St. Kitts and Nevis are two islands in the Eastern Caribbean that became independent from England in 1983 and have a history of providing privacy, asset protect, and the best second passport available. This country of 51,000 is a member of the United Nations, its primary language is English, and its currency, the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, is pegged to the United States dollar at 2.7 to 1. Click here for additional information on the Eastern Caribbean Community.
Your St. Kitts passport will provide you with visa free travel to over 100 countries, including Canada, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Liechtenstein, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland and Schengen States of the European Union. For a list of these countries, click here.
Your St. Kitts passport will also provide an easier path to residency in a number of countries, such as Monaco, Switzerland, Andorra, United Kingdom, and Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Bahamas and other Caribbean countries.
Most importantly, there is no residency requirement to obtain a second passport from St. Kitts. You are not required to live in St. Kitts and there is no travel, regular meetings with immigration representatives, or other annoying requirements.
Processing Time: In most cases, you will receive your St. Kitts passport in 2 to 4 months after submitting your application.
There are two programs that will lead to a second passport in St. Kitts:
- Citizenship through real estate investment in St. Kitts, and
- Citizenship by making a donation to the St. Kitts Sugar Industry Diversification Fund.
St. Kitts Passport by Real Estate Investment
The minimum investment in St. Kitts real estate is $400,000 per applicant. If there are two related applicants, such as a husband and wife, you can invest $800,000 in a single property.
Government fees for the St. Kitts real estate investment program are as follows (updated for 2012):
- US$7,500.00 for due diligence background checks and processing fees for the main applicant;
- US$4,000.00 for due diligence background checks and processing fees for each dependent of main applicant who is over the age of sixteen years;
- On approval in principle of an application through a real estate investment
i. US$50,000.00 for the main applicant
ii. US$25,000.00 for the spouse of main applicant;
iii. US$25,000.00 for each child of the main applicant under eighteen years of age;
iv. US$50,000.00 for each qualified dependent of the main applicant above the age of eighteen years, other than his or her spouse.
- Application processing fee is $250 per applicant
Legal fees are in addition to the costs above and vary significantly by applicant. Typical real estate and related expenses are as follows:
- Purchase and Sale Agreement – 1% of the Purchase Price
- Memorandum of Transfer – Approximately 1% of Purchase Price
- Surveyor’s Fees – Approximately US$327.00 per acre
- Government Fees – Registration fee of US$2.70
- Assurance Fund – Purchase price divided by 500
- Alien Landholding License Application – US$1,500.00 per applicant
- Stamp Duty (on select properties): 2.5% – 6% of purchase price
In addition to the high transaction costs, there are a number of issues with the St. Kitts passport by investment program. For example, you must purchase a “program approved” property, which means the cost will be higher than for a non-approved comparable property.
Second, if you give up your citizenship and sell the property, it will lose its approved status and your sale price will be lower. In other words, you can’t sell the property to someone seeking economic citizenship, so the number of potential buyers and the sale price will be significantly reduced.
Third, real estate taxes and upkeep on a property you do not occupy may be prohibitive. The Comptroller of Inland Revenue assesses a property tax of 0.2% per year on market value.
Fourth, St. Kitts does not charge a capital gains tax when the property is sold. Instead, they have a 12% transfer tax due on the full sales price. So, even if you are selling the property at a loss, a 12% tax is charged on the transfer.
Fifth, I said that $400,000 is the minimum investment per application. However, this assumes you can find an approved property you wish to purchase in this price range. Many single family homes are significantly more expensive than this minimum investment and large homes can be in the millions on St. Kitts or Nevis.
In my experience, clients who will spend significant time in St. Kitts opt for the investment option and purchase a single family home. Those who will visit the island from time to time opt for the condos provided by Marriott (for additional information, click here) and the rest will prefer to acquire a passport by donation.
St. Kitts Passport by Donation
If the preceding page on the St. Kitts passport by investment option left you dazed and confused, as it does many clients, there is an easy solution. You can purchase your St. Kitts passport by making a “donation” to the Sugar Industry Diversification Fund (SIDF).
Under the SIDF Citizenship-by-donation option there are four cost structures based on family size:
- $250,000 for a Single applicant,
- $300,000 for an applicant with no more than 3 dependents (two children under 18 and a spouse),
- $350,000 for an applicant with no more than 5 dependents (four children under 18 and a spouse), or
- $450, 000 for an applicant with no more than 6 dependents (five children under 18 and a spouse).
In this program you simply pay the fees, gain economic citizenship and are handed second passport…with no strings attached. This is the recommended program for clients who do not plan to spend significant time in St. Kitts or Nevis.
The costs above do not include legal, due diligence, application, agent, and other professional fees. A single applicant should expect to pay out around $350,000 to complete the process.