St Lucia passport for a businesswoman and frequent traveller despite issues with documents
I wasn’t expecting visa issues to stand in the way of my new business. I had just started it and needed to visit my potential European partners. If I were to travel with my Turkey passport and get visas for each trip, visiting consulates would have become a full-time job by themselves. I did not want to postpone my business tasks for visas.
The only effective solution for my case seemed to be a second passport allowing me to travel visa-free.
I had to get second citizenship fast to start working on my own business finally. Gladly, Immigrant Invest specialists helped me do it in under 6 months.
Why Yildiz decided to obtain a second passport
Yildiz is a businesswoman from Turkey. She quit her successful career in finance to pursue her dream and build her own company. At her corporate job, Yildiz didn’t see potential for professional and financial growth anymore, so she decided to put her expertise into creating her own business in finance.
Very soon, Yildiz realised that it was crucial for the development of her business that she was able to travel visa-free to Europe and Asia to meet potential partners and negotiate agreements. Otherwise, she was spending too much time visiting the consulates and applying for visas, disturbing her schedule.
Why Yildiz chose St Lucia for her second citizenship
Yildiz contacted Immigrant Invest in 2017. It was crucial for her to obtain the second passport as soon as possible: potential partners in Europe were ready to sign agreements with her, which had to be done in person. Yildiz didn’t want to keep them waiting and risk losing a valuable partnership over visa issues, so she put the deal on hold for 6 months.
Investment program experts suggested she consider Caribbean citizenship-by-investment programs since they provide the fastest way to visa-free travels to Europe, including the Schengen states, as well as many countries in Asia.
The investor had a strictly limited budget — and that was another reason to choose a Caribbean country to obtain a second passport in.
Citizenship-by-investment programs in the Caribbean have a relatively low contribution threshold, starting from a $100,000 contribution to a national fund in Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, and St Lucia.
Aside from the contribution, participants in citizenship-by-investment programs also pay fees for application processing and Due Diligence.
The Due Diligence fee is the same in all three countries Yildiz considered — $7,500. The state fee, however, is significantly higher in Antigua and Barbuda than in the other two states — $30,000.
Comparison of costs for obtaining Caribbean citizenship
Since the investment conditions were roughly the same for both St Lucia and Dominica, Immigrant Invest specialists suggested that Yildiz compared the countries’ tax systems.
Tax residents in St Lucia don’t pay taxes on global income and pay 0—30% on income earned within the country. In Dominica, both global and internal income is charged at 15—25%.
If Yildiz were ever to buy a house in the Caribbean, she would have to pay a tax on property purchase — 2% in St Lucia against 10,5% in Dominica.
Yildiz was open to changing tax residency and purchasing investment real estate in the Caribbean in the future, and St Lucia’s conditions looked more favourable. Besides, Yildiz had previously visited St Lucia for vacation and loved the island, which was another reason to opt for St Lucia citizenship by investment.
Preparing to apply for St Lucia citizenship and preventing potential questions from the CBI unit
Before signing a Service Agreement with a client, Immigrant Invest runs a Preliminary Due Diligence check to identify and eliminate the risks of refusal.
There were a couple of things that potentially could become obstacles for Yildiz on the way to her second citizenship:
Since she quit her corporate job, she didn’t have a stable source of income.
She wasn’t in touch with her relatives, which could complicate the background check.
If Yildiz had sent a standard package of documents to the CBI unit without any additional papers explaining the reasons for her complications, she would get a follow-up request from the authorities to provide more documents.
Any St Lucia CBI unit requests would significantly extend the process and add to the waiting time. That is why it was important to gather papers to answer any potential questions of the CBI unit and overcome objections.
Taking into account the complications of the case and the hurry, Immigrant Invest specialists helped the investor prepare a comprehensive package of documents, which included:
preparing Yildiz’s detailed CV;
estimating her assets;
creating cover letters to describe the sources of the client’s funds;
drawing up and notarizing an affidavit to explain why Yildiz could not provide information about her relatives.
The preparations were completed in under two weeks since Yildiz contacted Immigrant Invest. Lawyers had to prepare the papers quickly so that the investor could obtain her second passport in less than 6 months and still have some backup time before the meetings with European partners.
Step-by-step walkthrough of obtaining St Lucia citizenship in under 6 months
In total, it took Yildiz around 6 months to obtain citizenship in St Lucia, including two background checks, document preparation, application, fulfilment of the investment condition and, finally, delivery of documents.
Visa-free business trips with a St Lucia passport
Once Yildiz got her St Lucia passport, she could finally fully launch her company and start negotiating with potential partners in person — we made it in time for her to get back to her partners and sign the deals in person. The young entrepreneur can travel anywhere for business without worrying about visas.
The list of countries Yildiz can travel to includes all the Schengen states. Now, most European countries are available for Yildiz visa-free for short trips of up to 90 days every half a year, which is plenty for business purposes.
Above the Schengen Area, Yildiz can also travel visa-free to the UK, Singapore, Macao, the CARICOM countries, and others. In total, there are over 140 countries that allow visa-free or simplified entry for St Lucia citizens.
Now that she has a St Lucia passport, Yildiz is considering changing tax residency — this way, she won’t have to pay tax on any income outside of St Lucia. In Turkey, her foreign and internal income is taxed at 27%. If she changes her tax residency to St Lucia, she will only pay that 27% for the income from Turkey.
Finally, Yildiz can now freely visit St Lucia at any desired time and even build her new home here if she wants to.
This case was provided by our expert
Investment programs expert
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