St Barts: A Quick Backdoor to a European Passport-by-Investment?

The times are challenging now to obtain a French passport by investment or in general EU citizenship to say the least. Even more so considering the previously active investment schemes providing for an opportunity to acquire a second passport by investment are either put on hold or come with a high investment threshold. Don’t forget that traditional naturalization options are now lengthy and fraught with high rejection risks.

On second thoughts, a French passport by investment and any other European onshore citizenship alike aren’t without their flaws and the latter may be significant. With its high-tax lifestyle, including, inter alia, a 45% personal income tax rate, a 26.5% corporate income tax rate, and a 20% sales tax rate France may give a scare to both natural persons and entities looking to either obtain a passport by investment therein or reduce their tax burden. Neither breathtaking Paris sights with the city’s romantic atmosphere, nor excellent wine and dining can make up for it.

St Barts

Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is a bliss although the one hard to spot. Monaco residence may become a possible alternative for some. A typical European offshore jurisdiction, Monaco boasts a tax-free lifestyle and you won’t have to pay taxes on most occasions. Don’t get overexcited, though, as Monaco is a highly expensive country and only high net worth people with sufficient legal incomes can afford living there.

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To avoid the barrier, tax experts oftentimes recommend Monaco tax residents use the scheme providing for real property purchase in France. On the face of it, the above opportunity to obtain EU citizenship is next to perfect. Not being a French tax resident, you don’t have to pay high French taxes. Instead, you enjoy life in your Parisian apartment while walking along the Champs Elysees and Montmartre and drinking white Bordeaux or Cabernet Sauvignon in the cozy Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole cafe on la Rue Chanoinesse.

In a hurry to pack your suitcases? You’d better stop, if so. The matter is, both French authorities and the country’s tax service are well aware of the like schemes. With aggressive tax optimization considered a hard-core offense in both France and the EU, it is most likely you will fail to save money on taxes and find yourself at the end of your rope instead. High-ranking celebrities made the mistake in the past and at International Wealth we do not recommend you follow suit.

The other fault is that your chances to acquire Monaco citizenship are next to zero under the above scheme. For it to become possible, you need to be EXTREMELY well-off, with all your income coming from legal sources. With Monaco residence in your bag, you still won’t be able to apply for citizenship in the Principality. It is only after a 15-year wait that you will be allowed to submit a citizenship application. Are you sure the long wait is something you are ready for and willing to accept?

Mind, the way out exists and it is perfectly legal. By following International Wealth recommendations you will manage to obtain a French passport by investment (i.e., an EU passport) within as little as 5 years. Should it happen, you won’t pay any taxes. Yep, you got it right, you will be able to enjoy a tax-free life in the EU (France, to be exact) and acquire French citizenship after a 5-year wait.

A golden key to open the door to a French passport by investment is Saint Barthélemy, or St Bart for short. The island in the Caribbean is an overseas collectivity of France. French citizens with a French passport are legally tax exempt therein. This brings multiple HNWIs to the island. With the island being a classic offshore jurisdiction, the best thing about it is that not only French citizens with a French passport enjoy the right to lead a tax-free life in St Barts. If EU citizenship is something you are or might be potentially interested in, the above option to obtain it is well worth considering.

St Barts and a French passport by investment

The British Caribbean islands are the number one choice for those seeking second citizenship and passport by investment opportunities to minimize their tax burden. Even though alternative options with the like parameters do exist. St Barts being not so popular with the general public comes as the jurisdiction’s distinct advantage.

With St Barts, you won’t be able to become a tax resident thereof in next to no time. For the first 5 years, you’ll be obliged to pay taxes either in France or in St Barts itself. This is the main difference between St Barts and classic offshore jurisdictions where you are lucky to enjoy tax benefits almost immediately.

France passport

Is it the jurisdiction’s fault? The answer depends on the asker’s viewpoint and their strategic goals and objectives. If a tax-free life is enough for you, the British Caribbean offshore jurisdictions make for a better choice. Yet those giving a French passport by investment (i.e., EU citizenship) priority over zero taxation, should go for St Barts.

For reasons mentioned above, St Barts is not a good pick for French nationals with a French passport as they are not the target audience in this case. Unlike them, foreigners willing to obtain a French passport by investment without giving away swaths of their income in taxes will be able to enjoy life to the fullest in St Barts known to be among the most mysterious offshore jurisdictions globally.

