CBI Spotlight: St. Lucia
The Basics on St. Lucia's Citizenship by Investment Program.
Note: For information purposes only. Not intended as personalized advice of any sort. Please consult a qualified professional.
"Having a second passport is… the ultimate insurance policy… [ensuring] that, no matter what, you always have a place to go - to live,work, do business, retire, and in some cases, even seek refuge. That way, when things go bad, you can take yourself and your family out of harm’s way… [and] the more options you have for you and your family, the more freedom you will experience." -Simon Black, Founder of Sovereign Man
"Certain governments are willing to grant you citizenship and a passport in as little as three months in exchange for a sizable investment or donation in their country." -Andrew Henderson, Founder of Nomad Capitalist
Our focus today is on one of the newest Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs: St. Lucia.
Located between Martinique to the North, and St. Vincent & The Grenadines and Barbados to the South, St. Lucia is an island nation in the Caribbean with "with a population of just under 200,000 people," and has direct flights available from "Miami, Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, and Toronto," as well as London and Frankfurt, according to Nomad Capitalist's Jovana Vojinovic.
Being an independent British commonwealth nation, St. Lucia’s official language is English (the lingua franca of international business), and its legal system is rooted in English common law.
The island enjoys a constant tropical climate, but Vojinovic notes that "hurricanes hit the island periodically and can sometimes be devastating." This is worth keeping in mind, if you decide to set up a residence there.
Still, the quality of life is and standard of living are high. There’s "virtually no traffic," Vojinovic says, "the crime rates are very low and there is access to modern healthcare and infrastructure. As an added bonus, there are a few top restaurants that cater to St. Lucia’s discerning populace." The island’s twin Piton Mountains are national landmarks, as well a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and "there is also a drive-in volcano, rainforests, national parks, botanical gardens and, of course, the beaches." The beauty of St. Lucia’s beaches are said to rival that of the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands.
St. Lucia's economy is described as "one of the top performers in the region," with a GDP of approximately USD $2 billion. However, it is heavily "reliant on just a few major industries," namely banana farming and tourism. That's a problem, Vojinovic explains, because "banana production is on a terminal decline due to the competition from Latin American countries that have substantially lower production costs." St. Lucia is attempting to remedy this by encouraging farmers to produce a more diverse variety of crops, in order to ensure that "agriculture remains a substantial part of the country’s GDP."
Meanwhile, "tourism and its related services make up for 82% of the St. Lucian GDP," writes Vojinovic, with close to 1 million tourists visiting every year, and St. Lucia is "one of the top destinations for opulent weddings and swanky honeymoons."
Unemployment is an issue for St. Lucia, much like other neighboring countries in the Caribbean, driven by "lack of economic activity [and] foreign investment," according to Vojinovic. The rate of unemployment is over 20%, and "with a median age of 34.5... a lot of young people" receive state support, despite being a "highly educated and skilled" population. Hence, the need for a Citizenship by Investment program to attract foreign capital investment, and the St. Lucian government launched just such a program in 2016.
There are many benefits to St. Lucian citizenship. Henley & Partners reports that "A St. Lucian passport provides visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 146 destinations including Europe’s Schengen Area, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK, and many others." Nomad Capitalist's Jovana Vojinovic writes that "there won’t be an interview to obtain the passport, nor are there any tests that need to be taken... You can fill out all of your paperwork remotely and obtain your passport remotely too." There's also no requirement for residency, and "there is no income tax for revenue derived from abroad, no inheritance and no wealth taxes, either."
The team at Far Horizon Capital note that St. Lucia subjects its citizens to residency-based taxation, meaning that individuals must "have their permanent place of residence within the country," or "be in St. Lucia 183 days or more in the tax year" to be subject to income taxes (It is important to point out that there is no residency requirement with St. Lucia’s CBI Program). The highest personal income tax rate in St. Lucia is 30%, the Value-Added Tax is 15%, and corporate taxes for St. Lucian companies are 30%. Since St. Lucia "does not have Controlled Foreign Companies (CFC) Rules... income retained in a foreign entity owned by a tax-resident may not be subject to taxation."
