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Time of Dumped Prices for Caribbean Passports is Coming to an End: Act Now!

In 1983, tiny Caribbean islands of St Kitts and Nevis finally broke loose and became independent from Great Britain. The people of the two islands decided to form a single country, the Federation of St Christopher (St Kitts) and Nevis.  

The microscopic economy of the new country with a population of less than 50 thousand people almost entirely depended on sugarcane. History has shown, however, that this industry can be highly unstable and unpredictable.

Rising prices in the Caribbean

In an attempt to diversify and strengthen the economy, the Government of the young Caribbean country proposed granting economic citizenship to foreigners prepared to put some money in St Kitts and Nevis. Initially, only the non-returnable donation option was available. Afterwards, citizenship of the country began to be available to those who invested in Government-approved development projects. These were returnable investments, which made this option attractive. Today, you can buy any property in St Kitts and Nevis to qualify for citizenship (provided that its price reaches the set threshold). Your investment will remain returnable.

The idea proved to be extremely successful and allowed the country to gain financial independence too. Many small countries that find it hard to make ends meet borrow money from foreign states and the so-called ‘sovereign debt’ accumulates over time. Ultimately, the debt becomes a heavy burden on the shoulders of common people. The St Kitts and Nevis citizenship-by-investment program has solved this problem for the country.

Because the scheme has been a great success, some other countries in the region and beyond have copied it. By 2016, five Caribbean countries were offering citizenship-by-investment opportunities to foreigners.

  • St Kitts and Nevis;
  • Dominica;
  • Antigua and Barbuda;
  • Grenada;
  • St Lucia.

Start of ‘price wars’

A series of devastating hurricanes hit the Caribbean region in 2017 and then the Covid-19 pandemic ruined the tourist industry on many Caribbean islands. Their economies suffered greatly and those countries that had economic citizenship programs thanked god for them.

However, there were very few differences between the citizenship-by-investment programs administered by different states: they offered very much the same advantages and had very much the same drawbacks. For this reason, the Governments started a ‘price war’ in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage over their neighbors. Dumping times began.

While US$ 400,000 had been a regular price for a second passport before, by the mid-2010s, some countries dropped their prices to US$ 100,000 (plus the fees of the licensed immigration agent who has to submit the application on the foreign investor’s behalf as well as administrative fees for application processing and due diligence checks).

The required donation amounts were lowered and the amounts of returnable investments were lowered too. In addition, some countries shortened the periods of mandatory property ownership.

As prices lowered, the demand for Caribbean passports grew. As of today, around 88 thousand foreigners in total have obtained Caribbean passports by investments.

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Introduction of a regional price minimum under external pressure

Granting citizenship to wealthy foreigners in exchange for investments is not a smart scheme or illegal practice. The Caribbean citizenship-by-investment programs are fully transparent and they have been approved by the Parliaments of the corresponding countries. They function in accordance with the laws and clearly formulated rules.

Obviously, The Governments of St Kitts, Dominica, Antigua, Grenada and St Lucia have every right to decide how they should increase national revenues: these are independent countries recognized by the international community. However, the EU authorities decided to throw a tantrum because they felt irritated by the Caribbean economic citizenship programs.  

As it turns out, the bureaucrats in Brussels believe that the Caribbean citizenship-by-investment programs pose threats for Europeans’ security. Such statements are strange to hear because the same Brussels bureaucrats seem not to notice millions of immigrants illegally entering Europe year after year. The immigrants don’t have to answer questions about their past when arriving in the EU.

Less than 100,000 ‘economic citizens’ who have acquired Caribbean passports over the last 40 years after going through strict due diligence procedures look much more threatening to the European bureaucrats than illegal immigrants who pass no security checks whatsoever. So much for their logic. 

The ‘Eurocrats’ made a lot of noise however and they were pressuring the Caribbean countries. Their goal was to get rid of the economic citizenship programs. It did not work out though. Therefore, the Brussels officials took a different approach.

Threatening to unilaterally withdraw from the visa-free agreements with the islanders, they made the latter to raise the prices in order to lower the demand for passports. Any Caribbean country that refuses to do so will lose visa-free access to the Schengen zone.

New market reality

As a result, the leaders of four Caribbean countries В итоге весной 2024 года лидеры четырех стран Карибского бассейна (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, and St Kitts and Nevis) signed a Memorandum in the spring of 2024 confirming their preparedness to raise the minimum price to US$ 200,000. Therefore, some required investment amounts are going to double. Expectedly, the required amounts of investments into property and business (in the case of Antigua) are going to rise too. Maybe not twofold but significantly anyway.

St Lucia has not signed the Memorandum citing ‘contractual arrangements’. A few development projects are underway in St Lucia and the developers surely hope to see many candidates for citizenship of the country among buyers. If the Government raises the price of St Lucian citizenship, the developers are going to sue it. Nevertheless, the authorities of St Lucia have promised to sign the Memorandum ‘as soon as it becomes possible’.  

There is still a chance to ‘buy’ a Caribbean passport at the old price

The deadline for setting the ‘price’ of a Caribbean passport at US$ 200,000 is June 30, 2024. Thus, if you act fast, you still have a chance to ‘buy’ Caribbean citizenship at the old price.

Single applicants for St Lucian citizenship can still ‘buy’ a passport of the country for only US$ 121, 050 including all the administrative fees but excluding the immigration agent’s fee (different agents charge different fees). A passport of Antigua and Barbuda would cost you US$ 149,800. Technically, a passport of Dominica would cost even less. Speaking of Dominica, you should bear in mind that its citizens lost visa-free access to Great Britain in the summer of 2023 and to Ireland this spring.

If you add dependent family members to your application for Caribbean citizenship, the price is going to grow a bit. The sadder news, however, is that the overall prices are going to grow considerably very soon. There is still time to apply but not too much of it.

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