On the surface, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a great equalizer. It swept across the world, sparing no continent, and has brought about mass disruption on a global scale. But depending on where you live, the level of deaths and infections have differed and directly impacted whether you are able to travel for business or pleasure.
For example, the U.S. passport is incredibly powerful, opening doors and opportunities across the globe. But as COVID-19 continues to run rampant over much of America, many business executives are looking at a second passport to open doors and bring new investment opportunities.
Citizen by Investment programs are one way of doing this. The St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program is the oldest and most established in the world, offering citizenship through a robust and efficient due diligence process. In September, the 2020 Citizenship by Investment Index Report, an offshoot of the UK’s prestigious Financial Times, ranked St. Kitts and Nevis in the top two CBI programs, recognizing it as one of the best countries for travel or residence, for its due diligence procedures, accelerated applications timeline, and passport power.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ CBI program offers citizenship to high-net-worth individuals and their families in a peaceful and prosperous part of the Caribbean, providing visa-free access to over 157 countries (some of which require U.S. passports to have an entry visa) including EU Member States and the UK. Established almost 40 years ago, the oldest CBI program in the world, it implements a strict due diligence process in full compliance with national legislation and international standards. The program also helps fund community-focused projects that drive economic growth for local people and investors and is a major driver of inward investment. Mostly importantly, there are no residency requirements, allowing people who are resident in the U.S. or other countries to obtain citizenship remotely, and there are also no income tax or wealth tax requirements.
Situated in the Eastern Caribbean, a short flight from many parts of the continental U.S., St. Kitts and Nevis is a dream destination with its beckoning white sands, turquoise waters, and tropical scenery. A stomping ground of the rich and famous, its five-star resorts and private villas attract celebrities and high-net-worth individuals who want to match unparalleled luxury with relative anonymity.
But beyond its beauty and tranquility, St. Kitts and Nevis also received international recognition for its successful management of the pandemic. Early implementation of the government’s “Life First” strategy—restricting lucrative cruise ship visits and stringent checks of commercial airline passengers, leading in some cases to quarantine or entry refusal, at a time when many countries were doing relatively little—led to St. Kitts and Nevis being the last country in the Americas to confirm its first coronavirus case. Just 30 people contracted mild forms of the disease as well as zero cases requiring hospitalization and zero fatalities.
For those considering a second passport for ease of global business and leisure travel, St. Kitts and Nevis offers two different tracks for acquiring citizenship: either a modest real estate investment or a contribution to the country’s Sustainable Growth Fund. A limited, six-month offer announced by Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris in July 2020 allows investors a significant reduction in the level of donations required to secure citizenship until mid-January 2021.
CBI programs create win-win partnerships for external investors and the local community. Investment from the CBI program is poured back into the islands and directly contributes to the economic and social development of the federation with its people directly feeling the impact. Indeed, the CBI program’s significant contribution to the local economy has elevated St. Kitts and Nevis to the fourth-highest GDP per capita in the Caribbean according to the International Monetary Fund, with the UN Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean stating before the onset of the pandemic that St. Kitts and Nevis had the strongest projected growth rate in the Eastern Caribbean, at 3.5%.
We are living in challenging times and agility and flexibility have never been more important. It takes a mere 60 days to become a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis following a robust due diligence process. Harness the power of a second passport and reap the benefits of attractive investment opportunities in an island paradise.