The Caribbean Island Nations are well-known for their beautiful scenery and climate, laid-back lifestyle, and friendly locals. They are also home to some of the most attractive and affordable Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs.
St. Kitts & Nevis was the first country to popularise the idea of “buying” a second passport. In exchange for an investment and/or donation, one is able to easily obtain second citizenship without all the fuss of a drawn-out naturalisation process. Since then, many other nations have followed in their footsteps, with most of them being in the Caribbean. These include countries like Dominica, Grenada, and most recently, St. Lucia.
St. Lucia is the newest kid on the block which is offering citizenship by investment in the Caribbean. The St Lucia government launched the citizenship program in December 2015, based on their newly formed Citizenship by Investment Act (Act No. 14 of 2015). The St. Lucia program has quickly become arguably the most attractive and well-structured Citizenship by Investment Program in the Caribbean, and indeed one of the best in the world.
In this article, we will explore the reasons why St. Lucia’s CBI program has an edge over the rest, the benefits to obtaining St. Lucia citizenship, as well as the requirements and application process.
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As the newest Citizenship by Investment program in the Caribbean, St. Lucia was able to learn from the successes and shortfalls of their neighbours so as to design a world-class program. The benefits of choosing St. Lucia as the place to acquire second citizenship can be broken down into two main areas: firstly, the superiority of the actual CBI program itself and, secondly, the advantages of having a St. Lucian passport.
The main benefits of the St. Lucia Citizenship by Investment program include:
The additional contribution amount for each dependent varies, but are generally quite low.
Then there are the many great advantages of having a St. Lucian passport, which include:
The St. Lucia CBI program is simple and straightforward, and anyone who meets the minimum requirements can easily qualify for citizenship and obtain their second passport within 3 – 4 months.
Before looking at the qualifying investment options to obtain St. Lucia citizenship, there are some basic requirements that every applicant must meet:
St. Lucia offers four primary investment options to qualify for a passport through their CBI program.
This is by far the most popular investment option to qualify for St. Lucian citizenship. It involves making a once-off, non-refundable donation to the St. Lucia National Economic Fund of at least $100,000 for a single applicant. The contribution amounts have recently been reduced since the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in the hope to encourage continued participation the program. A full break-down of the up-to-date required contribution amounts are as follows:
The following processing and administration fees also apply:
This effectively brings the total cost to $109,500 for a single applicant, $155,500 for a couple, and $177,500 for a family of four with two children over the age of 16.
The contribution to the NEF is the cheapest and simplest of all the options available, but take note that it is really a donation (not an investment) which means you won’t get the money back at any point.
Like most CBI programs, St. Lucia also offers a real estate investment alternative. This involves purchasing a property for at least $300,000 from a list of pre-approved properties. In addition to the cost of the property, the applicant will have to pay for property registration, processing fees, and any taxes which arise.
The property must be held for at least five years, after which it can be sold and the capital recouped. While the fact that you will be able to get your initial investment back may make this option sound attractive, bear in mind that the properties from the pre-approved list are very often overvalued, and you will also incur the additional costs mentioned above. This means you could very well end up incurring a loss.
The third option involves an investment in a five-year St. Lucia government bond. The standard investment amounts are as follows:
There is an additional administration fee of $50,000 which is non-refundable. So effectively the government bond option can be thought of as a discounted $50,000 donation (compared to the higher NEF donation), along with the requirement to tie up a large amount of capital for five years, which will eventually be returned. This could make it ideal for much wealthier applicants who have some additional capital that they are not planning to invest elsewhere.
For a limited time only, St. Lucia is also offering a discounted bond investment option through their COVID Relief Bond. This is available until 31 December 2021 and involves a discounted:
The final option is the most interesting as well as the most expensive. It has been created so as to encourage foreign investment in important community and infrastructure projects, as well as to create jobs in the process. It involves a minimum investment of $3.5 million in a government-approved enterprise project which are all listed on their official website. It is also possible to share the investment with partners, in which case each partner must invest a minimum of $1 million dollars with the total being at least $6 million.
The range of project categories is quite diverse, including specialty restaurants, cruise ports, pharmaceuticals, agro-processing plants, bridges, roads and highways, research institutions, and offshore universities.
In addition to the minimum investment amount, the following fees apply:
The entire application process is extremely simple and efficient. It generally takes no longer than 4 months, and usually as little as 3 months. It involves the following steps:
Anyone who is searching for the best Citizenship by Investment programs out there would do well to seriously consider St. Lucia. The program ticks all the boxes of even the most prestigious CBI programs, at a fraction of the cost. The program might be fairly young without the extensive and proven history of old favourites like St. Kitts & Nevis, but it is clear that they have managed to offer some unique value and learn from the mistakes and successes of their competitors.
Furthermore, due to the recent global upheavals, acquiring second citizenship in St. Lucia is now cheaper than ever. These attractive discounts won’t last forever, and so it is well worth acting swiftly and taking advantage of the current circumstances.
If you are unsure whether St. Lucia is the best CBI program to suit your particular needs and preferences, it is always worth seeking the help of an expert who can advise you on the best options for you, as well as draw your attention to the alternatives which exist.
For more information:
Why You Need A Plan B
Threats to Your Assets
Global Diversification Planning