Citizenship of St Lucia by Investment: The Most Attractive Option?  

The St Lucian citizenship-by-investment program looks more attractive in some respects than its competitors in the region do. The program was designed in 2015 and launched on January 1, 2016. Initially, several routes to St Lucian citizenship were available including 5-year investments in Government bonds.

In the summer of 2016, however, the authorities of St Lucia decided to temporarily suspend issuance of Government bonds to foreign investors. Plainly speaking, this investment option quickly became unavailable to foreigners seeking citizenship of St Lucia. Luckily, it returned in May 2020 and St Lucia is now the only Caribbean country that grants citizenship to foreign investors in Government bonds. The investments can be returned in full after 5 years. 

The application processing timeframe is about 9 months in St Lucia. We must admit that some other countries in the region process applications for citizenship a bit faster. Family applications for St Lucia citizenship can include the main applicant’s spouse, children, and parents.

Citizenship of St Lucia gives visa-free access to 146 countries (at the moment when the article is written) including South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao, and so on. If you would like to have visa-free entry to China, we suggest that you consider applying for citizenship of Grenada instead. An additional reason to become a citizen of Grenada is an opportunity to get an E2 visa to the USA.

Economic citizenship of St Lucia: the investment options

Acquiring residency in the Caribbean is an attractive option indeed. The country offers tree routes to its citizenship including the following ones:

Investment in Government bonds

  •       US$ 300,000

This is a returnable investment and its return after 5 years is guaranteed by the Government of St Lucia. Please note that no interest is paid on the bonds. Since January 1, 2023, new enticing conditions have been in place. Namely, a family of (theoretically) an infinite number of members can qualify for citizenship of St Lucia for US$ 300,000 if it invests in bonds. In other words, no additional investment needs to be made if more than one person is applying.

At the same time, an administrative fee of US$ 50,000 is payable no matter if a single person applies for citizenship of St Lucia or a family does so. Besides, an application fee and due diligence fees have to be paid.  

Donation to the national fund 

  •       US$ 100,000 for a single applicant.
  •       US$ 140,000 for a married couple.
  •       US$ 150,000 for a family of four.

The amount of the required donation increases if more than four family members apply for St Lucia citizenship. The donation is non-returnable and additional fees are due.

Investment into real estate in St Lucia  

  •       US$ 200,000

In St Lucia, you can invest only in Government-approved development projects to qualify for citizenship of the country. At the moment, only two resort complexes are approved for citizenship-by-investment purposes. You can buy a share of property ownership or an entire suite. The investment can be returned after five years.

Which investment option is preferable? Evidently, a donation requires the smallest lump sum of money but it is non-returnable. We suggest that you should calculate how much you are going to lose in interest on US$ 300,000 and take the inflation into account.

We would also like to make the following note. An investment in Government bonds can be returned with a guarantee. An investment in real estate can be returned if you manage to sell your property back after five years. Two opposite scenarios are possible here: you might run into trouble trying to sell your property at a decent price or you might be able to sell it at a hefty profit if property prices rise significantly in St Lucia over five years. Should you choose the sure option or the risky but potentially beneficial one? The choice is yours.

Benefits of St Lucia citizenship

In addition to the unique opportunity to invest in Government bonds, St Lucia offers many other benefits to foreign investors seeking citizenship of the country. The key benefits include the following ones.

  •  Visa-free travel to a large number of destinations.
  • Ease of the process of acquiring citizenship of St Lucia. All you have to do is collect the application documents. Everything else will be done by a licensed immigration agent on your behalf (applying via a licensed agent is required by the St Lucian legislation). You don’t have to visit St Lucia to become a citizen of the country.
  •  Second citizenship is granted to the main applicant’s spouse, unmarried children of up to 30 years of age, dependent parents of more than 55 years of age as well as siblings of up to 18 years of age. The siblings have to be unmarried and have no children of their own.
  •  The country charges no tax on personal income and no inheritance tax either.
  • Applications for citizenship of St Lucia can be processed within 6 months but usually a bit more time is required.
  • If you make a donation to become a citizen of St Lucia and a child is born to you within 12 months, it can also become a citizen of the country for US$ 5,000 (it used to be US$ 500).
  •  If you make a returnable investment to qualify for St Lucia citizenship and you get married within five years from the date of obtaining a St Lucian passport, your spouse can become a citizen of the country at a discount.
  •  Citizens of St Lucia have become eligible to apply for an eTA visa to Canada. eTA stands for electronic travel authorization. In June 2023, Canada extended the list of countries whose citizens are eligible for electronic visas. Now all the five Caribbean states administering citizenship-by-investment programs – St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, and Grenada – are on the list. Some limitations apply, however. The applicant for an electronic visa to Canada is eligible for it if he or she has been granted a Canadian visa during the last 10 years. Alternatively, he or she is eligible if he/ she holds a non-immigration visa to the USA. In other cases, a regular visa to Canada has to be applied for.

Requirements for the foreign investor

  • The foreign investor shall hold the bonds/ real property for 5 months.
  • The foreign investor shall pay all the fees associated with applying for St Lucia citizenship.
  • The foreign investor shall pass a medical examination.
  • The foreign investor shall go through due diligence checks.
  • The foreign investor shall have a personal interview with a Government official. This requirement has been in place since September 1, 2023. The interview can be held online.

To conclude, St Lucia offers two unique advantages. First, no other country requires a smaller donation (Antigua is the only country that matches St Lucia in this respect). Second, no other country allows investing in Government bonds. Does St Lucia offer the best economic citizenship opportunity? Probably, it does. 

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