In the world of Citizenship by Investment Programs, also known as a “CIP,” foreign investors are taking advantage of obtaining second citizenships and passports offered by countries around the world. Within this 2 billion dollar industry, Caribbean passports are quickly becoming a precious commodity for high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals seeking the many benefits that global citizenship affords. One of the most prominent Citizenship by Investment Programs in the Caribbean belongs to the dual islands of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Located in the Eastern Caribbean, the two-island nation has taken great leaps in the last few years to revitalize and modernize its economy through its Citizenship by Investment Program. From new luxurious properties to lush forests and warm tropical weather year-round, St. Kitts and Nevis has become a preferred destination for foreign investors and visitors alike.
Much of St. Kitts and Nevis’ recent economic successes can be attributed to the restructuring of its Citizenship by Investment Program (CBI), which was formally launched in 1984. While the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program is the oldest and most trustworthy of its kind today, Caribbean second citizenship programs have faced a number of criticisms over the past few years, particularly concerning Caribbean governments “selling” citizenships to anyone who can afford it.
This latter charge is also one of the most misunderstood aspects of second citizenship schemes, and the St. Kitts and Nevis government has taken great strides to counter these perceptions by streamlining its program in areas of services and real estate development.
In a recent interview featured on Flickread.com, Les Khan, the Chief Executive Officer of the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CBI), recently stated that St. Kitts and Nevis has proven to be a nation that “punches well above its weight thanks to a Citizenship Investment Programme [sic] that has become the world standard, not to mention well-administered and thriving tourism and real estate sectors and a financial services industry that continues to go from strength to strength.”
St. Kitts and Nevis’ economy is certainly improving, and largely due to the well-administered and efficient operations of the program in real estate and tourism sectors. Luxury development has become a common trend among Caribbean Citizenship by Investment programs, and foreign investors are more than eager to enter into St. Kitts and Nevis’ bourgeoning market.
For a minimum of USD $400,000 in a government-approved real estate project, investors have a wide selection of properties to choose from between the two islands, including purchasing residential homes, luxury villas, or beachfront cottages and condominiums.
Acquiring real estate property in a tropical paradise, however, is not the only perk of the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program. One of the key benefits that attract investors to the islands is the St. Kitts and Nevis passport, which is proving to be a powerful international contender in its own right. Holders of a St. Kitts and Nevis passport are granted visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to 132 countries worldwide.
Recent diplomatic efforts of St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Timothy Harris have been geared towards the expansion of visa-free access to other countries for holders of a St. Kitts and Nevis passport. Currently, Antigua and Barbuda is the only other Caribbean passport that grants visa-free and visa-on-arrival amenities to 134 countries, but this can be expected to change in the near future.
It is true that Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programs have faced negative publicity from the international community over the last few years, and that is precisely what St. Kitts and Nevis has endeavored to turn around. Indeed, recent reform to the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program (CBI) has garnered recognition of St. Kitts and Nevis as a leader among Caribbean nations and industry advocates of Citizenship by Investment Programs around the world.
Coupled with the dual-island’s economic success in luxury real estate development and internal efforts to improve the strength of the country’s passport, it is all but certain that St. Kitts and Nevis will rise to the top among the most respected and preferred Citizenship by Investment Programs throughout the Caribbean and beyond.
For more information on the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program (CBI), please click here.
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