Saint Lucia recently became the fifth Caribbean country to launch a Citizenship By Investment Program joining Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada and St Kitts & Nevis. Initially announced by the Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr. Kenny D. Anthony at the Global Citizen Forum in Monaco last October after a successful feasibility study, the St Lucia Citizenship By Investment Program was officially launched at a cocktail reception at the Bay Gardens Beach Resort on December 29th, 2015. The program officially started accepting applications on January 1st, 2016.
Highlights of the St Lucia Citizenship By Investment Program include:
* Processing of applications within three months
* Ability to apply for dependent children and parents are mentally or physically challenged
* Ability to apply for dependent parents 65 years and older who are living with the applicant.
* No need to travel to St Lucia during the application process
* No need for face to face interview, education or managerial experience required
* No requirement to live in Saint Lucia
* Visa-free travel to 125 countries/territories
* No tax on worldwide income.
With these benefits, those wishing to secure a second passport through the St Lucia Citizenship By Investment Program for greater flexibility and movement across the globe must be at least 18 years of age, have no criminal record, and be in good health. The net worth requirement of US$3,000,000 was eliminated 1/1/2017. They must also meet the investment criteria for one of the four investment platforms. This includes:
Option 1: Saint Lucia National Economic Fund
* For a single applicant:
US$200,000 reduced to US$100,000 effective 1/1/2017
* For a couple with no dependents:
US$235,000 reduced to US$165,000 effective 1/1/2017
* For a couple with up to 2 dependents:
US$250,000 reduced to US$190,000 effective 1/1/2017
* For additional dependents: US$25,000 each
Option 2: Government Bonds
* For a single applicant: US$500,000
* For a couple with no dependents: US$535,000
* For a couple with up to 3 dependents: US$550,000
* For additional dependents: US$25,000 each
* Under the program, all government bonds need to be held for five years.
Option 3: An Approved Real Estate Development
* US$300,000 minimum investment
* Plus additional fees for property registration, processing, and taxes.
* Under the program, the real estate/property will need to be owned and maintained for a minimum of five years.
Option 4: An Approved Enterprise Project
* US$3,500,000 minimum investment that creates, at least, three jobs.
* For two applicants, the minimum investment is US$6,000,000 creating, at least, six jobs.
Beyond providing evidence that they meet the investment criteria, applicants and their dependents over 16 years old have to pass a thorough background check by one or more of the three firms under contract to provide this service. Contracted to conduct the due diligence checks for the St Lucia Citizenship By Investment Program are Thomson Reuters, BDO Consulting, and IPSA International, who are randomly assigned files depending on an applicant’s country or region of origin. For complicated financial due diligence cases, Wealth-X a global authority on wealth intelligence will also be used.
For processing the application and due diligence checks through an authorized agent, there are further fees for the applicants. Specifically:
1. Non-Refundable Processing Fees:
* Single applicant: US$2,000
* Each qualifying dependent: US$1,000
2a. Non-Refundable Administration Fees – Real estate or Enterprise Project Investment:
* Single applicant: US$50,000
* Each qualifying dependent 18 years and over: US$35,000
* Each qualifying dependent under 18 years: US$25,000
2b. Non-Refundable Administration Fees – Government Bond:
* Per-application: US$50,000
3. Due Diligence Fees:
* Single applicant: US$7,500
* Each qualifying dependent over 16 years of age: US$5,000
With these figures, it is evident that the St Lucia Citizenship By Investment Program has chosen not to compete on price with the other 4 Caribbean Citizenship By Investment Programs. Here Saint Lucia is going after a more exclusive clientele for their Citizenship By Investment Program as the focus is on developing the island through increased Foreign Direct Investment. Thus, the investment opportunities available under the program are significant and so better suited to the super-rich. Each investment opportunity under the 4 platforms are carefully scrutinized before being added to the approved list by the cabinet. Also, per the Citizenship by Investment Bill 2015 which gave approval for the program, only 500 applicants will be accepted each year! The goal here is to maintain the exclusiveness of the St Lucia Citizenship By Investment Program and also keep nationals on side who don’t want the government to do anything to endanger national security or jeopardize their visa-free travel to more than 125 countries including the 26 European Union countries in the Schengen Zone, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong.
Top photo – Marigot Bay, Saint Lucia. Photo Credit: ©Saint Lucia Tourist Board.