Let’s make it clear, those choosing St Barts as their tax residence country shall have rather high incomes to be eligible for a French passport by investment. It is not that St Barts is only good for billionaires yet those boasting average incomes (even by Western standards) will have no luck on the island. As for living standards, infrastructure, comfort, and amenities available, the district and/or area you choose to live in St Barts is crucial. 

You won’t experience any issues in a spa area offering various services to St Barts guests and tourists. In this respect, St Barts is on par with classic offshore jurisdictions, with the high-end spa lifestyle they offer. Advancing towards the island’s interior, you will see things change a little. Yet even there your comfort level will be much higher compared to multiple European summer tourist centers for those on a budget.

Please remember that it is only with an EU passport that you’ll be able to seamlessly move to St Barts to obtain a French passport by investment. If not among the lucky EU passport holders yet, you will need a French visa specifically mentioning St Barts. If you successfully manage to overcome all initial challenges, you’ll be allowed to apply for EU citizenship in France and a French passport by investment in 5 years. In the above case, the chances for your application to be approved are high enough.

St Barts plus St Kitts and Nevis combined – is it an option?

Although the formula may appear senseless or meritless to you, let’s not jump to conclusions. The International Wealth seasoned consultants are worth their salt if you keep in mind the shortest way is not always as profitable and/or beneficial to minimize your taxes as a roundabout one. The option to get a French passport by investment in St Barts that we would like to tell you about is neither standard nor typical. Yet, with the efficiency it boasts you won’t have a single reason to regret the extra hassle you’ll experience when choosing it to obtain a French passport by investment in future.

The thing is, with its undoubted merits, St Barts citizenship is a niche offer that is hardly universal. It is customized for HNWIs and persons striving to obtain EU citizenship and a French passport by investment the easiest and keep their tax benefits at the same time.

Nevis passport

As for St Kitts and Nevis citizenship, the advantages thereof are well behind those offered by the St Barts offshore jurisdiction where you can potentially obtain a French passport by investment. That said, citizenship eligibility requirements are more flexible and realistic in St Kitts and Nevis as are income standards for potential applicants.

It turns out that if we could combine St Kitts and Nevis with St Barts, the result would be a universal citizenship by investment offer covering nearly all requests potential customers may have. Even better, with less than 60 kilometers between the islands which is next to nothing for the Caribbean, it is a fairly easy one to put into practice.

In practical terms, obtaining a French passport by investment via St Barts citizenship is a challenging although achievable goal. It is true that you can hardly manage it on your own. Even if you succeed with achieving certain results, the time and money expenses therefor will be too heavy. Assisted by the International Wealth top-notch experts you can handle things much easier. Please remember that although highly efficient, the above options are not typical. This means, a pre-planning, discussion and negotiation stage is not just possible but obligatory to finally obtain a French passport by investment.

St Barts – basic jurisdiction info

Nowadays, the island remains a Terra Incognita for most potential CBI applicants and few of them know it exists. Below, we are not dwelling on St Barts peculiarities and advantages but focusing on the most useful perks for persons willing to obtain a French passport by investment therein instead. For any questions or comments you may have left as to how you can obtain a French passport by investment in St Barts you are welcome to contact the International Wealth weathered consultants who will be happy to discuss them with you at an individual consultation.

St Barts

Discover the key facts about St Barts:

  • Language: French + Creole. English is a communication language for many islanders, especially the ones in the service sector.
  • Climate: tropical oceanic climate, with moderate humidity, strong winds, and occasional hurricanes.
  • Safety: extremely high. Crime level is abysmal, roaming the streets at night time with some heavy money in your bag is not likely to result in any issues although petty crimes do exist.
  • Living standards: super high. The island boasts good ecology and environment, with neither water nor air or food pollution. 
  • Leisure and activities: various options are available, from leisurely walks to sea fun and water activities. FYI: it may cost you a small fortune.
  • Pets: St Barts is a pet friendly community. Suffice it to say, St Barts government offers vet services to pet owners. No one makes a fuss if you enter a coffee shop, a hotel, or a restaurant with your dog or cat.
  • Living expenses: St Barts is known to be an expensive offshore jurisdiction. Not an insanely expensive one but it may definitely leave a hole even in a European pocket. St Kitts is much cheaper by comparison. Yet if you are not a prodigal spender and saving money is nothing new to you, you can live off relatively small amounts.
  • Education: only public preschools, primary schools, and one high school are available. For classic full-cycle education, you’ll have to send your children to a reputable university abroad. St Barts is a place for the affluent, self-made, and successful.
  • Healthcare: basic healthcare services are easy to get. The Island boasts multiple pharmacies and 2 diagnostic labs. Yet, if you are unlucky enough to suffer a serious injury you will have to go elsewhere for help as in St Barts they don’t handle serious emergencies.
  • Transportation: the island comes with a small airport and a ferry service to St Maarten Island. Its narrow roads are oftentimes jammed-up, with only taxis for public transport. The easiest way to reach St Barts from Europe is via St Maarten. If you travel from the US, St Juan should be your aviation hub to fly to St Barts. Offshore jurisdiction guests have a soft spot for yachts and charter them as often as they can.

