St Kitts and Nevis’ newly appointed Head of the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU), Mr Micheal Martin, announced a comprehensive list of changes to the Caribbean country’s popular Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP).
Mr Martin’s first official address to the public came less than two weeks after his appointment as the Head of the CIU. In it, he highlighted the importance of the CIP to the country’s socioeconomic development and the steps the St Kitts and Nevis Government are taking to better their programme for both the country and prospective applicants, saying: “Since August, the Government has interrogated the legal aspects of the CIP as it currently stands and has taken concrete steps to update and enhance certain aspects of the government legislation to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of an intelligent investment minded person looking for an enriching base for their families and their businesses.”
Mr Martin stated that the St Kitts and Nevis Government had considered the feedback of local and international stakeholders before introducing the changes to its CIP and that it will continue to do so in the future.
He also informed the public that the Government would be elevating its oversight of the CIP through a specialised board that will ensure efficient and quick processing of applications. The Government will also introduce a new CBI Technical Committee that he will head. The committee’s job will be to guarantee that due diligence processes are completed comprehensively and effectively to maintain the safety of all St Kitts and Nevis citizens as well as the integrity of the programme.
Mr Martin outlined the specifics of the investment category changes, starting with the introduction of a Limited Time Offer (LTO) under the programme’s Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF) donation option.
The LTO will reduce the minimum investment threshold for families of four or less by $25,000, and it will run from the 1st January 2023 to the 30th June 2023.
Under the LTO, the required SGF investments are:
Mr Martin also highlighted that the CIU would process applications filed under the LTO within sixty days.
He also stressed that the funds coming into the SGF would be used to enhance the livelihood of St Kitts and Nevis residents, as they will be invested into education, healthcare, infrastructure, tourism, and cultural projects throughout the nation.
The Government has maintained the real estate investment option and the minimum investment requirement of $200,000 remains unchanged.
The CIU Head continued by announcing that investors can sell their real estate investments after a seven-year holding period, but they can’t be sold to another Citizenship by Investment applicant.
He also highlighted further changes to the operational side of the real estate investment option, stating that developers will now have a limited number of units to sell and will have certain construction and completion milestones they will have to meet. The Government has introduced these new regulations to ensure that all real estate projects are completed on time.
Mr Martin also announced the reintroduction of the private homes investment option, under which applicants can buy approved private property for at least $400,000 to qualify for the CIP. Two applicants can co-own a property, but only if each of them invests at least $400,000 on their own. Similar to the real estate option, investors can resell the property after seven years, but it cannot be recycled for citizenship purposes.
Finally, St Kitts and Nevis will replace the relatively new Alternative Investment Option (AIO) with an Approved Public Good Project (PGP) that will have a minimum investment threshold of $175,000.
Real estate developers, as well as previous AIO developers who want to switch to the PGP option, must now re-apply for approval and have a window of 45 days to do so.
Mr Martin also went on to state that the minimum investment amount in each of these options will not include any fees or commissions of any sort within it and that any additional costs will be exclusive of the investment amount. This aims to ensure the completion of the projects within the allotted time frame.
He then disclosed the favourable changes regarding the government fees associated with real estate, private property, and PGP investment options. Starting on the 1st of January 2023, applicants under these three options will pay the reduced government fees as follows:
The Government will process applications under these routes within 90 days of submission. However, investors can still choose the Accelerated Application Process to get their applications approved in 60 days, but then the associated government fees will become as follows:
Applicants who obtain their pre-approval under these three investment categories will have 90 days to transfer their investments into an irrevocable escrow account meant to safeguard their money and ensure the process moves smoothly.
St Kitts and Nevis’ introduction of the LTO and its reduction of the government fees associated with the real estate investment option coupled with the reintroduction of the private homes option and the switch of AIO to the PGP, means that investors now have more choice when it comes to choosing their preferred investment option and that they can do so at a more affordable outlay.
However, LTO is time-sensitive until 30th June and interested investors should act quickly to ensure they take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.
To learn more about St Kitts and Nevis’ CIP and how to apply, don’t delay and contact us today.