From January 2016, the government of St Lucia began accepting applications from foreign nationals to join their 'Citizenship by Investment' programme, opening up exciting possibilities and incentives to those considering business opportunities, relocation, or investment in the development of luxury property in St Lucia. |
What is Citizenship by Investment?
As would be expected from its name, the programme allows foreign nationals to obtain citizenship of the country through substantial investment.
There are some basic requirements for the Citizenship by Investment programme applicants:
• You must be over 18 (dependents can be applied for) • You must not have a criminal record in any country • You must be in good health • You must have a minimum net worth of USD$3 million • You must meet the specific 'investment criteria' • You have to pass an extensive background check – including due diligence on global wealth intelligence
What Are the Investment Criteria?
There are four different platforms upon which a candidate can apply for Citizenship by Investment.
Approved enterprise: An approved enterprise project that includes the creation of a minimum of three jobs and the investment of at least USD$3.5 million. (These figures are per applicant, meaning that for two applicants in the enterprise the investment must be USD$6 million with the creation of six jobs.)
Government bonds: Through the purchase of government bonds, which must be held for a period of five years. For a single applicant the figure is USD$500,000; for a couple with no dependents USD$535,000; and for a couple with three dependents USD$550,000. Any further dependents are an extra USD$25,000 each.
Real estate development: An approved development of property in St Lucia, of which ownership and maintenance must be held for at least five years. A minimum investment of USD$300,000 is required, not including the costs of taxes, processing and registration incurred by the development.
The National Economic Fund: Payment to the St Lucia National Economic Fund. Single applicants USD$200,000; a couple with no dependents USD$235,000; couple with three dependents USD$250,000. Any further dependents are USD$25,000 per person.
The Attractions of Applying
Following the success of similar programmes in four other Caribbean nations (Grenada, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, and St Kitts & Nevis) there are a number of attractions of applying.
• Applications are processed within a short timeframe – usually three months • Tax benefits on income earned worldwide • No face to face interviews or requirement to be in the country to make the application • No education prerequisites • Allowance to apply for dependents – including children and parents • Allowance for mentally or physically challenged dependents • Residence not required to maintain citizenship • Once citizenship granted, no visa is required for travel to 125 countries and territories (including the European Union, Hong Kong and the UK)
Registration Costs of Application
As well as the basic fiscal requirements, applications attract a number of non-refundable due diligence, administration and processing fees.
Single applicant: Processing USD$2,000, administration USD$50,000, due diligence fee USD$7,500
Per dependent: Processing fee USD$1,000, administration USD$35,000 (under 18 USD$25,000), due diligence (over 16 years) USD$5,000.
While the St Lucian Citizenship by Investment programme offers an appealing platform to gain citizenship, the government's aim is to inject foreign capital into the country's economy, so it is geared towards the more financially well-off investors. Nonetheless, for those considering the purchase of luxury property in St Lucia and in a position to apply for one of the 500 annual acceptances, the mutually beneficial arrangement is seen as a key marker for positive growth, elevating the island nation's position on the global stage.
Adam Gobat is a renowned expert on the Caribbean, with a passion for its culture, history, people and places. His indepth local knowledge and wealth of experience in luxury property in St Lucia, are key to the marketing and sales of the luxury villas and penthouses in The Landings, one of the most desirable freehold beachfront developments in the Caribbean.
Related Articles -
Property, in, St, Lucia,