Our client Armen wanted to obtain St Kitts and Nevis citizenship in order to travel with his family around the world. However, his father had a criminal record, and the St Kitts government carefully checks the biographies of investors and their relatives. As a result, Armen’s application would normally be refused.
The well-written and clearly structured affidavit helped Armen pass the Due Diligence test for St Kitts and Nevis. We will discuss the arguments used by our lawyers that helped Armen and his family get approval in record time, just a month later.
Circumstances and goals of clients
Armen and Elinar jointly own a real estate agency in Yerevan and they are also involved in charity work. Elinar has her own foundation, which supports large families. Armen does not manage the foundation, but he regularly donates and helps find sponsors.
The couple have two sons: 7-year-old David and 6-year-old Norik. Armen wants them to grow up as international citizens fluent in several languages, see the world and in the future decide for themselves where and how to live.
Elinar suggested to her husband to obtain a second citizenship. Her friends travel freely around the world with a St Kitts and Nevis passport, and their children study at foreign universities.
When Elinar and Armen’s children grow up, they will also be eligible to apply to any university in the world with a second citizenship. Furthermore, if they are accepted at a university abroad, with a Caribbean passport they can receive a student residence permit in the European Union, Britain or the United States. In contrast, students without a second passport often have to apply for a student visa at the local consulate in their country, which can take months to be issued.
The couple contacted Immigrant Invest on August 12, 2020. They wanted to know how to obtain St Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment.
We want our children to see different countries and get to know other cultures. We want them to grow up as versatile and free individuals who decide for themselves where and how to live, study and work.
The risk of refusal: how our lawyers discovered it in time
Immigrant Invest is the only company in the industry with its own compliance department. Before the client enters into an agreement with our company, the anti-money laundering compliance officer at Immigrant Invest conducts a preliminary due diligence check.
This preliminary Due Diligence check helps in the following ways:
- possible risks of refusal when submitting an application are immediately identified;
- a program that solves the client's problems is selected;
- a list is compiled of the required documents that will need to be verified later during the government’s Due Diligence process.
What does the preliminary Due Diligence check at Immigrant Invest entail
During the preliminary check, our lawyer noticed a problem. Armen's father had been convicted of a criminal offense in 1980. In 1985, the charge was dropped under the terms of an amnesty in 1985.
The Due Diligence procedure in St Kitts and Nevis is known to be strict. The government values the good reputation of its passport and carefully selects investors to participate in the citizenship by investment program.
The criminal record of Armen’s father was a sufficient reason for the investor to be denied citizenship. Moreover, if Armen’s application was rejected, he would no longer be able to participate in the citizenship or residence permit programs of other countries.
The approach taken by Immigrant Invest’s lawyers
Our lawyers specializing in international and economic law analyzed Armen's situation. They recommended a solution to minimize the risk of rejection by preparing an affidavit. The affidavit explained in detail the reasons why the investor was compliant with the laws of St Kitts and Nevis and the terms of their citizenship by investment program. They also added supporting documents to the application.
Armen agreed with the variant of using an affidavit in the application. The couple signed an agreement with Immigrant Invest to participate in the St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment program.
We are often faced with the fact that the client needs more documents to successfully pass the Due Diligence in the country of the citizenship by investment program: for example, an affidavit that is not included in the standard package of documents. Therefore, we draw up the list of documents required for the government’s Due Diligence based on the preliminary check carried out by us.
The extra documents do not result in additional costs for the client: the cost of Immigrant Invest’s services includes full legal support.
Head of the Legal Department
The arguments used by Immigrant Invest’s lawyers to support Armen’s candidacy
The affidavit was based on three arguments.
1. Armen was not involved in his father's activities. Armen was born in 1973 and was six years old when his father was convicted. Armen could not have known about his father's activities or have participated in them.
Armen’s father was subsequently pardoned, which means that he was not convicted of a particularly serious crime. The state dropped the charges against him in 1985.
2. The couple own a legal business with a good reputation. Armen and Elinar opened a real estate agency together in 2013. They provided the lawyers with the company registration document.
The capital of the company grew based on legal income and investments, and the development of the business was clearly traced. Our lawyers attached documents confirming the company’s transactions to the affidavit: copies of contracts with partners and clients, as well tax and accounting reports of the company. None of the partners or clients of the real estate agency are involved in the criminal past of Armen's father.
3. Charitable donations by Armen and Elinar. This was confirmed by their charitable activities. They donated some of the income from their agency to various funds. Armen also never broke the law, which was confirmed by the no criminal record certificate.
The application was approved in 1 month
The affidavit resulted in our clients’ application being approved by the government department dealing with citizenship by investment in record time. Without the affidavit, the department would either have rejected the application or requested additional information about Armen. The application would have taken at least six months to complete.
Collection of documents. Our lawyers prepared the documents required for the Due Diligence by the department issuing citizenships in St Kitts and Nevis in 1.5 weeks. In addition to the affidavit, they attached the following documents to the application:
- copies of the family’s passports;
- no criminal record certificates;
- the couple’s bank statements for the past 12 months;
- a copy of their marriage certificate;
- copies of the birth;
- certificates of their children;
- a copy of Armen's military ID;
- certificates with their;
- HIV test results.
The St Kitts and Nevis government has simplified the application process during the Covid-19 pandemic. The department starts considering investor applications as soon as it receives copies of the required documents in electronic form. Immigrant Invest’s lawyers first filled out the application form and uploaded scans of the documents to a secure internet portal. They then sent the original documents to St Kitts and Nevis by courier.
However, Armen and Elinar’s applications were approved in record time, in just 1 month. The department accepted our lawyers' affidavit without further inquiries.
Investment. To participate in the program, the couple chose the option of a non-refundable contribution to the Sustainable Development Fund. After taking advantage of the discount offered for families of four, they contributed $150,000 instead of $195,000.
$164,544 — cost for the family to participate in the program
The Due Diligence fee is paid before the application is submitted, and the rest of the costs are paid after the application is approved. The couple made the payment by bank transfer to the government department's account in St Kitts and Nevis.
Passport and naturalization certificate. The family received their passports and naturalization certificates by courier on November 3, 2020. The citizenship procedure from the time the couple contacted Immigrant Invest took three months.
The future of a cosmopolitan family with St Kitts and Nevis passports
Armen and Elinar received citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis in record time. The relevant government department completed the Due Diligence check in just one month, while the procedure usually takes a minimum of three months.
The citizenship by investment program was processed faster because Immigrant Invest’s lawyers prepared a comprehensive package of documents in advance. As a result of the preliminary Due Diligence check with Immigrant Invest and the clearly structured affidavit, Armen's candidacy was approved without additional requests for information from the St Kitts and Nevis department dealing with citizenship by investment.
The family received their second passports in November 2020, when most countries in the world closed their borders again due to the pandemic. Armen and Elinar decided to postpone travelling until the risks related to the Covid-19 pandemic had receded. However, this does not stop them from making plans.
The couple have already chosen a summer language school for their children in the UK. The school is located in the suburbs of London and apart from lessons, the children will also go on excursions to the city center: they will see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and visit Madame Tussauds Museum and the Tower of London.
Armen and Elinar also promised the children that they would take them to Disneyland in Paris. Their sons dream of riding a roller coaster.
With a St Kitts and Nevis passport, the couple will be able to travel without a visa to 156 countries, including the Schengen area, countries in the Caribbean, Singapore and Hong Kong. During the pandemic, they also have the right to travel to Europe for a valid reason, such as business, studies or medical treatment.
We have given a detailed account of all the possibilities for travelling without a visa in our article "Which countries can be visited without visas with a St Kitts and Nevis passport".