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Residency or Citizenship by Investment? Here’s the 411.

People wishing to take up long-term residence in another country usually have two basic immigration options: residency or citizenship. While both options offer legal status to reside in the host country, they both differ in terms of the benefits they provide.

Immigration programmes vary depending on the country and each of country has conditions and requirements that are different from the other. Some countries grant residency while others grant citizenship. If you still think that obtaining residency means the same as acquiring citizenship, think again. 

Here’s the difference…

With residency, a person is issued a permit that allows them to reside in a specific country with conditions that must be adhered to. The holder does not enjoy political rights such as the right to vote, and these permits are for specific reasons such as work, study, or investment.

Residency can be temporary, giving the holder the right to reside in the country for a limited time with the possibility of renewing it, or applying for permanent or national residency, as per the country’s policies and regulations.

Residency can also be permanent, giving the holder the right to reside in the country for a longer period (years, even). The length of stay varies from country to another as residency may enable you to obtain citizenship, depending on the country’s laws.

On the other hand, obtaining citizenship makes you a citizen of the given country. As a citizen, you have the right to live, study, work, vote, and receive healthcare services in the country. 

Residency in Saint Lucia

Non-nationals desirous of residing in Saint Lucia have the following options:

  • If you are coming to Saint Lucia for gainful employment, you must obtain a work permit prior to arrival in Saint Lucia. Once this is done, your passport will be stamped by the Immigration Department after you arrive in Saint Lucia. The stamp denotes your right to live and work in Saint Lucia for the period specified on the work permit.
  • Dependents of the work permit holder also qualify for a similar stamp in their passports; however, they do not have the right to work in Saint Lucia.
  • If you wish to purchase property in Saint Lucia and take up residence without working, you are free to do so. However, a non-national wishing to acquire property requires special permission from the Minister for Legal Affairs, subject to a background check of the applicant. 

Permanent residency in Saint Lucia

Non-nationals can apply for permanent residency after you would have resided in Saint Lucia for five continuous years. In certain instances, this stipulated period might be reduced, for example, in the case of retirees purchasing property and taking up residence.

Upon gaining permanent residency, your passport will be stamped with the permanent residency stamp. This eliminates the need for you to apply for residence permits every three months and the red tape and delays at the port of entry when returning to Saint Lucia from trips overseas.

While permanent residency does come with many benefits, holders should note that this status precludes them from gainful employment in Saint Lucia as a work permit is still needed.

Citizenship by investment in Saint Lucia

Since 2015, gaining citizenship in Saint Lucia via the country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) has been an attractive and rewarding pathway to gaining a second passport. This new phenomenon has redefined the manner in which governments across the globe build up their revenue bases as they seek to attract affluent investors and talents. Citizenship by investment programmes are many government’s significant and sustainable source of revenue without increasing debt to the detriment of future generations.  

Despite residency and permanent residency each having their inherent substantive advantages, citizenship by investment programmes offer the greatest rewards on investment. Not only are the options more attractive, but the benefits far outweigh the investments in the long-term. Current options in Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Programme are as follows:  

  • Government Bond Investment: A minimum investment US$500,000.00 
  • National Economic Fund Investment: A minimum investment of US$100,000.00 
  • Real Estate Investment: A minimum investment of US$300,000.00 
  • Enterprise Investment: A minimum investment of US$3,500,000.00
  • COVID-19 Bond Relief: A minimum investment of US$250,000.00 (Limited time offer) 

Benefits of citizenship by investment in Saint Lucia

By becoming a citizen of Saint Lucia via the Citizenship by Investment Programme, you gain many advantages and benefits for simply making a single initial investment. Five of the top reasons why people all over the world are participating in the programme are listed below.

Reason #1 -- Dual citizenship: Since dual citizenship is recognized in Saint Lucia, citizens do not lose their citizenship when they gain citizenship in another country.

Reason #2 -- Ease of travel: Ranked number 31st globally in terms of travel freedom, your Saint Lucian passport entitles you ease of travel to 145 countries, including the European Union Shengen countries, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany, France, Switzerland, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. (However, Economic Citizens of Saint Lucia (passport holders) still need a visa to travel to Canada and the United States.)

Reason #3 -- Equal citizenship and rights: As the holder of a Saint Lucian passport, you will have the same citizenship and rights as native-born Saint Lucians, including the right to pass on citizenship to family members and the right to vote.

Reason #4 -- No residency requirement: As an applicant, there is no need for residency or travel to Saint Lucia during the application process because there is a quick processing turnaround within 3 months.

Reason #5 -- Favourable tax environment: Saint Lucia offers a favourable tax environment with no capital gains tax, relatively low income and corporate tax, no taxation on worldwide income (once resident for under 183 days), and no estate or inheritance tax.

As the global economy continues to face a myriad of social, economic and political uncertainties, citizenship by investment programmes continue to provide safety nets for people seeking security and stability, being able to overcome the constraints of being limited to a single country, and access to opportunities that expand their wealth portfolios. Saint Lucia is just the destination for you to gain a second citizenship!

You’ll also need a capable agency to guide you towards gaining your Saint Lucian citizenship. You’ll need McNamara Citizenship Services Inc.

McNamara Citizenship Services Inc. is full-service advisory agency providing all the relevant services associated with your acquiring citizenship in Saint Lucia. As an approved authorized agent under the Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment Programme, we use our intimate knowledge of the Programme to guide you through the process of obtaining your citizenship.

Contact us today and let us help you invest in a brighter future in Saint Lucia.

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