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St Kitts Grants Citizenship to Foreigners Investing in Film and TV Program Production

Are you thinking of applying for a Caribbean passport? You can become a citizen of a Caribbean country by making a non-returnable donation to the state fund or by making a returnable investment in real estate, government bonds, local funds, and securities. Since recently, however, a new investment option has become available. The Federation of St Kitts and Nevis will grant citizenship to foreign nationals who are prepared to invest in production of films and TV programs in the country. Please read on to learn more about this opportunity and consult one of our experts if you would like to have more information.

Nevis

Citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis by investment in film production 

Since June 2023, foreign nationals looking to obtain citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis by investment can use a unique investment option. Namely, they can put money into the production of films and TV programs in the country. This opportunity is available within the frameworks of the Public Benefit Option (PBO), a special program administered by the Government of St Kitts and Nevis. The required investment amount is US$ 175,000 if you choose to invest in film production.  

This investment option is a bit more affordable than investing in real estate in the country. If you would like to acquire citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis by investment in real property, you have to bring at least US$ 200,000. Besides, you have to keep the property in your possession for 7 years before you can sell it back without losing citizenship of the country.

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MSR Media SKN Ltd. Company has been approved by the Government of St Kitts and Nevis as the first beneficiary of the PBO program. It has been granted permission to attract investments from foreign nationals wishing to become citizens of the Caribbean state and use them to finance the production of films and TV programs. MSR Media SKN Ltd. is based in St Kitts and the USA. It specializes in producing films and TV content. 

The Company founders have nearly 30 years of film-making experience. Over the years, they have made more than 120 films including 10 films that have been partially or wholly made in St Kitts and Nevis. The Company has been in cooperation with large international film distribution companies including Lionsgate, Saban, and Screen Media. 

MSR Media has released the following films in particular: One Year Off, Assailant, A Week in Paradise, and Us or Them. The most recent film is Christmas in the Caribbean. This romantic comedy has been filmed entirely on St. Kitts. It stars British actress Elizabeth Hurley and it is directed by Philip Martinez. The premier is scheduled for December 2023. The Fast Sea action film is scheduled to go into production in the second half of 2023.

The content produced by the company is available on all major streaming platforms including Amazon Prime, Apple, and Netflix as well as multiple TV channels such as STARZ, for example. The Company employees note that the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis is becoming the most popular Caribbean jurisdiction among filmmakers because of the availability of advanced infrastructure there. 

The films that MSR Media SKN Ltd. is going to make with the financial support of foreigners applying for economic citizenship of St Kitts will help stimulate the local labor market. MSR Media SKN Ltd. has undertaken to make 35 films over the next five years. The Company is planning to attract US$ 150 million in investments and create 150 new jobs in St Kitts and Nevis. 

How does the Public Benefit Option work?

The provisions governing the Public Benefit Option scheme are set forth in the text of Statutory Rules and Orders No. 4 of 2023. They have been approved by the prime minister and published in the Official Gazette (№ 9 of 2023). 

Immigrant investors can now put money in projects valuable for the public while obtaining the Caribbean ‘golden passports’ in exchange. The local Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) oversees the work of the Public Benefit Option program.

The film-making projects do not only improve the employment situation in St Kitts and Nevis but they also stimulate the adoption of modern foreign technologies. Without doubt, they enhance the overall economic potential of the Caribbean jurisdiction. 

As we have noted above, you have to bring at least US$ 175,000 if you would like to obtain a passport of St Kitts and Nevis by investing in film production. The filmmakers are going to use the money to finance one of the Government-approved film production projects. Please bear in mind that some additional payments are also involved in acquiring foreign citizenship by investment in St Kitts and elsewhere. These include the fee payable to the licensed immigration agent (you cannot avoid using one in accordance with the law) and the administration fees used towards conducting the due diligence procedures.  

Due diligence fees in St Kitts and Nevis

The following due diligence fees are due if you are applying for citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis through the Public Benefit Option: 

  • Main applicant — US$ 7,500; 
  • Every dependent family member above the age of 16 — US$ 4,000. 

An Accelerated Application Processing (AAP) option is also available to foreign investors in St Kitts and Nevis. The applications for citizens are processed at a faster rate but the due diligence fees are higher:

  • Main applicant — US$ 20,000;
  • Every dependent family member above the age of 16 — US$ 10,000.  

Administrative fees payable after the preliminary approval of the application has been obtained

The following administrative fees are payable within the frameworks of the Public Benefit Option program: 

  • Main applicant — US$ 25,000;
  • Main applicant’s spouse — US$ 15,000;
  • Every dependent family member up to 18 years of age — US$ 10,000;
  • Every dependent family member above the age of 18 — US$ 15,000.

If you use the AAP option, the fees are as follows: 

  • Main applicant — US$ 35,000;
  • Main applicant’s spouse — US$ 25,000;
  • Every dependent family member up to 18 years of age — US$ 15,000; 
  • Every dependent family member above the age of 18 — US$ $25,000.

Use of the money generated by the economic citizenship program to pay allowances to local people

The local authorities seek to improve public perception of the citizenship-by-investment program by financing PBO projects that create new jobs in the country and facilitate the adoption of modern technologies, which ultimately raises the living standards in St Kitts and Nevis. In addition to that, they employ one more instrument for improving the image of the economic citizenship program. Namely, they use the money that the program generates to pay ‘dividends’ directly to the locals.    

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of St Kitts and Nevis has made direct allowances to the people two times already. The money that foreign investors bring is used for this purpose. The first payments were made in December 2022, and the second session is starting at the moment when this article is written.

No other country administering a citizenship-by-investment program besides St Kitts and Nevis uses the money that the program brings to make direct allowances to the people. The payments are made through the Saint Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board. Residents of the country are divided into two categories and the payment amount depends on what category the person belongs to. The first category includes retirees while the second category includes adult people who have not reached the retirement age so far.

Retired workers who have made 500 or more payments to the Social Security Fund get 500-East-Caribbean-dollar allowances. Those who have not reached the retirement age and have made 499 or fewer payments to the Social Security Fund get 250-East-Caribbean-dollar allowances.

Terrance Drew

When commenting on the payment of allowances, Terrance Drew, the Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis (in the photo above), called upon all Caribbean citizens to improve their level of financial capability. According to the head of the Government, this will allow creating a society that can help the authorities to improve the lifestyle in the region.

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The palm trees, the white sand, and the turquoise sea will take your breath away and the tropical climate will offer fantastic conditions to both young and elderly residents of St Kitts and Nevis. The new investment option that we have been discussing here is going to contribute to improving the international image of the country, among other things. 

Consequently, the demand for ‘golden passports’ of St Kitts and Nevis is going to grow, which may set the local authorities thinking about raising the required investment amounts. Besides, if the number of foreign applicants for citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis grows significantly, the application processing may start taking a longer time. This means that you should act now! Our experts will gladly help you launch the process as soon as possible.

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