News Americas, Basseterre, St. Kitts, Nov. 14, 2022: The government of St Kitts and Nevis, along with the Citizenship by Investment Unit of the country, have refuted claims that investors interested in gaining citizenship to the country can pay using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
The St Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment programme is the oldest in the world, having been established in 1984 – it has been providing investors from across the globe with one of the quickest, easiest, and most affordable routes to second citizenship.
Underpinned by a robust multi-layered due diligence process undertaken by international security firms from the USA and the UK, investors need to go through a formal application process consisting of eight main steps, which include:
Step 1: Pre-approval by a verified St Kitts and Nevis government agent and preparation of the application
Step 2: Submission of the citizenship application
Step 3: Application processing by the Citizenship by Investment Unit and internal and external due diligence checks
Step 4: Approval in principle letter issued
Step 5: Contribution to either the Sustainable Growth Fund or pre-approved real estate
Step 6: Bank clearance of source of funds
Step 7: Certificate of Registration issued
Step 8: Citizen can apply for a St Kitts and Nevis passport
Throughout the whole process, an investor will engage with an approved government agent who will facilitate the application and any payments will be made via registered banks using fiat money – a government-issued currency that is not backed by a commodity such as gold. An example would be the United States Dollar, Euro or Chinese Yuan.
Investors cannot make payments to a government-approved agent or the Citizenship by Investment Unit by using cryptocurrencies directly. These would need to be liquidated into fiat currency first and an applicant would need to provide a supporting affidavit regarding their source of funds as part of the application process.
St Kitts and Nevis has not yet passed any legislation regarding cryptocurrency. The country is participating in the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) pilot program, which aims to study the utilisation of cryptocurrency as a fiat currency.
The program’s purpose is to provide a safe and secure digital financial system by utilising the advantages of blockchain and is designed to exemplify the viability and functionality of the ECCB’s ability to issue Digital Eastern Caribbean Dollars.
The ECCB is the fiscal authority for the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).
Speaking at the Electronic Cash Conference 2022, which was held on November 12 2022, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, Dr Terrance Drew, expressed that while Bitcoin Cash – another form of cryptocurrency – is used as a method of tender by some businesses in the country, due diligence checks are presently being prioritised by his government ahead of any major decision concerning that cryptocurrency’s official use.
Prime Minister Drew stated that the financial safety and security of citizens is a matter of high priority, and the government, with the guidance of the ECCB, is prepared to explore the possibility of Bitcoin Cash being introduced as legal tender in the local financial space.
The Prime Minister explained that once all the crucial financial safeguards were in place, Bitcoin Cash could become accepted legal tender in St Kitts and Nevis by March 2023.
Benefits of gaining second citizenship to St Kitts and Nevis
Citizenship by Investment is a legal process to grant individuals – and, in some cases, their families – dual citizenship in exchange for a financial contribution to the country’s economy. The initiative permits countries to channel generated funds into developing healthcare, education, infrastructure, and more.
Being a citizen of St Kitts and Nevis offers investors a myriad of benefits including family reunification, global mobility, enhanced security, and increased economic opportunities.
St Kitts and Nevis offers award-winning and internationally acclaimed education institutions like veterinary and medical universities, attracting global-minded professionals. People from all over the world come to St Kitts and Nevis, over a million a year to be exact, because of its booming tourism sector.
In recent years, the nation has seen growing numbers of American visitors. Around 1,000 US citizens currently reside on the islands. Now, with more work-from-home policies than ever, many see the Caribbean as the perfect destination to get away from the bustle of big cities while continuing to be connected when business calls.
In addition to citizenship and global mobility, St Kitts and Nevis offers its citizens who choose to become tax residents a wide variety of insurance services in a tax-friendly environment. For example, the country guarantees financial privacy by not making any information about offshore business owners and top managers public.
Portfolio diversification is the first step in dispersing your investments so that your exposure is not limited to just one type of asset. An investment in property in St Kitts and Nevis would allow you to diversify your investment portfolio and potentially make a return upon selling that your share in real estate after the end of the minimum hold period.
This will also ensure that you retain a certain amount of your wealth outside of your home country. In uncertain political and economic climates, knowing that a portion of your portfolio is free from the grips of a potentially corrupt government can give you tremendous peace of mind.