: Making the contribution / Show proof of real estate investment
With the confirmation letter, you can now make the contribution and/or show proof that you have made the required real estate investment. This usually takes a few weeks.
#6: Becoming a St. Kitts & Nevis citizen
As a St. Kitts & Nevis citizen, you and everyone on your application, have a right to a passport. We can formally apply for one on your behalf. After one or two months (on average), the government will send them to the address of your choice.
Costs and Fees
Option #1: Sustainable Island State Contribution (SISC)
A non-refundable minimum contribution to this fund is one way to qualify for citizenship by investment. What that minimum is depends on how many people are on the application.
There are additional fees on top, as outlined in the table below.
|Economic Diversification Fund
|Applicant + Spouse
|Family of Up to Four
|Additional Dependent Under 18
|Additional Dependent Over 18
Due Diligence Fee
|$7,500 for each family member aged 16 or over
|$250 per applicant
|$1,000 (for each applicant 16 years old and above)
Option #2: Government approved real estate
You can also invest at least $400,000 in government-approved real estate projects. Although this investment can be resold in as little as seven years, US citizens wanting to sell are often going to run into issues with US securities laws. For that reason, we generally recommend the investment route only if you plan to buy and hold for a long time.
This option also comes with additional fees as outlined below.
|Approved Real Estate Investment
|Applicant & Spouse
|Additional qualified dependent under 18
|Each additional qualified dependent aged 18 or older
Government Registration Fee (after approval)
|No additional fee up to three dependents; then $2,500 per dependent
|No additional fee up to three dependents; then $3,500 per dependent
Due Diligence Fee
|$7,500 for each family member aged 16 or over
|$250 per applicant
|$1,000 (for each applicant 16 years old and above)
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you get St. Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment?
You can either contribute to a government development fund or invest in approved real estate projects worth at least $400,000.
To qualify, you must be at least 18, have a clean criminal record, and be in good health. After a detailed background check and personal interview (in person or online), you and your family can receive a St. Kitts & Nevis citizenship and passport. The entire process usually takes eight or nine months for a typical client.
Is a St. Kitts & Nevis Passport “good”?
The value of a passport is the visa-free and visa-on-arrival access it gives.
In St. Kitts & Nevis’s case, its passport allows visa-free travel to 156 countries, including the European Schengen zone, Hong Kong and Singapore. This puts it well into the top third of passports worldwide.
How much does a St. Kitts & Nevis Golden Visa cost?
The St. Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment programme is sometimes called the St. Kitts & Nevis Golden Visa or even the St. Kitts & Nevis Golden Passport.
The cost starts at $250,000 for a single applicant making a non-refundable donation to the country’s Economic Diversification Fund.
The real estate investment option has a minimum investment of $400,000.
These minimums also have different additional fees on top — including professional, application, due diligence, and passport fees.
Interested in learning more about citizenship by investment programs?
Here you’ll find the cheapest citizenship by investment programs. We’ve ranked the most cost-effective programs for singles, couples, and families.
Is there such a thing as “St Kitts and Nevis real estate citizenship”?
Under the citizenship by investment program, real estate investment is one way to qualify. So it’s not “real estate citizenship” per se, but rather one way to qualify for citizenship.
Does St. Kitts & Nevis allow dual citizenship?
Yes, St. Kitts & Nevis recognizes dual citizenship. You can keep your existing citizenship if your home country allows it.
Can I also give St. Kitts & Nevis citizenship to my family?
Yes, you can include family members in your application. Your spouse and children under 18 are automatically eligible. Dependent children between 18-25 attending post-secondary education that you fully support, as well as disabled children of any age you fully support are also eligible.
Finally, parents over 65 can apply with you if they are fully dependent on you for support.
Can you live in Europe on a St. Kitts & Nevis passport?
No, you can’t live in Europe on a St. Kitts & Nevis passport. However, you can enter the Schengen zone and stay up to 90 days at a time, for a total of 180 days per year, without a visa. After that, you will need to gain permission to stay according to the rules of the European country you want to live in.
If I choose the real estate investment track, can I sell my investment in St. Kitts & Nevis?
If you choose the St. Kitts & Nevis CBI real estate investment option, you can sell after seven years. However, the vast majority of government approved developments are actually share purchases, not traditional real estate.
As such, US clients may need to consider securities laws at the time of sale. Doing so can greatly increase the costs associated with that sale.
How long does it take to get citizenship by investment in St Kitts?
You will see many websites promise St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship in as little as 3 months. In theory, that’s true because it only considers the processing time from the time you submit your application to the time it takes to get a provisional acceptance letter.
In practice, we tell our clients to expect 9 months from the time they decide to start to the time they get their passport. This includes:
- Two months to put together the application.
- Three months for processing.
- One month to send confirmation of donation/investments, and receive formal approval back.
- Two to three months to apply for and receive your passports. Note that with optional expedited processing, this waiting period can be reduced to a few days.
Need some help?
Schedule a free no-obligation consultation with a Nestmann associate and let’s see if St. Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment is right for you. Click here to request a call.