Why St. Kitts & Nevis Remains a Top Offshore Jurisdiction
Cotton Ground, Nevis: I’m here for a week with my business partner, Trey Wyatt. We’re the owners of Fortress Trust, Ltd., a registered agent for trusts, limited liability companies, corporations, and foundations. Most recently, we acquired a license to submit applications for citizenship by investment in St. Kitts & Nevis.
The Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis (formally St. Christopher and Nevis) has a great deal to offer for such a small country. Its two islands 210 miles southeast of Puerto Rico have a total territory of around 104 square miles and a population of approximately 55,000. About three-quarters of the population live on St. Kitts. English is the official language and is spoken throughout the islands.
St. Kitts & Nevis was a British colony until 1967, when the islands, along with neighboring Anguilla, became a UK associated state. In 1983, St. Kitts & Nevis became independent.
Under the Federation’s constitution, a national assembly enacts laws for both islands. Each island also has its own legislative assembly, which can enact binding legislation for that island.
After independence, the Federation evolved into an international financial center. But the islands followed separate paths. Nevis took the lead, enacting legislation that authorized the creation of international business companies in 1984. This was followed shortly by LLC and international trusts ordinances. All these entities are excluded from income, corporation, gift, withholding, estate, asset inheritance, succession and stamp taxes on income from outside Nevis.
St. Kitts followed with its own offshore legislation in 1996. However, the international financial sector in Nevis has been more successful than that of St. Kitts.
One reason for this success is the ultra-flexible and extraordinarily protective Nevis LLC law. Nevis has one of the world’s strongest LLC laws, for several reasons:
- Judgments made outside Nevis against Nevis LLCs or their members (owners) or managers aren’t enforced. Creditors must initiate a local proceeding under local rules. Among other provisions, the law requires that a creditor prove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In contrast, most US states employ a “preponderance of the evidence” standard for a creditor to prevail. Under this standard, a creditor needs only to demonstrate a 51% probability that the evidence favors it over the defendant to obtain a judgment.
- Nevis is a “loser pays” jurisdiction. The losing party in litigation is generally expected to pay the legal fees of the prevailing party. The plaintiff – the person suing – in a lawsuit must post a bond of XCD 100,000 (about USD $37,000) to cover the defendant’s legal expenses if the lawsuit is unsuccessful.
- The “charging order” is the only creditor action permitted against Nevis LLCs. This order gives a creditor the right to receive only future distributions made from the LLC to the liable member. Creditors of individual members can’t force the LLC to liquidate, nor can they seize the interests of the liable member or members. And because US judgments aren’t enforced in Nevis, charging order protection for Nevis LLCs is stronger than in any US state.
In 1984, the national assembly also enacted the world’s first modern citizenship-by-investment legislation. It gave applicants the privilege to acquire citizenship in the Federation and the right to carry a St. Kitts & Nevis passport in exchange for an investment in qualifying real estate.
In 2005, commercial sugar cane production ended in St. Kitts. The national assembly voted to offer a second option for citizenship: a contribution to the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF), an organization set up to benefit displaced sugar workers.
Both options remain in place today. And while other citizenship-by-investment programs have come and gone since 1984, the one in the Federation is the oldest and one of the most respected. St. Kitts & Nevis passport holders can travel without a visa, or obtain a visa upon entry, to nearly 150 countries, including all 28 members of the European Union.
Last September, hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria devastated the Caribbean region. Irma and Maria, each Category 5 storms, both passed within 60 miles of the Federation, causing extensive damage. St. Kitts & Nevis was not as badly affected as several other Caribbean islands, but many homes and businesses were seriously damaged. Indeed, as I write these words, I’m looking out the window of my villa at a tree that fell during the storm.
Shortly after the hurricane season ended, the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) introduced a new contribution option: the Hurricane Relief Fund (HRF). Until March 30, 2018, a $150,000 contribution to the HRF will qualify you, your spouse, and up to two qualified dependents for citizenship. This is a discount of as much as 50% compared to the SIDF option.
St. Kitts & Nevis was voted the best citizenship-by-investment program in the region in 2017. This is a unique window of opportunity to acquire citizenship in this tropical paradise at a huge savings.
But there’s not much time left. Contact the Nestmann Group – now a licensed international marketing agent for the Federation’s citizenship-by-investment program – for more information today.
Protecting your assets (and yourself) against any threat - from the government, the IRS or a frivolous lawsuit - is something The Nestmann Group has helped more than 15,000 Americans do over the last 30 years.
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