BASSETERRE, St Kitts and Nevis, Aug. 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The Financial Times’ Professional Wealth Management (PWM) magazine announced this week that St Kitts and Nevis’ 35-year-old Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme has improved significantly. In a special annual report, called the 2019 CBI Index, the twin-island nation is commended for its Programme’s high security standards, convenient travel and residence requirements, and a more efficient citizenship timeline.
St Kitts and Nevis received full marks in three of the seven pillars against which programmes are assessed, specifically due diligence, citizenship timeline, and mandatory travel or residence. The Programme was also scored with nine points out of 10 in another two pillars: minimum investment outlay and ease of processing. Importantly, the Federation has improved its overall score by four points, placing it comfortably on the podium of the world’s best CBI programmes.
FT specialists took good note of the country’s expanding diplomatic relations diligently carried out by Foreign Minister Mark Brantley. “St Kitts and Nevis maintained its upward trajectory regarding visa-free and visa-on-arrival offerings,” mentions the report. At the moment, St Kitts and Nevispassport holders can access approximately two thirds of the world’s countries without the need of a visa, including business hubs like Hong Kong, Singapore, London or Geneva.
Over the course of the past year, the Government of St Kitts and Nevis announced new security measures aimed at strengthening the CBI Programme’s due diligence checks. Digital fingerprinting was one of them, as was the proposal for stricter rules for escrow accounts. Furthermore, agents found to be misrepresenting the Programme have had their licences revoked. This was a welcomed measure highlighted in the independent study, reinforcing St Kitts and Nevis’status as the “Platinum Standard” of CBI.
While improving its due diligence framework, St Kitts and Nevis managed to speed up the time it takes to process citizenship applications, after it was faced with a sudden high demand for one of the fund options. The 2019 CBI Index found that the Programme has “improved its citizenship timeline following clearance of the applications submitted during the temporary Hurricane Relief Fund [HRF] option.” Prime Minister Timothy Harris replaced the HRF investment channel last year with the Sustainable Growth Fund, succeeding in making it the most straightforward route to St Kitts and Nevis’ citizenship.