Beaches to visit in St Barts:

  • Grand Cul-de-Sac. A classic tropical beach, Grand Cul-de-Sac is the place for you to enjoy sand dunes, palm trees, sea turtles, coral reefs, and soft turquoise water.
  • Petit Cul-de-Sac. Pretty similar to Grand Cul-de-Sac, Petit Cul-de-Sac will bring joy and peace to solitude and privacy fans.
  • Salinas Beach. Superb option for those in love with scuba diving, snorkeling, and sunbathing.
  • Shell beach. The best all-in-one beach in St Barts boasting multiple fancy restaurants, villas, boutiques, and promenades. Romantics should go there for picturesque sunsets.
  • Saint Jean Beach. A Shell beach replica, with silence being the only difference. All other elements are the same, including the village and the airport.
  • Colombier Beach. With its soft white sand, green hills, and solitude, Colombier Beach is worth your time and money. Especially time, as it takes rather long to get there.
  • Lorient Beach. The place is among the largest St Barts beaches. It is great for surfing, paddle boarding, scuba diving, and swimming. Lorient Beach is a common choice to have a picnic or spend time with the family.
  • Flanders Beach. Commonly referred to as Billionaire’s Beach, Flanders Beach is home to lux villas offering superb sea views.

Real estate investments in St Barts

Designed to satisfy the desires of the rich and affluent, the island will hardly offer you any affordable or inexpensive housing. Yet, the never-to-be-forgotten eclectic mix of French culture, Caribbean exotics, and top-class comfort is there to charm potential real estate buyers away. WIth this in mind, purchasing properties in St Barts is a win-win investment, even more so that the real estate supply is limited on the island. Hence, the prices therefor are bound to grow in future.

properties in St Barts

Below, standard terms to purchase real estate in St Barts are described:

  • Deposit the buyer willing to potentially obtain a French passport by investment in St Barts real estate shall put in escrow to prove they are serious about the purchase makes 10% or above. Please be advised that St Barts comes with no annual real estate tax.
  • Non-recurrent property transfer tax is 5% in St Barts.
  • Notary fees vary on a case-by-case basis.

Most popular districts to buy properties in St Barts are listed below:      

  • Flamands and Colombier. Located in the north-western part of the island, the district boasts quiet beaches and lovely views.
  • Gustavia. St Barts capital is popular due to its capital city status and well-developed infrastructure.
  • St-Jean. Located on the island’s northern coast, St-Jean is super prestigious, with prices to match. Here, you will find second to none luxury hotels, villas, and beaches.
  • Toiny, Grand Cul-de-Sac, Petit Cul-de-Sac, and Vitet. Much like St-Jean, the St Barts eastern districts boast hilly apartments with breathtaking ocean views and prices to match. The latter are high even for a place like St Barts.

Activities to pursue in St Barts

The way you choose to escape from reality is a pretty personal matter. With the number of events and variety of entertainment in St Barts, you will never feel bored or lonely. If ready to pursue an elite lifestyle, St Barts is the right place to settle down in. Celebs who traditionally prefer to spend their vacations on the island seem to share the above opinion.

Activities to pursue in St Barts

The list of celebrities favoring St Barts is rather long:

  • Dua Lipa
  • Jay-Z and Beyonce
  • Howard Hughes and Greta Garbo
  • Miranda Kerr and Alessandra Ambrosio
  • Gwen Stefani
  • Usher
  • Nicole Richie
  • the Kardashians
  • Jeff Bezos
  • Rachel Zoe.

