St. Kitts Overhaul & Antigua Expectations

Written by
Patrick Peters, CPA, CA
Published on
Jul 31, 2023
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5 minutes

Patrick Peters, CPA, CA


On Thursday, July 27th, the Government of St. Kitts & Nevis announced a complete overhaul of their Citizenship by Investment Program. Changes are effective immediately and are directly in line with US, EU, and (presumably) UK requests. The main changes are as follow:

  • Cancellation of all previous investment options;
  • Significant increase in price: the contribution option now starts at $250,000 for a single applicant and real estate starts at $400,000 with a 7 year holding period;
  • Siblings and grand-parents are no longer eligible, and parents must be at least 65;
  • Mandatory interviews, in person or virtually, for the Principal Applicant and possibly for dependents above 16;
  • Certificate of Registration (and quite possibly passport) must now be collected in person on the island or in an embassy/consulate;
  • The Unit now gives itself up to 120 days to process an application; and more.

These are major changes and we still await a few clarifications so please stay tuned and contact us if you have any questions. We understand that this is an important and unexpected change for immigration practitioners and their clients, we are here to ease the transition.

What's Next?

Urgent Action 1: It is a reasonable expectation that Antigua & Barbuda will also increase its price and make changes to their program in the next 1-3 months. For that reason, if you are preparing any Antigua applications, you must submit them as soon as possible. If you have customers considering applying for a second citizenship and passport, please urge them to decide quickly.

Urgent Action 2: For St. Kitts CIP applications that were not submitted before July 27th, they are now subject to the new pricing and conditions effective immediately; there is ZERO transition period. You and your client must now decide whether to proceed or change to another program like Antigua. Please contact us to coordinate this efficiently.

UK & Schengen Visa Expectations:

On July 20, 2023, the UK cancelled visa-free access for Dominica and Vanuatu passport holders, among others. It was cited that the CIP of each country was the driving factor behind the decision. Let's make this clear: it is not expected that the same will happen to the remaining four Caribbean CIP nations (Antigua, Grenada, St. Kitts, St. Lucia). We cannot know this for certain, but it seems at this point that there was good reason to target only Dominica and Vanuatu and that the other four are safe.

Caribbean CIPs - Other Notes and Updates

February 25, 2023 - Caribbean CIPs meet with US officials and they agreed to 6 principles aiming to ensure high quality management of the programs and expressed the desire to implement the principles within 6 months. It is the hope that the US will advocate for the Caribbean CIPs with the EU.

June 6, 2023 - Canada announces visa-free access for Antigua and St. Kitts passport holders, and 11 other countries. To be eligible, the candidate must meet one of these conditions: Either A) have a current valid US visa or, B) have had a Canada visa in the last 10 years. To note: 3 of the 5 Caribbean CIP nations are on this list (Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Lucia), while the other two, Dominica and Grenada, are not.

July 20, 2023 - The United Kingdom cancels visa-free access to Vanuatu and Dominica passport holders based on their concerns about those two Citizenship by Investment Programs. When this news broke, it was also rumoured that the UK would cancel their visa-free treaty with other Caribbean CIP countries. At this point, this seems to have been only that - a rumour - and that the other countries will maintain UK visa-free access as long as some reforms are implemented.

July 27, 2023 - It was reported that the EU Parliament has given a strict set of conditions to the 5 Caribbean CIP nations who wish to keep visa-free access to the Schengen area. This means major changes are likely coming for all five Caribbean programs and may be seen as a positive step towards long-term sustainability of the industry.

Change Brings Opportunity

St. Kitts & Nevis has taken the first step and this now opens the door for the rest of the industry to follow suit.

For the CIP industry, it is extremely important that all stakeholders respect the very spirit of these programs: only individuals of good character making a significant economic contribution will have the privilege of being granted citizenship. Caribbean island states can effectively develop their economy thanks to these programs, and first-world nations will respect and support CIP as long as they are convinced that the programs are not a threat to their own national security.

Long term industry players understand this fact and it allows us to position ourselves for long term growth. We know it because this has been our approach for 25 years. Let's keep growing together.