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Diversification of passport portfolios is a worldwide growing trend. Many HNW individuals are looking around the globe for a “home” that will give them stronger passports and better tax treatment. St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister, Dr Timothy Harris, has announced on December 17th that Citizenship-By-Investment revenue for 2015 is expected to surpass the budget by a whopping 42.3%.
Dr. Harris made that declaration while delivering the coalition government’s first National Budget.
“By the end of 2015, we expect to realize a Recurrent Account Surplus of about $222.1 million, 16.4% above the estimate. The Surplus will be derived from the net of anticipated Recurrent Revenue of approximately $733.3 million and projected Recurrent Expenditure of $511.2 million,” the Prime Minister advised to the Parliament.
The Prime Minister made it clear that the government is committed to invest every effort and continue working on raising CBI program’s reputation and transparency.
The CBI Program of St. Kitts and Nevis was established in 1984 and remains as one of the most reputable and desired Program’s of its kind worldwide.
The St Kitts and Nevis government continues to work hard on expanding visa-free access to more countries and increasing the value of the country’s passport.
In 2015 Brazil granted St Kitts and Nevis nationals visa free travel and most recently on 12th January 2016 the Government of the R.O.C. Taiwan launched its e-Visa Program for nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis. Moreover the eVisa application fee has been waived for St Kitts & Nevis nationals.
Representatives of the Government indicated that advanced discussions relating to visa free travel are taking place with countries such as Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Russia and some African nations. The Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that “it is important for us to enhance the value and reputation of our national document which is our passport “.
Canada’s recently elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, spent ten days in the island Federation of St Kitts and Nevis vacationing with his family. After a ten-day holiday on Nevis at one of the islands exclusive boutique resorts, Trudeau shared that he had had a wonderful time in the Federation and will be back.
St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris said: “We are happy that of all the places he could have chosen, he chose St Kitts and Nevis as his destination of preference. It shows that St Kitts and Nevis is on the world map and when the discerning traveler wants to take a vacation, he or she chooses St Kitts and Nevis. It brings back fond memories of the long relationship that St Kitts and Nevis has enjoyed with Canada and we are hoping that history will rebound again to stronger bilateral relationship between our two countries and peoples.”
Harris added that his government is working with the Canadian government to restore the visa-free access to Canada for the citizens of St Kitts and Nevis, as a number of reforms have been undertaken to restore the integrity of the citizenship-by-investment program.
It is often said that diplomacy takes time, and perhaps, more patience is required by the citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis, as the government continues to reinstate the trust of the Canadian government in the coming months.
Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Citizenship by Investment Unit of Antigua & Barbuda, Thomas Anthony, has made a crucial announcement speaking at the second session of the inaugural Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) Summit last week.
Mr Anthony explained that citizenship is conditional only for the first five years. Investors who gain citizenship of Antigua & Barbuda through investment, will be allowed to pass on that citizenship to their children without charge after five years, once all requirements are fulfilled. The same applies for the addition of a new spouse. Previously adding dependents at a later date was not permitted in Antigua.
“The first passport is issued for five years with some conditions attached,” he said. “Once you would have met these conditions — such as owning the investment for five years, coming to Antigua, pledging the oath and keeping a clean criminal record, of course — then your new passport is issued for 10 years”. The citizen would then become a citizen with full citizenship rights.
Mr Anthony also indicated that the application approval rate is very high, only a small percentage of applications that come to the authorities are denied.
The statement was made by Antigua & Barbuda Government’s Chief Spokesman, Lionel Max Hurst, on Friday, January 22, 2015.
We are delighted to advise that this policy change allowed Iranians to submit their Citizenship by Investment application under the following conditions:
1. They have lived outside of Iran for more than 1 year prior to applying, regardless of the place of residence as long as it was legal and lawful.
2. Applicants must provide proof that their funds have originated outside of Iran and are of legal origin.
3. Have no involvement in United Nations’ sanctioned activities in industries such as gas and nuclear.
Additional due diligence requirements may apply, hence application processing may take slightly longer than the standard 3 months.
Previously the nationals of Iran were permitted to apply for Antiguan citizenship only if they were a permanent legal resident in Canada, USA, EU or UK.
If you would like to receive more information or assistance preparing your Citizenship by Investment application, please contact us today. One of our experienced citizenship experts would be pleased to assist you.
One more Caribbean nation has joined the Citizenship By Investment business. Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment Program was officially launched on Tuesday December 29, 2015. To date a total of 5 Caribbean island nations are offering their nationality in return for a substantial financial ivestment: St Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda, The Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada and now St Lucia.
Citizenship-by-Investment requirement in Saint Lucia can be fulfilled in one of the four ways:
1) By making a one-time donation of US$200,000 to the National Economic Fund (NEF). The donation is non-refundable.
