Samvel's children were preparing to move to the European Union to study in Austria and Germany from September 2021. Samvel and his wife wanted to go with their children. To do this, they would not need a visa: the family has a residence permit in Latvia.
Latvian residence permit cards need to be renewed every year. But in 2021, branches of the Latvian Migration Service temporarily did not issue new cards. The spouses were faced with a choice: to wait for the reissue of residence permit cards or apply for a Schengen visa. In any case, there was a risk that the children would go to Europe alone.
Samvel chose the third option: to get a second passport of a Caribbean country, with which you can enter the Schengen countries without a visa. In order to obtain citizenship before the start of the school year, the investor used the accelerated application processing service.
Learn how an additional request from the CBI unit almost thwarted the family's plans and why the investor was helped by an affidavit from lawyers.
Why Samvel decided to get St Kitts and Nevis citizenship
In 2018, Samvel with his wife and three children got temporary residence permits in Latvia. The family spent summer and winter vacations in Jurmala. They also used Latvian residence permit cards for visa-free travel in the Schengen area: several times the whole family vacated in Italy and France, Samvel visited exhibitions of building and finishing materials in Italy, Germany and Sweden.
Since 2020, the eldest son Andranik has been preparing for admission to the Central European University in Vienna, Austria. The younger siblings, Virab and Petros, also had to move to the European Union, but to Germany to study at the private boarding Schule Schloss Salem school.
Samvel and his wife wanted to go to Europe with their sons to help settle into a new place. To do this, they planned to use Latvian residence permit cards, which allow them to spend up to 90 days in six months in the Schengen countries without a visa.
Residence permit cards must be renewed annually: in 2021, their validity period expired in June. Samvel applied for an extension in March, and a month later the family received approval. But the reissue of cards was delayed indefinitely as the offices of the country's migration service temporarily did not print cards due to the pandemic.
Without residence permit cards, the couple would have to obtain a Schengen visa. It would take several more weeks to prepare the documents. In a pandemic, waiting for a decision on a visa could drag on for several months.
Samvel learned that the holders of the passports of the Caribbean country Saint Kitts and Nevis also visit Schengen countries without a visa as they can spend up to 90 days there in half a year. At the same time, citizenship, in contrast to a residence permit, is issued for life.
In June, Samvel applied to Immigrant Invest. He wanted to get Caribbean passports for the whole family before the start of the school year.
How fast is the procedure for granting St Kitts and Nevis citizenship
The St Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Program has been operating since 1984. For almost forty years of work of the program, its procedures have been repeatedly improved. Since 2016, investors can obtain citizenship under the Accelerated Application Process in two months. This is one of the fastest routes to a second passport in the world.
Term of obtaining citizenship. The standard period for making a decision on an application for citizenship of Saint Kitts and Nevis is from three to six months. But the investor can benefit from the Accelerated Application Process (AAP) and receive a passport within 60 days from the date of application.
The cost of the AAP. The service is paid:
- $25,500 — investor’s fee;
- $20,500 — fee for each family member over 16 years old.
Samvel applied to Immigrant Invest on June 7th, 2021. The children were just under three months before the start of the school year. Taking into account the time required to prepare the documents and the AAP, the family managed to obtain second passports in order to travel to Austria and Germany together.
The couple decided to take the opportunity. Samvel signed an agreement with Immigrant Invest to participate in the Saint Kitts and Nevis CBI program.
Why the investor needed an affidavit from lawyers
Applicants for citizenship by investment undergo Due Diligence. It is run by the Citizenship By Investment (CBI) unit in Saint Kitts and Nevis. To pass the check, the investor provides:
- Copies of valid passports and residence cards of all family members.
- Police clearance certificates for all family members over 16 years old. Certificates are needed from the country of first citizenship and all countries where the investor has lived over the past 10 years.
- Bank statement for the last year.
- Information about the investor's business, wages and taxes.
- A complete history of the investor's wealth with a list of assets held.
- Copies of certificates of marriage and birth of children.
- Confirmation of the financial dependence of family members on the investor.
- A copy of the military ID.
- References with HIV test results of all family members.