For your convenience, things to enjoy in St Bart are listed below:

  • Walking tours and hiking. With a difficulty level for you to choose, you will enjoy active style vacations of your life on the island.
  • Surfing. Both novice surfers and seasoned masters will find a place to surf to their liking in St Barts. If you wish you can hire an experienced surfer to teach you.
  • Diving. St Barts calm waters will bring much joy to the Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas fans.
  • Parties and festivals. They are abundant in St Barts and range from the traditional Mardi Gras to superyacht regattas.
  • Regattas and sailing. The pastime of choice for those in love with an active lifestyle prepared to spend their money like water.
  • Fishing. A more budget-friendly holiday option, if you forget equipment costs. Yet, renting a boat to feel like Robinson Crusoe for several days is perfectly affordable.
  • Nightlife. With its overwhelming selection of clubs and bars, St Barts has places to enjoy for everybody. Unlike in Ibiza, St Barts clubs come with less music and more thrill. Some of them are for adults only.
  • SPA. Places like these are to be found in every tropical city. We dare say, with their unforgettable flair, St Barts SPAs are worth at least 1 visit.
  • Yoga. Meditating and watching the sun go down over the ocean is something to write home about. A feeling so incredible is hard to compare to anything else.
  • Fashion and art. St Barts will never compare to Paris, Milan, Tokyo, Berlin, or New York. On second thoughts, why compare if you can have the best of both worlds. 

Below, places to enjoy local and international cuisine in St Barts are listed:

  • L’isola. To be found in downtown Gustavia, the facility comes with classic Italian cuisine. With its specialties, delicatessen, fish plates, pasta, and pizza, L’isola is sure to capture both your heart and stomach. Interior design and lighting are up to par.
  • Bonito. Sitting on a hill that overlooks the Gustavia harbor, Bonito boasts unique French and South American cuisine fusion. Their cocktail menu is remarkably creative, and the DJ is popular with regulars.
  • Orega. Gustavia’s much-in-demand fine dining facility is famous for its French and Japanese cuisine and desserts. With various ingredients brought from Europe, the US, and Japan, you will inevitably savor superb quality food. Needless to say, the prices are on par.
  • Tamarin. Sitting in Saline, La Tamarin boasts refined gourmet cuisine and elegant interiors. It is a sure-fire way to enjoy your evening and savor delicious food.
  • Shellona. Lively beach atmosphere with live music for you to enjoy will make your evening special. At Shellona, the Greek and the Caribbean cuisine fusion provides for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Your evenings in Shellona at Shell Beach will feel special with breathtaking sunsets to watch.
  • Nikki Beach. The restaurant is comfortably located at St Jean beach. Offering mostly seafood, it does not specialize in any national cuisine in particular but comes with an eclectic flavour mixture instead. It is both savory and pleasant to taste.
  • Pearl Beach. Sitting in Gustavia, the facility is famous for its French and Latino food blend. What makes it particularly appealing to the public are the delicious cocktails, modern shows and music.
  • Black Ginger. Known as a traditional Thai restaurant, Black Ginter in Gustavia stands out against competition due to its elegant style, cozy inner yard, and rich vegan and vegetarian menus.

Comparing citizenship by investment programs

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Conclusions and recommendations

Is living in St Barts to obtain a French passport by investment or visiting it worth your time and money? The question is complex. The International Wealth consultants do not recommend the island to potentially acquire a French passport by investment to ALL our readers and subscribers. The matter is not your budget only but the latter does play a role if you are serious about obtaining a French passport by investment in St Barts. Oftentimes rightfully referred to as the gates to France or the back door to the EU, St Barts does offer some appealing opportunities. If interested in obtaining citizenship in Balzac’s, Belmondo’s, De Gaulle’s, and Jules Verne’s  home country, you should definitely consider a chance to acquire “interim” citizenship therein.

Where there is a will on your side, it is possible to cut living expenses in St Barts for those willing to obtain a French passport by investment therein. The jurisdiction boasts a unique Caribbean atmosphere that partially makes up for the expenses involved. With European citizenship and excellent tax reduction opportunities in mind, the way you see St Barts will improve.

Don’t forget that St Barts sits close to St Kitts and Nevis, the popular Caribbean paradise jurisdiction. The situation therein is different. At International Wealth, we realize that finding the best tax-free territory may be a challenge. If you feel like St Kitts and Nevis citizenship is your cherished dream, be advised that it is the one much easier and cheaper to obtain compared to CBI in St Barts.

Below, you will find some popular International Wealth services to enjoy in St Kitts:

For any questions or comments, you are welcome to contact our weathered experts at or book a consultation with International Wealth to have your worries cleared.

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