(Wednesday, 14th November 2018)
by the St. Kitts Investment Promotion Agency
St. Kitts & Nevis ranked first in the Caribbean region for its citizenship by investment (CBI) programme, in the 2018 Passport Index, released by leading international CBI firm, Henley & Partners.
This is a significant accomplishment for St. Kitts & Nevis as the small island state recently signed a historic Visa Waiver Agreement with Russia. St. Kitts and Nevis was also the only Caribbean island recognised in Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s travel list for 2018, positioning the country as a more attractive destination for CBI programmes.
Currently, St. Kitts & Nevis residents enjoy visa-free/entry permits to over 150 countries/territories including Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, while citizens also enjoy “short stay” visa waivers to France. This is extremely beneficial to St. Kitts & Nevis’s CBI programme, which continues to maintain its high standards of conducting business, and St. Kitts and Nevis is working hard to ensure that its CBI programme remains a first-class brand.
Investors in the programme are given the option to invest in real estate or make a contribution to the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF).
SUSTAINABLE GROWTH FUND (SGF) CONTRIBUTION
Applicants may qualify for citizenship through a contribution to the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF).
• Single applicant: a non-refundable contribution of US$150,000 is required
• Main applicant with up to three dependents (for example, a spouse and two children): a non-refundable contribution of US$195,000 is required
• Additional dependents, regardless of age: US$10,000
Upon submission of an application, non-refundable due diligence and processing fees must be also paid. These fees amount to US$7,500 for the main applicant, and US$4,000 for each dependent of the main application who is over the age of 16 years.
REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
Applicants may qualify for citizenship through an investment in a pre-approved real estate project, which may include hotel shares, villas, and condominium units. The minimum real estate investment required by law is US$200,000 (resalable after 7 years) or US$400,000 (resalable after 5 years) for each main applicant.
Upon submission of an application, non-refundable due diligence and processing fees must also be paid. These fees amount to US$7,500 for the main applicant, and US$4,000 for each dependent of the main applicant who is over the age of 16 years.
On approval in principle of an application made through a real estate investment, a government fee applies, as follows:
• Main applicant: US$35,047
• Spouse of the main applicant: US$20,047
• Any other qualified dependent of the main applicant regardless of age: US$10,047
In addition to these fees, real estate buyers should be aware of purchase costs (mainly compulsory insurance fund contributions and conveyance fees).
The government has succeeded in creating an attractive investment climate through sound policies and careful planning. A new landscape of opportunities is now available to investors under defined, prioritised sectors. These include tourism, offshore financial services, information technology, agriculture, international education, renewable energy and manufacturing.
The government offers tax incentives in the form of exemption from import duty and tax holidays of up to 15 years for qualified investments. The Hotel Aids Act allows for exemption from import duty on materials for the refurbishment or construction of a hotel and tax holidays of 10 years for hotels with 30 or more bedrooms and 5 years for hotels with 10 to 29 bedrooms.
St. Kitts offers numerous opportunities for wealth preservation through an attractive tax regime for doing business. There are no personal income tax and no capital gains or death tax. St. Kitts is attractive as an international financial centre because its services cater to small closely held companies with an easy application process and reasonable rates. In addition, the Financial Services sector is equipped with experience and knowledgeable staff and the jurisdiction boasts a regulatory body that meets international standards. Foundations, and Captive Insurance Companies, are identified as unique investment opportunities due to the nature and viability of the products.
Companies registered in St. Kitts and Nevis can repatriate all capital, royalties, dividends and profits. There are no exchange controls in St. Kitts and Nevis and the invoicing of foreign trade transactions may be made in any currency.