2023 was the year of changes that affected the Caribbean citizenship-by-investment programs which are so popular with investors. The pressure of the USA, the EU, and the UK on the Caribbean states that offer economic citizenship made them change the rules of the game. And though the changes are not yet as critical as they could be, the tendency is obvious: you will have to jump through more administrative hoops (and pay more) to get a Caribbean passport.
Grenada and Dominica added a personal interview that all potential citizens will now have to take. St. Kitts and Nevis program will cost more. Antigua and Barbuda is considering complete termination of the program. What comes next? We don’t know for sure. However, if you want to get a Caribbean passport, you’d better hurry before it’s too late. Welcome to our portal to read a more detailed article on how to get a Caribbean citizenship under the new conditions!
We have specialists who closely monitor the situation on the market and are ready to help you with any aspect of obtaining economic citizenship. The initial session is free, and you are welcome to book it by following the above link and using our live chat. As the Caribbean authorities do not work directly with prospective citizens, you will need a licensed agent to handle your case, and we can help you undergo the procedure without much hassle.
What Brought About the Changes?
The modifications in the Caribbean programs in July and August were not introduced all of a sudden, and there were certain events in 2023 that predetermined them. Let’s take a look at these:
Agreement between the Caribbean countries and the USA
In March 2023, a meeting was held between the Caribbean Prime Ministers and US administration representatives. As a result, six new principles of issuing economic passports to foreigners were adopted (they say that the main reason was the US pressure). Let’s take a closer look at them:
- Exchange of information about rejected applications. It practically means that if you were turned down in one Caribbean country, it makes no sense to apply in another one: your application will not be approved.
- Interviews. Personal interviews are now mandatory (the good news is that they can be held via videoconferencing).
- More stringent controls. You will have to undergo stricter financial auditing and monitoring procedures.
- Programs will be audited. International experts have been appointed to audit all the Caribbean economic citizenship programs once a year (or two years).
- Canceled passport withdrawal. If the investor’s passport has been canceled, it will now be withdrawn by law enforcement authorities.
- No passports for the citizens of Russia and Belarus. The Russians and Belarussians cannot apply for Caribbean investor passports since March 31, 2023.
Visa to the UK Required
Dominican passport holders can no longer enjoy visa-free entry to the UK since July 19, 2023, as the UK authorities doubt the reliability of certain passports issued in Dominica.
This is not a sign of deteriorating relations between the two countries but just a security measure: the audit of the program showed several cases when passports were issued to persons who were denied a UK visa earlier, as well as some other infringements.
There is unofficial information about the intention of the EU authorities to request the Caribbean countries to take the following measures:
- Make due diligence procedures more stringent and entrust them to reputed international organizations based in the USA, UK, or EU.
- Carry out personal interviews with potential passport holders.
- Forbid the use of courier services to deliver passports. From now on, these will be collected in person (this can be done at the embassy or consulate for more convenience).
- Increase the amounts to be invested to 200,000 US dollars if this is a non-refundable donation and 400,000 US dollars for investments in real estate.
- Introduce more stringent financial controls (notably, AML/KYC procedures). The investor should transfer the money to the Government and not to the intermediary.
- Free entry to the EU should not be used in advertising materials to attract potential applicants.
As you see, the changes are too important to go unnoticed, and they are likely to bring about a lot of changes in the future.
St. Kitts and Nevis: Be Ready to Pay More
The local authorities published the new requirements on July 27, 2023. Let’s look at the most important ones:
- Early termination of the discount offered. The country offered a discounted opportunity to get a passport for a non-refundable donation of 125,000 US dollars (for a single applicant), and it was scheduled to last until January 31, 2024. Unfortunately, it is not available anymore.
- Non-refundable amount increased twice. While you could obtain a passport for 125,000 US dollars under the special offer, you will now have to pay 250,000 US dollars.
- Higher investments in real estate. You will have to buy a property that costs at least 400,000 US dollars, and you will have to keep it for 7 years before you can resell it.
- New requirements for investors in private homes. If you buy a one-family home, you will have to invest at least 800,000 US dollars and keep it for at least 7 years. You can resell it afterward to another potential citizen only if you made a considerable redesign that required investments.
- A higher contribution to community service projects. The investment amount changed from 175,000 to 250,000 US dollars.
- Mandatory interviews to be conducted on-site or via videoconferencing.
- The due diligence checks will now be conducted by specially appointed independent professional organizations based in the USA, UK, or EU.
- The citizenship certificate has to be collected personally – in St. Kitts and Nevis or at the local consulate/embassy.
- Promotional materials used to advertise the citizenship-by-investment program will no longer contain a promise of visa-free entry to the European Union as a competitive advantage.
The authorities are trying to present the changes as positive, but it is clear that they will make the program less attractive.
Please follow the above link to read about the changes to be introduced in the remaining Caribbean countries. Book a free session with our experts if you have any questions. If the new conditions of the Caribbean economic citizenship seem discouraging, we can offer other opportunities to you that you may find more attractive. There is always a way out!