These Caribbean Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programmes, often referred to as economic citizenship programmes, allow individuals to acquire citizenship in a particular country by making a significant financial investment, in a specified sector of the economy. Caribbean nations excel in top-tier due diligence and in the ever-evolving landscape of global finance and investment, have emerged as leaders in ensuring the highest standards of integrity, security, and transparency.
As a hub for CBI programmes, these nations have recognised the paramount importance of conducting top-tier due diligence in the realm of economic citizenship.
This commitment to rigorous due diligence processes not only safeguards their own national interests but also fosters trust and confidence among foreign investors and the international community.
The meticulous due diligence practices that distinguish the Caribbean nations, highlight their dedication to upholding the integrity of their CBI programmes.
Antigua and Barbuda Due Diligence
Antigua and Barbuda prioritised the integrity of its Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) through robust due diligence measures, including:
Strengthening Due Diligence Measures
These measures, implemented in collaboration with reputable firms, ensure that only individuals with genuine interests in the country and clean backgrounds are granted citizenship.
This approach enhances transparency, security, and trust among investors and the local community.
Creating an Environment Conducive to Innovation and Enterprise
The CIP’s stringent due diligence safeguards against potential risks such as money laundering, fraud, and security threats.
Thorough background checks on applicants, including financial history, criminal records, and political affiliations, help evaluate their suitability for citizenship.
This not only protects the jurisdiction’s interests but also ensures the safety of its citizens.
Adapting to Evolving Global Standards
To remain effective, Antigua and Barbuda continuously improves its due diligence practices. This addresses evolving global standards and emerging risks in financial crime and security threats.
Staying proactive and adaptable in due diligence procedures is crucial for ensuring the long-term sustainability and reputation of its CIP.
Dominica Due Diligence
The Commonwealth of Dominica CBI Programme introduced a comprehensive interview process, becoming the first country worldwide to implement such a rigorous measure.
This initiative is designed to enhance the safety and security of the nation’s citizens while upholding high standards and integrity in its CBI Programme.
The multi-layer due diligence process in Dominica includes:
Prospective applicants undergo a thorough examination of their criminal history, financial status, and past business dealings.
Character references and interviews may be required to assess reputation, and databases like Interpol and international sanctions lists are consulted to ensure the absence of risk.
Source of Wealth Verification
The legitimacy of the funds being invested is crucial, requiring a detailed financial history assessment, including bank statements, tax returns, and proof of business ownership for the past decade.
Due diligence companies may visit an applicant’s residence and office surroundings to understand their lifestyle and daily activities. As a result, they can directly gauge their character and add an extra layer of security.
An overview of an applicant’s business operations may also be conducted.
Local Law Enforcement Checks
Scrutiny by local law enforcement ensures that the applicant has not been involved in illicit activities.
Grenada Due Diligence
Grenada has recently adjusted its CBI Programme, which will impact foreign investors.
The changes include raising interview fees to US$1,000 and significantly increasing the due diligence fee for dependent parents aged 65 and over, now set at US$5,000.
These regulations came into effect on 1 September 2023, as announced by Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell.
Additionally, a new financial sponsor interviewing fee of US$1,000 has been introduced, with the financial sponsor being someone who covers the applicant’s costs.
Grenada is among several countries with CBI programmes, granting citizenship to foreign investors in exchange for substantial investments in socio-economic development.
In the first half of the year 2023, Grenada generated EC$157 million through the CBI Programme. A single applicant must contribute a minimum donation of US$150,000 or US$400,000 for real estate investments.
Saint Lucia Due Diligence
Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) has achieved a prominent position in investment migration sector.
Due to its innovative strategies, focus on diligence, and convenience. Recent amendments made on January 1, 2023, have significantly influenced Saint Lucia’s standing in the investment migration sector, which consists of:
Certificate Replacement Fee Increase
The replacement fee for lost/damaged certificates increased to US$500 from US$100.
Developers’ Fee Inclusion
Developers must pay a fee of US$7,500, which includes due diligence and background checks when applying for CIP-approved real estate or enterprise projects.
Investment Adjustments for Additional Dependents
The investment amount in the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund has been raised to US$5,000 for additional dependents aged twelve months or below, from the previous US$500.
Reduction in Real Estate Investment Requirement
The investment required for the real estate option has been reduced to a minimum of US$200,000.
Introduction of the Bond Option
Additionally, the new National Action Bond Option allows individuals to purchase a non-interest-bearing government bond for US$300,000, with an administrative fee of US$50,000.
These changes have contributed to Saint Lucia’s enhanced due diligence practices in its CIP programme.
St Kitts and Nevis Due Diligence
St Kitts and Nevis introduced the Sustainable Island State Contribution Investment Option earlier this year.
Further updates that were also implemented:
The due diligence fees for each applicant have increased.
The minimum age for parents has been raised to 65 years of age. Additionally, these changes include the elimination of siblings and grandparents as eligible dependents.
Implementation of mandatory interviews, even for applicants in the process without a Certificate of Registration (COR). The COR collection options in St Kitts and Nevis or at an Embassy or Consulate abroad.
The exclusion of additional dependants during processing; additions allowed only after a 90-day period following the primary application’s approval and COR issuance.
Discontinuation of “financial sponsorship” applications, not supported by the Regulations, effective immediately.
Longer application processing times, the new extended time to four months.
Components of Top Tier Due Diligence
The Caribbean has due diligence that is comprehensive and thorough background checks and vetting processes that governments and their authorised agents conduct on individuals applying for citizenship through an investment option.
Both Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis employ internationally renowned third-party due diligence firms from the US and the UK.
Leading the way
The 2023 CBI Index from the Financial Times ranks Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis as leading Caribbean nations in terms of robust due diligence procedures.
These two countries have received commendation for conducting the most stringent due diligence investigations. They have established a high standard for the region.
These experts contribute their extensive knowledge and global networks to strengthen the due diligence process. They maintain the highest standards of vetting in the Citizenship by Investment programmes.
Saint Lucia secured the third position, solidifying its status as one of the top choices in this field.
This move by the Caribbean countries reinforces the credibility and integrity of their CBI programmes on the international stage. It further sets a higher standard for citizenship applicants.
Due diligence in CBI programmes serves several key purposes:
Caribbean nations excel in top-tier due diligence. The reason for this is because they value their citizenship and the people of their countries.
Security and Integrity: It helps ensure that only reputable and law-abiding individuals are granted citizenship. This minimises the potential for security risks or fraudulent applications.
Compliance: It ensures that the CBI programme complies with international standards and regulations, including anti-money laundering, criminal, financial, and political checks.
Applicants are required to provide detailed information about their source of funds and other relevant financial information
Protection of Reputation: By conducting rigorous due diligence, countries aim to protect their reputation and integrity. This is vital as the misuse or abuse of CBI programmes can have negative consequences on their international standing.