In 2023, the government of Saint Kitts and Nevis is planning to make significant changes to its citizenship by investment (CBI) program. These changes are intended to make the process more efficient to investors.
Mr. Michael Martin, the new CEO of Saint Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU), is implementing significant changes to the program. Martin who aims to improve the efficiency of the program has launched new and stricter rules for approved real estate developments, each of which will need to re-qualify for such designation beginning with the new year as well as substantial discounts for the SGF contribution option and a new fee schedule.
These changes are part of a broader effort by the government to enhance the reputation and competitiveness of the CBI program. Saint Kitts and Nevis has long been one of the leading programs in the CBI industry alongside Saint Lucia, and Grenada. These changes are intended to ensure that the program remains at the forefront of this market.
The CIU Board of Governors has been established by the government to ensure greater transparency and accountability of the program. The Governors will be in charge of providing high-level advice to the Prime Minister on the management and operation of the CIU, as well as analyzing and surveilling the CBI program’s development and policies.
The recently appointed Technical Committee has the responsibility of ensuring that all due diligence background checks and spot checks on all CBI applications are completed thoroughly.
The changes are implemented to enhance the effectiveness and accuracy of application processing while maintaining the program’s integrity and adhering to the strict due diligence rules. Simultaneously, to ensure and expand the program’s popularity and entice more investors from the MENA Region.
Changes in Real Estate Investment Option
One of the key changes being proposed under the new CBI regime, includes only approved developments being eligible for the real estate investment option. When the new CBI Regulations go into effect, all real estate properties that were previously designated as approved projects will lose their designation.
Developers of these properties must apply to the CIU’s board of governors to have them designated as an approved development.
According to the CIU circular, once a property is designated as an approved development, the government will determine the number of real estate units to be sold, as well as the construction completion schedule and corresponding escrow drawdown process. Furthermore, the CIU is imposing penalties on anyone or any entity which avoids or attempts to avoid paying the legally mandated minimum investment amount.
Projects approved cannot be resold within seven years; cannot be resold to another CBI applicant; and cannot be converted into apartments or condominiums.
Alternative Investment Option Changes
The Alternative Investment Option (AIO) has been replaced by a new Public Good Investment Option (PGIO), which will focus on achieving real transformation for the country by investing in areas that will benefit the citizens of St Kitts and Nevis – these projects must maximize local employment, transfer technological skills, and increase capacity building. Investors interested in contributing to the PGIO must apply to the Board of Governors to be designated as a Public Good Investor. An applicant must contribute US$175,000 to qualify for the PGIO, excluding applicable due diligence, processing, and government fees.
Fee Schedule Changes
The CIU has also established a new fee schedule for application-related services. Non-fast-track applications under the real estate, private home sale, and public good investment options will be subject to the following government fees beginning 2023:
- USD 25,000 for the main applicant
- USD 15,000 for the spouse
- USD 10,000 for each dependent child or qualified dependent under the age of 18
- USD 15,000 for each dependent child over the age of 18 or qualified dependent
The following fees will apply to fast-track applications:
- Main applicant: USD 42,500
- Spouse: USD 32,500
- Each dependent child or other qualified dependent under 18: USD 22,500
- Each dependent child aged 18 or above or qualified dependent: USD 32,500
The following fees will apply for the addition of new family members to an already-approved application (in the case of non-accelerated applications):
- Addition of a spouse: USD 20,000
- Addition of a minor born after approval-in-principle but before citizenship is granted: USD 10,000
Meanwhile, the following fees apply to accelerated applications:
- USD 37,500 for the addition of a spouse or other qualified dependent
- USD 22,500 for the addition of a minor born after the main applicant’s approval-in-principle but before citizenship is granted
Conclusion: Saint Kitts & Nevis CBI Program Changes
Overall, the changes to the CBI program in Saint Kitts and Nevis are a reflection of the government’s commitment to continuously improving and ensuring that the program meets the needs of investors and the country as a whole. The proposed changes are expected to be implemented in 2023 and will likely have a significant impact on the CBI market in the region.