Industry News

The World’s Oldest CBI Program Undergoes Major Reforms

The World’s Oldest CBI Program Undergoes Major Reforms

Pioneering investment migration since the inception of its CBI Program in 1984, St. Kitts and Nevis has introduced sweeping reforms to maintain its position at the forefront of the industry.

A Step Towards Enhanced Integrity

St. Kitts and Nevis’ CBI Program has been a strong driving force behind the country’s growth, allowing the nation to thrive independently, while also giving individuals access to previously unimagined global opportunities through its citizenship. Recognizing its impact on both the national and international stage, the government has decided to further refine the terms of the program, adopting a robust regulatory system designed to preserve the privileged status of becoming a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Updated Investment Options

In a press release issued on July 26th, 2023, the Citizenship by Investment Unit announced updated investment options, with an increase in minimum contributions aimed at attracting authentic foreign direct investment. The Sustainable Island State Contribution has been introduced, which replaces the Sustainable Growth Fund, effectively ending the limited time offer of the SGF. Starting at US$250,000, the SISC represents a twofold increase in the previous minimum contribution amount of US$125,000.

Investors will also now have to invest the full US$400,000 in the Developer’s Real Estate Option to qualify, where two investors making a combined investment of US$200,000 is no longer applicable. The property must be held for a period of 7 years and can be resold once to another citizenship by investment applicant.

To qualify through the Approved Private Home Option, applicants can invest in US$400,000 in a condominium, or US$800,000 in a single-family dwelling. The private home must also be held for 7 years and cannot be sold to another Citizenship by Investment applicant unless substantial further investment was injected into the real estate. Furthermore, the minimum contribution for the Approved Public Benefit Option has now risen to US$250,000 from US$175,000.

Transitioning from Previous Investment Options

For all previous options – including each category of the Alternative Investment Option, and the Real Estate Option – applicants will be subject to post-approval-in-principle application fees, which they will have to pay within 90 days upon receiving approval-in-principle from the CIU. The complete breakdown of the fees is as follows:

Alternative Investment Option

For an investment of US$200,000 in a Private Approved Project:
• Main applicant: US$50,000
• Spouse: US$25,000
• Each dependant under 18: US$10,000
• Each dependant aged 18 or over: US$50,000

For an investment of US$175,000 in a Public Approved Project:
• Main applicant: US$20,000
• Spouse: US$10,000
• Each dependant (regardless of age): US$10,000

Real Estate Option

• Main applicant: US$50,000
• Spouse: US$25,000
• Each dependant under 18: US$10,000
• Each dependant aged 18 or over: US$50,000

Before Certificates of Registration can be issued to applicants, the developers of each of the above options must prove that they have received the required investment from the applicant.

Changes to Due Diligence, Dependents, and Issuance of Certificates of Registration

Due diligence fees have now been increased, costing US$10,000 for the main applicant, and US$7,500 for each dependent aged 16 years and over. For every main applicant in process and those who have not received their Certificate of Registration, mandatory interviews will also be conducted; dependents aged 16 and over may also be subject to interviews if determined to be necessary. The costs for mandatory interviews will be included in the increased due diligence fees. This will help facilitate a stronger foundational bond with investors, leading to a better understanding and greater trust between the CIU and investors.

Additionally, all background due diligence checks and interviews will be commissioned by the CIU and will be conducted by independent professional firms from the United Kingdom, USA and Europe.

Further changes pertain to dependents, whereby siblings and grandparents no longer qualify, and parents must now be 65 years or older.

Upon approval of the application, finalization of all processes and due diligence checks and completion of investment, a Certificate of Registration will be issued to the main applicant, which must be collected in person in St. Kitts and Nevis or at an Embassy or Consulate specified by the Citizenship by Investment Unit.

These changes, which became effective on the noon of July 26th, 2023, not only aim to position St. Kitts and Nevis as a compelling market for investment, but also reinforce the country’s commitment to the utmost level of integrity in its provision of citizenship. In doing so, will St. Kitts and Nevis reinvent itself and set a new precedent for the Citizenship by Investment industry?