What makes St. Lucia's CBI program different from others is the price and the options available to investors. "The total investment, including all fees, for a single person applying is [as little as] $109,500," says Nomad Capitalist's Jovana Vojinovic, making it the cheapest of all programs. As for the options, investors can pick from four, compared to the usual one or two:
Donation to the National Economic Fund (NEF): Single applicants can make a one-time, non-refundable donation of USD $100,000 to St. Lucia's National Economic Fund. Applicants with spouses must donate USD $140,000, while applicants with a spouse and up to two other qualifying dependents must donate USD $150,000. Each additional qualifying dependent of any age is an additional USD $25,000, and each qualifying dependent in addition to a family of four (including a spouse) is USD $15,000. Processing fees are USD $2,000 for the main applicant and USD $1,000 per dependent. Due diligence fees are USD $7,500 for the main applicant, and USD $5,000 for each dependent ages 16 and up.
Real Estate Investment: You must purchase real estate from a government-approved list of properties or projects, with a minimum worth of USD $300,000, and must be held for at least five years. In addition, you will have to pay a non-refundable administration fee of USD $30,000 for a single applicant, USD $45,000 for married couples, USD $10,000 for each qualifying dependent at least 18 years of age, USD $5,000 for each qualifying applicant under the age of 18, and USD $10,000 for an married couples with more than four dependents. There are also due diligence fees to be paid, in the amount of USD $7,500 for the main applicant, and USD $5,000 for each qualifying dependent age 16 and up.
Government Bonds: An applicant can also choose to invest in St. Lucian Government Bonds. The program website says "the bonds are non-interest bearing, and must be registered and remain in the name of the applicant for a five-year holding period from the date of first issue." Single applicants must purchase a minimum of USD $500,000 in bonds, USD $535,000 minimum for married couples, USD $550,000 for married couples and two qualifying dependents, and additional qualifying applicants are USD $25,000 each. A non-refundable administration fee of USD $30,000 is required, as well as due diligence fees of USD $7,500 for the main applicant and USD $5,000 per qualifying dependent age 16 and up. Non-refundable processing fees are USD $2,000 for the main applicant and USD $1,000 for each qualifying dependent.
Enterprise Investment: The most expensive option involves investing in businesses and infrastructure on the island from a government-approved list. Single applicants must invest a minimum USD $3.5 million, plus a non-refundable administration fee of USD $50,000. Joint ventures of more than one applicant require a USD $6 million minimum total investment, and all partners must contribute at least USD $1 million to reach that minimum total, plus pay the USD $50,000 administration fee. There are also administration fees for qualifying dependents of USD $35,000 (at least 18 years of age) or USD $25,000 (under 18 years of age). Due diligence fees are USD $7,500 for the main applicant, and USD $5,000 per qualifying dependent at least 16 years of age. Finally, there are non-refundable processing fees of USD $2,000 for the main applicant, and USD $1,000 per qualifying applicant.
If you believe that St. Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment is a good fit for you, then you should check your eligibility before beginning the application process. You must be at least 18 years old to apply, have no issues with your character that might be a source of national embarrassment or scandal for St. Lucia (the government has actually revoked six of these CBI citizenships due to the actions of these individuals), possess no criminal record, be in good health, and not represent any sort of potential security risk.
Here’s how the process works:
Select an Authorized Agent, and submit your completed application and assembled documentation to your Authorized Agent.
Your Authorized Agent will submit your application and documentation to the St. Lucian government on your behalf.
The St. Lucian government will verify your application and documentation, as well perform their due diligence over the next 60-90 days.
Upon approval, you will receive an official letter notifying you of said approval. You must pay the full investment amount within 90 days of the letter’s issuance.
A Certificate of Registration will be issued to you. You may take the St. Lucia Oath of Allegiance before an attorney or notary public.
Your St. Lucian passport will be issued and mailed to you.
At Escape From The West, we believe that obtaining a second citizenship and passport is an important part of any Escape Plan. Once you have that, along with a residence outside the West, you can be in a position to seriously consider renouncing your U.S. or other Western Citizenship, and enjoy true freedom and prosperity.
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