Maxim is an artist from Minsk who often performs in the EU. In February 2021, he decided to obtain a second citizenship for himself and for his entire large family.
Before the Covid pandemic, Maxim used to perform in Europe on average fifteen times a year: he was often invited to Riga, Prague and Berlin. When the pandemic began, he had to turn down ten performances because he was unable to get a visa.
Moreover, the pandemic also affected the planning of events: he used to receive invitations to perform a couple of months before the concert, but now the event organisers often send him an invitation just two days before the performance. Even if it was possible to apply for a visa, it would be too late by the time he got it.
In order not to continue losing income, Maxim decided to get a second passport that would allow him visa-free travel to the EU. On February 8, 2021, he contacted Immigrant Invest on the recommendation of a friend.
Maxim's family of twelve all needed second passports
Preliminary Due Diligence
Before selecting a citizenship program, Immigrant Invest’s lawyers carried out a preliminary Due Diligence check on Maxim. Maxim's financial sources are transparent: he receives income only from his performances, he is registered as an individual entrepreneur and pays his taxes on time. He has no previous convictions or visa refusals.
As a result, after completing the preliminary Due Diligence, Immigrant Invest’s lawyers told Maxim that he could participate in any citizenship by investment program and that in their opinion there was a 99% probability that his application for a second passport would be successful.
Choosing a citizenship program
Maxim was prepared to invest $600,000 in return for second passports for the whole family. He needed a passport that would allow him to travel to the Schengen countries without a visa. Maxim also wanted to recover most of the initial investment later on.
Immigrant Invest’s lawyers advised Maxim to select one of the five Caribbean citizenship programs: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis.
Caribbean passports allow the holder to visit more than 140 countries throughout the world without a visa, including the Schengen countries, Britain, Hong Kong and Singapore. Citizens of the Caribbean countries can also quickly and easily get a tourist visa to the United States for 10 years.
Each of the Caribbean programs offers an option which allows the initial investment to be returned. They all offer the option of buying properties that can be sold after five or seven years. St Lucia, in addition to real estate, allows participation in its citizenship by investment program through the purchase of government bonds for five years.
Until the end of 2022, there is a 50% discount for participating in St Lucia’s citizenship by investment program by purchasing government bonds. Investments in these securities are returned at the end of the holding period, after five or seven years. The investment horizon depends on the amount of investment.
Head of Caribbean citizenship investment programs
St Lucia’ Citizenship by Investment Unit announced changes for investors since Jan. 1, 2023: new bond purchase offer — $300,000 instead of regular government bonds for $500,00.
Why Maxim chose St Lucia citizenship
Maxim selected the option of buying St Lucia government bonds for three reasons:
- Under each option, the investor pays a non-refundable state fee. The sunk costs when buying real estate to participate in the citizenship program are higher than when buying government bonds. For comparison, in the option of buying real estate in Dominica, the fees were $176,000 in total, whereas they were just $67,500 for investors purchasing St Lucia’s government bonds.
- The total costs of purchasing government bonds in St Lucia are minimal, and only the option of buying real estate in Dominica costs less.
- Investors who buy real estate pay taxes and sometimes also pay for the services of the management company for the entire period of ownership, i.e., for five years. Maxim did not want to spend money on paying these taxes for the entire investment period.
Investment in St Lucia’s government bonds for a family of 12
|Investment horizon||Discounted until December 31, 2022||Investment that would be required without a discount|
Immigrant Invest’s lawyers have calculated the cost of participation in the program for the investor's family.
An investor with a wife and two children needs to invest $250,000. For each family member starting from the fifth member, the investor additionally invests $15,000 in bonds. Also, the investor pays an administrative fee of $30,000 and a Due Diligence fee of $37,500. The total cost is $422,500.
What kinds of difficulties arose during the preparation stage
Collecting the required documents for participation in the St. Lucia citizenship program usually takes 2-3 weeks. In Maxim's case, it took five months to prepare the necessary package of documents.
The process was delayed due to the preparation of documents for Maxim's children from his first marriage. Maxim’s ex-wife was initially not willing to cooperate. According to the requirements of the program, consent for participation in the program of minor children has to be signed by both parents at the same time at the Consulate of St Lucia.
Immigrant Invest’s lawyers explained to Maxim's ex-wife why a second citizenship could be important for the future of her children. For example, with a St Lucia passport, it would be easier to obtain a student residence permit to study in Europe and the UK.
Maxim's ex-wife eventually agreed to come to the Consulate of St Lucia in Moscow to sign together with Maxim the required documents for her children to participate in the application.
Our lawyers submitted Maxim’s application to the department in charge of the St Lucia citizenship program at the beginning of June 2021. At the same time that we submitted the documents, Maxim paid $37,500 for the Due Diligence check.
Three months later, the citizenship by investment program department approved Maxim's application without making any requests for additional information or clarification. Immigrant Invest’s lawyers had prepared a comprehensive set of documents, which confirmed the family ties and financial dependence of all family members included in the application on the investor.
The relevant government department in St Lucia sent their approval of the application to Immigrant Invest, and our lawyers informed the investor. Maxim then transferred the agreed investment contribution to the account at the citizenship department.
When the Bank of St Lucia confirmed receipt of Maxim’s investment, the department notified the St Lucia Ministry of Finance. The ministry prepared and issued an electronic certificate of ownership of a government bond worth $355,000 in Maxim’s name and Maxim received the state bond in electronic form.
Obtaining St Lucia citizenship
Three weeks after approving the citizenship application, the department sent all 12 passports and certificates of citizenship to Immigrant Invest’s office. On September 12, Maxim received the St Lucia passport for himself and his family.
In April 2028, two months before the end of the agreed minimum bond investment period, Immigrant Invest’s lawyers will remind Maxim that he can redeem the bonds and recover most of his initial investment.
Stages of Maxim's participation in the St Lucia citizenship program
Maxim and his family’s life with St Lucia citizenship
Maxim has already performed in Berlin and Munich since getting his second passport. During the Christmas holidays, he performed in Prague. His wife accompanied him for his performances. Maxim's children and mother-in-law joined them for the winter holidays. The whole family used their St Lucia second passports to travel to the EU.
I am not only performing but also writing my own scripts. It’s a shame to be stuck in your own country, while others are reading your text. With a second passport, I make the presentation myself. Anyone who works in the entertainment industry will understand me when I say that performing yourself with your own script is the same as publishing your own book.
38 years old, entertainer and investor
Every time Maxim goes to perform in Berlin, he finds time to take a walk in the city centre. He likes to wander and take photographs in front of the Brandenburg Gate. These photographs later rekindle Maxim’s memories of his numerous visits and performances in Berlin.
In 2021, Maxim made it to the Oktoberfest in Munich, the largest folk festival in the world. He took his eldest sons with him to the festival.
Maxim's younger children were delighted to spend the New Year's holidays in Prague. Outddor skating rinks, New Year's fairs and markets, and fireworks: even adults can feel the fairy tale atmosphere there.