Saint Lucia had distinguished itself from other Caribbean jurisdictions by requiring that every main applicant demonstrate a total net worth of at least US$3 million. The requirement has now been removed, opening citizenship to a wider investor pool.
The National Economic Fund (NEF)
The core citizenship option under the Saint Lucia Programme is a contribution to the National Economic Fund (NEF). From 2016 to January 2017, minimum contribution amounts started at US$250,000 for a single applicant. Drastic cuts were made in January, resulting in a single applicant being able to apply with a US$100,000 contribution – a 50 percent decrease. Similar cuts were also made for applicants applying with a spouse (US$165,000 instead of US$235,000) and for families of four (US$190,000 instead of US$250,000).
Although the Government has argued these new reductions will increase the Programme’s competitiveness, criticism has abounded on the part of the Opposition, which has stated it would review any application submitted and accepted under the new regulations. Costs have not just decreased, however, Saint Lucia re-introduced the option to invest in non-interest bearing Government bonds but added a non-refundable administration fee of US$50,000.
Finally, the Government has also made it easier for applicants to swear their Oath of Allegiance to Saint Lucia, as they may now do so before an attorney at law, a Consular Officer of Saint Lucia, an Honorary Consul of Saint Lucia, a notary royal, or a notary public. This means that applicants no longer need to travel to give their Oath.