A new citizenship-by-investment programme was launched by the Caribbean island Saint Lucia, opening for applications on 1 January, 2016.
With only 500 applications to be accepted, those interested should prepare their files now.
A citizenship-by-investment is a programme enabling wealthy individuals to obtain citizenship in a country in return for a minimum investment in the local economy. The investor does not necessarily have to live in the country, but gains the benefits of a second or new passport.
The passport of Saint Lucia is interesting because it allows visa-free travel to 105 countries, among which the Schengen countries.
Although the US and Canada are not on the list, the passport is still considered to be of relative strength and ranked 45, according to Arton Capital’s Passport Power Index.
A minimum non-refundable investment of $300,000 (Dh1,1 million) should be made in either the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund, an approved real estate project, an approved enterprise project or the purchase of government bonds.
In addition, the applicant must be able to demonstrate a net worth of $3 million (Dh11 million).
Application fees should be counted as well, and are approximately $168,500 (Dh619,000) for a family of four.
The investment amount is slightly higher than that of other citizenship-by-investment programmes in the Caribbean, where the required amount ranges between $100,000 and to $250,000.
That being said, the investment is relatively cheap on the global level, as the Caribbean holds some of the cheapest programmes in the world and maintains its reputation as the region where citizenship can most easily be acquired.
What makes the programme competitive though, is the minimum net worth of the investor of no less than $3 million. This condition being a unique requirement in the region, it indicates the country is looking to attract wealthy investors.
Eligible applicant will be able to sponsor dependent children and spouse for the same investment amount, although application fees will be added.
The applicant is not required to live on the island.
However, the application cap of 500 is unusual in the region and will place an additional burden on applicants to prepare their files and submit their application in a timely matter.
The announcement of the new programme, made at the 3rd edition of the Global Citizen Forum hosted in Monaco, was received with enthusiasm by industry leaders.
“This is a ground-breaking announcement for all global citizens and of course for the country of Saint Lucia,” said Armand Arton, CEO and Founder of Arton Capital.
“The announcement will allow high net worth individuals to access several benefits, such as visa free international travel to a large number of countries, increased security and flexibility while traveling, and it will act as an insurance in times of political or economic disorder elsewhere.”
“It will bring great benefits to Saint Lucia’s economy, with international investments set to increase dramatically, which will contribute greatly to the country’s national development.