Samvel could not provide copies of Latvian residence permit cards: he had only expired cards in his hands. Therefore, the Immigrant Invest lawyers compiled an affidavit, in which they explained the situation.
The lawyers attached to the affidavit a copy of a letter from the Latvian Migration Service approving the extension of the family residence permit.
Samvel's application for St Kitts and Nevis citizenship
The preparation of the documents took three weeks. During this time, lawyers prepared an affidavit, collected the necessary copies and certificates, translated documents into English, certified and apostilled copies of documents.
Fees are paid before the application is made, because payment receipts are included in the required package of documents.
The AAP and Due Diligence fees apply only to applicants over 16 years of age. Samvel's family has three such applicants: himself, his wife and the eldest son Andranik, who at the time of filing the application turned 17.
For the middle and youngest son, Samvel paid a passport fee and a fee for processing the forms only.
St Kitts and Nevis citizenship cost: $85,055 to apply for citizenship
Application for citizenship. The lawyers uploaded the application form and scanned documents to the secure online portal of the CBI unit. The originals were mailed to Saint Kitts and Nevis on the same day.
The CBI unit began to consider Samvel's application as soon as it received the scanned documents.
How an additional request from the CBI unit almost thwarted the investor's plans
Samvel owns a plant for the production of building materials. The plant sometimes fulfills orders from clients in Crimea. Companies that have customers or partners in Crimearnare often subject to US sanctions. As a result, their owners cannot pass bank Due Diligence at US and EU financial institutions.
The Due Diligence in the CBI unit takes into account the presence of the investor or his business on the sanctions lists. If 80% of the profit of the investor's company is income from cooperation with Crimean companies, such an investor will not pass the Due Diligence in CBI units of the Caribbean countries.
During Samvel's Due Diligence, the St Kitts and Nevis CBI unit decided to clarify what share of his company's revenue comes from orders from Crimea.
The Immigrant Invest lawyers prepared another affidavit upon the request from the CBI unit. They attached documents that confirm that the income from orders of Crimean contractors amounted to only 7% of the revenue of Samvel's company in 2020. The investor and his business were not included in the sanctions lists.
It took a week to prepare the affidavit and supporting documents. The lawyers sent scans of documents to the department by email, and then the originals were sent to Saint Kitts and Nevis.
The CBI unit immediately took the information into account on the affidavit, so the additional request did not affect the timing of the application. In a normal situation, the investor's application would be postponed until the originals are received and the processing time would increase by at least a month.
The second citizenship in three months from the date of contacting Immigrant Invest
The approval from the CBI unit. Samvel received approval on August 13th, seven weeks after the application was submitted.
Fulfillment of investment conditions. As an investment, Samvel made a non-refundable contribution to the Saint Kitts and Nevis Sustainable Development Fund.
Until the end of 2021, investors could save 25% on contributions if the investor receives citizenship with a family of four people. For five, Samvel paid $160,000 instead of $205,000.
The investor also paid $700 bank commission and fees to produce naturalization certificates for the entire family. Samvel's total expenses for the second passports for five people amounted to $245,755.
Passports and naturalization certificates were received by mail on August 27th, 2021. The procedure took three months from the date of contacting Immigrant Invest.
Visa-free travel to Europe with St Kitts and Nevis passports
Samvel and his family flew to Austria on August 28th. The family spent the weekend in Vienna walking around the city, visiting the oldest zoo in the world and the Prater amusement park.
The couple rented a studio apartment in Vienna near the university campus for their eldest son in advance. Andranik stayed in Austria, while the investor with his wife and younger sons went to Germany. The spouses stayed in Salem until the end of September. On weekends, they picked up the boys from school to spend time together.
In November Samvel visited an exhibition in London. He wanted to take his business internationally and find clients in Europe. To travel, he did not need a visa: St Kitts and Nevis passport visa free destinations include the UK. Samvel can stay in the country for up to six months.
The family celebrated New Year’s Eve in Mallorca; as citizens of Saint Kitts and Nevis, they also did not need a visa to visit Spain.
We described all the advantages of a second passport in the article "Citizenship of Saint Kitts and Nevis by Investment: All About the Program and the Country".