St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship Program: All you need to know

Road Sign With A Welcome To St Kitts and Nevis

Have you ever wanted to become a citizen of another country, but not been quite sure how to do it? With citizenship requirements becoming tighter than ever in most countries, it's becoming more difficult to immigrate or acquire dual citizenship. Even if you are fortunate to obtain a pathway to a second passport, the residency and other requirements to obtain that passport often become unreasonable. This is particularly true if you have business or family commitments in your home country that make it difficult to leave for long periods.

But there's good news. It's still possible to become a citizen of a handful of countries without meeting any residency requirements. Instead, you'll obtain citizenship by investment; receiving the country's passport by making a financial investment in the country.

The nation of St Kitts and Nevis has the oldest and most reputable economic citizenship program, which has been in place for over 30 years. In fact, St Kitts and Nevis citizenship may be the easiest second passport in the world to obtain.

Intrigued? Here's more information about the citizenship by investment program, and how you can get started obtaining your own St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship.

The Benefits of St Kitts and Nevis Citzenship

Be a Dual Citizen

You don't need to give up your country of origin passport in order to become a St Kitts and Nevis citizen. By obtaining dual citizenship, you have the benefits of this nation's citizens, while also retaining the privileges of your country of origin. Dual citizenship allows the potential to easily live in two different countries, and often allows for greater ease of travel through multiple nations. It also makes it easier to work, study, buy property, and do business in multiple countries. It is also a very peaceful country with good foreign relations worldwide, and dual citizenship makes it easy to move there if your country faces political instability.

Travel Visa Free

Your St Kitts and Nevis passport allows you to travel without a visa to over 130 countries, making it one of the most valuable passports for ease of travel in the world. Countries that St Kitts and Nevis citizens can travel to visa free include the entire Schengen Area of the European Union, consisting of 26 countries, almost all of South America, and nearly all of Central America and the Caribbean Islands.

Live in St Kitts and Nevis... or Don't

If you desire a new place to live, or a great vacation residence, St Kitts and Nevis are beautiful locations for families, retirees, and adults to stay. Situated in the Eastern Caribbean Islands, about 1,200 miles from Miami, St Kitts and Nevis are famous for their beauty and perfect weather. The pace of life on the islands remains relaxed all year, and locals are friendly and speak English as the official language of both islands. They have several jobs for residents with the unemployment rate being the lowest in the Caribbean. Popular industries on the islands include tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing. It's also a great place to start or run your business.

However, unlike most countries, it's not necessary to spend any time in St Kitts and Nevis to obtain your dual citizenship. It has no residency requirement as part of their citizenship by investment program. In fact, it's not necessary to ever even visit the country, let alone live there, to become a citizen. You'll be able to handle all aspects of your investment and application through email, phone, and post office contact. And if you ever change your mind, you'll always have the option to move to St Kitts and Nevis and establish a life there.

Enjoy Tax Free Income

If you're a citizen of the United States, you're used to being double taxed on money you earn worldwide, even in many cases if the other country has also taxed you on the income. Fortunately, there are no such concerns with income you earn outside of St Kitts and Nevis. Citizens of St Kitts and Nevis never get taxed on money they earn while not residing in the country. You'll only need to pay taxes if you live and work there.

Get Citizenship for the Entire Family

There's no reason to get St Kitts and Nevis citizenship by yourself when it's easy to also apply for citizenship for an unlimited number of dependents. Dependents you can include in the application are your spouse, any children under the age of 18, children between the ages of 18 and 25 who are in school full-time and who you support financially, parents and grandparents over the age of 65 supported by the applicant, and physically or mentally disabled adult children the applicant supports.

Requirements to Become a St Kitts and Nevis Citizen

Make a Monetary Donation or Investment

Becoming a citizen by investment requires making an upfront donation or investment in your new country. St Kitts and Nevis offer two ways to make your financial contribution, through the sugar or real estate industry.

The first option involves making a US $250,000 donation to the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF), a public charity that supports sugar workers who lost their jobs as the industry becomes increasingly industrialized. The main advantages to making this donation are that the required donation is less money than investing in real estate, and you're also often able to process your application more quickly. On the downside, this money can't be recouped.

The second option requires you to make a minimum US $400,000 investment in real estate on St Kitts or Nevis Islands. The real estate can't be any property on the island; it needs to be from an approved developer and specifically designated as a property in the Citizenship by Investment program. You must own the property for five years before selling, but it's possible to recoup some of your investment, unlike the SIDF donation. You also have the option to rent out the property, or live in it full or part-time.

Have High Personal Net Worth

Obtaining citizenship by investment may not be as expensive when compared to other programs but still, you need to have a high startup capital in order to afford a St Kitts and Nevis citizenship application. In addition to your donation or real estate investment, there are other costs involved in the process. For a single applicant applying alone, these additional costs include: US $7500 for your due diligence background check, the government fee, a passport fee, and mandatory legal fees according to your lawyer's fee schedule. St Kitts and Nevis also want to know you'll be able to support yourself after making the contribution without needing public assistance, and require letters from bankers or accountants certifying your net worth.

Costs also increase if you're planning to apply as a family and obtain citizenship for your spouse or dependents. For the SDIF contribution, the mandatory amount increases to US $300,000 if you have up to three family members (two dependents, or a spouse and one dependent), or $350,000 with up to five family members. For the real estate investment, you must pay government application fees ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 for each additional dependent.

Be in Excellent Health

Applicants and their dependents must prove that they are in good health in order to be accepted for citizenship. In order to apply, you must get medical clearance from a doctor and have HIV test results that are no more than three months old. The HIV test requirement applies to any dependent applicant from ages five and up.

Have No Criminal Record

All applicants 16 and up need to demonstrate that they have a clean criminal record; they'll need to present a police clearance, no more than six months old, from all the countries they've resided in over the past 10 years. In addition, US citizens need to provide FBI clearance. Applicants with a past criminal record are significantly more likely to get denied. Additionally, you'll need to be eligible for visa-free entry from every country you can enter without a visa with a St. Kitts and Nevis passport. A past history of visa denial from one of these countries may also make you ineligible for citizenship.

Use a Licensed Local Lawyer for Your Application

In order to apply for citizenship, you must use a local lawyer specifically approved and licensed by Nevis and St Kitts. The application fee for citizenship is only available through these lawyers, and the government will only communicate with lawyers on their list regarding citizenship applications. In order to use a local lawyer, you must pay their fee schedule in addition to application fees.

Be a Citizen of One of Most Countries Worldwide

St Kitts and Nevis citizenship is available to most, but not all, residents worldwide. Unfortunately, citizens of Afghanistan and Iran are not eligible for this program, even if they meet all the other requirements.

If you meet the requirements for becoming a dual citizen to St Kitts and Nevis, the first step to starting your application is getting connected to one of St Kitts and Nevis' legal lawyers who are licensed and ready to guide you through the citizenship application process.

Generally speaking, processing your application is a simple and quick process once you've submitted the paperwork. In the vast majority of cases, if your application meets citizenship requirements, you'll have your application approved and receive your passport, which is good for 10 years, within 90 days.

Get started now, and before too long you'll be enjoying all the benefits dual citizenship brings.