The Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) has launched the region’s first, and currently only, e-payment platform.
The platform enables international investors and their families to apply for the island nation’s investment migration programme entirely online, offering greater efficiency and reducing the processing time from application to the granting of citizenship. It has the capacity to receive all payments associated with the application, including the processing and due diligence fees; administrative fees for real estate and bonds, and the investment made into the National Economic Fund.
This initiative could not have come at a greater time as travel has become quite an obstacle for individuals due to the covid pandemic.
“During the Covid-19-imposed international lockdown, arranging for bank wire transfer could either add weeks to the timeframe or be simply impossible for our investors to manage. This homegrown, wholly-owned and managed e-payment and processing platform is seamlessly integrated into our new website and will save our clients’ precious time as well as capital as there are no fees required to manage the transfer,” said CEO Nestor Alfred.
The e-platform is not the initiative the Eastern Caribbean country has implemented.
In May, Saint Lucia was the first Caribbean country to announce a new investment option in response to the coronavirus pandemic in allowing investors to qualify for citizenship via the Covid-19 Relief Bond. it currentl runs until the end of the year.
To qualify an individual is required to make a minimum investment of USD 250,000 in a noninterest-bearing government bond that must be held for five years. In addition, Saint Lucia recently made several key amendments to its legislation to make its citizenship-by- investment program even more attractive to investors with families.
The category of ‘qualifying dependant’ has been expanded and now includes the option to “add-on” qualifying dependants in all investment options for the granting of citizenship. Besides the spouse,children up to the age of 30 as well as parents over 55 if they are fully supported by the applicant can be includeed. An unmarried sister or brother who is under 18 can also be included in the application.
“We offer significant return on investment at a competitive investment level, with visa-free access to 146 destinations worldwide, but it’s our dedication to ensuring rigorous due diligence and accountability at the highest level across comparable options that really underpins this strategic investment. The long-term growth and legacy options offered by Saint Lucia to international investors include lifelong yield for themselves and their dependents as well as ongoing and exponential value opportunities through enhanced global mobility,” added Alfred.
The Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) requires a person to make a significant economic contribution to the Country. In exchange, and subject to stringent application procedures, including thorough background checks, the applicants and their families are granted citizenship.
The highly controversial program is also available in other Caribbean countries like Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St. Kitts and Nevis.