2) By investing a minimum of USD$300,000 in approved real estate development. Real Estate can be sold after 5 years to any subsequent buyer for citizenship.
3) By investing at least USD$3,500,000 in approved enterprise project; or
4) By investing US$500,000 in non-interest-bearing Government Bonds. These bonds must be registered and remain in the name of the applicant for a 5 year holding.
The average application processing time is announced as three months.
Funds raised under NEF option will be used for funding government sponsored projects that will benefit the general public. The described Contributions qualify foreign nationals, subject to stringent due diligence checks, to apply for a full lifetime citizenship and a passport of Saint Lucia.
Benefits of St Lucian citizenship include Visa-free travel to more than 110 countries such as UK, European Schengen States, Hong Kong, Singapore, Iran and others. There is no residency requirement associated with the application process; dual citizenships are permitted; dependent family members are eligible for citizenship as well.
One of the Windward Islands, Saint Lucia is located in the middle of the Eastern Caribbean archipelago and is approximately 21 miles south of Martinique and 90 miles northwest of Barbados. The Island is approximately 238 sq. miles (616 sq. km), 27 miles long, 14 miles wide with a largely mountainous topography. The population is currently estimated at 172,570.
Corporate Solutions Ltd is in the process of testing the new program and will release further announcement on the progress.
Visitors are getting their appetite back for the Caribbean, which appears to be happening is despite an only modest improvement in the global economy. The World Bank forecasts Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2015-2016 for the Caribbean at 4.1% and 4.0% year over year respectively; as compared with 3.0% and 3.3% for the globe.
According to the 2015 Economic Impact Report made by the World Travel & Tourism Council, Travel & Tourism generated US$7.6 trillion (10% of global GDP) and 277 million jobs (1 in 11 jobs) for the global economy in 2014. Recent years have seen Travel & Tourism growing at a faster rate than both the wider economy and other significant sectors such as automotive, financial services and health care. Last year was no exception. International tourist arrivals also surged, reaching nearly 1.14billion and visitor spending more than matched that growth. Visitors from emerging economies now represent a 46% share of these international arrivals, proving the growth and increased opportunities for travel from those in these new markets.
Hotel performance continues to show gains in both rates and occupancy; while arrival statistics continues to rise as well. The Caribbean Tourism Association reports that the direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP was USD16.1bn (4.5% of total GDP) in 2014, and is forecast to rise by 3.0% in 2015, and to rise by 3.3% pa, from 2015-2025, to USD22.9bn (4.8% of total GDP) in 2025. The total contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP was USD51.9bn (14.6% of GDP) in 2014, and is forecast to rise by 2.9% in 2015, and to rise by 3.3% pa to USD73.6bn (15.4% of GDP) in 2025.
Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) in their recent state of the industry report showed that a total of 26.3m visitors chose the Caribbean for a land based vacation in 2014. This was a 5.2% increase over the 25m who travelled to the region the year before.
Over the past five to ten years there has been a dramatic growth in chain hotels across the region, in boutique hotels aimed at upscale visitors, and in the numbers of rooms available in condominiums, villas or apartments. Real estate associations are reporting increasing sales in most markets.
Well-established Citizenship by Investment programs in Antigua, Dominica, Grenada and St Kitts & Nevis plus a newly launched program in St Lucia targeted at high net worth individuals stimulating investment in resort and residential developments and generating interest from international property buyers.
More reputable investors are investing their assets into Caribbean Luxury Real Estate. In 2008 Charles “Buddy” Darby III has purchased 2,500 acres of land on the south end of St Kitts to establish a massive project of Christophe Harbour, which include luxury real estate, golf course and a world-class super yachts marina, transforming St Kitts & Nevis into the Eastern Caribbean’s next premier yachting destination. Marina is featuring 250 state-of-the-art berths – 50 of which will be able to accommodate the world’s largest superyachts up to 250′; top of the notch amenities; duty-free fuel; prime location in the heart of the Eastern Caribbean charter and cruising grounds with close proximity to neighbouring Antigua (55 miles), St. Barths (55 miles), St. Maarten (65 miles), and St.Thomas (175 miles).
Previously Darby has successfully developed luxury properties on South Carolina’s Kiawah Island and in Ireland (Doonbeg golf resort, now a Trump International property).
Another impressive announcement followed last week. During the recent Caribbean Citizenship Summit 2016, Eric Johnson, Director of Sales for the Four Seasons Resort Nevis, announced that Bill Gates has purchased the Resort and will make an additional $40 million in resort improvements after the acquisition. Bill Gates’ purchase in the region is clearly another powerful indicator to what is a clear trend of investment in the region.
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