St. Kitts & Nevis is open for business to Nigerians
Mr. Les Khan, Chief Executive of the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Unit
Dream of walking in Princess Diana’s shoes and holidaying in a slice of Caribbean paradise? Look no further than St. Kitts and Nevis. It might be the smallest nation in the Western Hemisphere, but it certainly has a lot to offer to Nigerians, and not just for holidaymakers. If you’re looking for both lifestyle and business opportunities that transcend borders, investing in second citizenship of the twin-island nation could be your tailored solution.
While lockdowns and travel limitations continue to keep us safe, the ongoing pandemic has reminded us that in today’s uncertain world, people want the ability to travel the globe on their own terms with flexibility. This demand for international opportunity has led to a surge in applications for the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme, the oldest and most established programme for economic citizenship in the world. People from across the African continent – including many Nigerians – have been quick to seize the benefits of second citizenship offered through this programme, taking advantage of the profitable investments in prime Caribbean real estate which qualify them for citizenship, and leveraging their new passport to access a multitude of new opportunities.
Indeed, in addition to the business advantages that can be accessed through citizenship, many Nigerians have chosen to enjoy the lifestyle benefits on offer, for example using their enhanced passport power to provide international education opportunities to their children. Because contrary to most African countries which are considered to have a low passport power, the St. Kitts and Nevis passport ranks 25th in the world with visa-free access to 157 countries globally, according to the 2020 Henley & Partners Passport Index. 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. Indeed, it recognized the country as one of the best for travel or residence and for passport power, and the programme itself for its thorough due diligence procedures and accelerated applications timeline.
The route to citizenship in St. Kitts and Nevis can be achieved through either investment in a pre-approved luxurious real estate project or through a donation to the country’s Sustainable Growth Fund, and takes approximately two to four months. The real estate investment may include hotel shares, villas, and condominium units, and the minimum investment is USD 200,000 (resalable after seven years) or USD 400,000 (resalable after five years). Alternatively, applicants can invest in the twin-island Federation’s Sustainable Growth Fund through a contribution of $150,000 for a single applicant. And if this wasn’t enough, until 15 January 2021 applicants can take advantage of a limited time offer available through this Fund, with citizenship offered at the substantially discounted rate of $150,000 for a family of four (two adults and two children), down from $195,000.
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 IMF, 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 of 3.5%. But as a popular tourism destination, we rely heavily on a source of income which has been almost at a complete standstill during the pandemic, up until the safe reopening of our islands to international tourists in October. Despite this, our borders have remained open to St. Kitts and Nevis passport holders, regardless of residency. Indeed, many SKN passport holders were able to ride out the pandemic in our idyllic and safe islands.
Safe, because St. Kitts and Nevis was the last country in the Americas to confirm its first Coronavirus case, and to date has seen just a mere 30 people contract mild forms of the disease, with zero cases requiring hospitalization and zero fatalities. Our country has been lauded for its successful management of the pandemic, where early implementation of our government’s “Life First” strategy put the safety of our citizens first. So Nigerians who want to apply for a second passport and visit St. Kitts and Nevis can be assured that they are travelling to a country where citizens and their health and safety is of the utmost priority.
Both Nigeria and St. Kitts and Nevis are prosperous nations with much to gain from collaboration with each other, and the opportunity for Nigerians to do business abroad through the stronger St. Kitts and Nevis passport can result in win-win opportunities and partnerships on both sides. Providing visa-free access to over 150 countries, we can also open doors to attractive lifestyle opportunities for our economic citizens, but for those who want to do so at our significantly discounted rate, the clock is ticking. What are you waiting for?