2019
Reading Time: 5 min

St Lucia passport for an entrepreneur from Tunisia to travel on business to the UK and Schengen without visas

Things were going well: I regularly opened new pharmacies and started to have more business meetings abroad. But the necessity to apply for visas was a bottleneck. My business and income depended on whether I received a visa on time. It bothered me, and I decided to change it.

Aisha

Aisha,

Entrepreneur, owner of a network of pharmacies

Clients’ names and photos have been changed

St Lucia citizenship by investment for visa-free travel on business

This case was provided by our expert

Lyle Julien
Lyle Julien

Investment programs expert

St Lucia passport for an entrepreneur from Tunisia to travel on business to the UK and Schengen without visas

Aisha’s goals: why obtain second citizenship?

Aisha is a pharmacist and businesswoman from Tunisia. She owns a network of chemist shops and continues developing her business in her home country and abroad. Aisha travels extensively in Europe and often attends business events in the UK.

Recently, Aisha had to cancel an important meeting because her UK visa was issued with a delay. And her colleague’s visa application was rejected for some undisclosed reason. This situation almost led to the loss of a contract and, thus, the potential profit. Aisha wanted to prevent such an outcome and started looking for ways of not depending on visas and the work of consulates.

Aisha discovered that she could obtain a second passport of a country with a visa waiver agreement with the UK. She turned to Immigrant Invest for us to help her choose the most suitable option and achieve her goal.

Choosing a way: why the St Lucia citizenship by investment program?

To gain visa-free access to the UK and Schengen, Aisha could participate in various investment programs, both residence and citizenship. But programs differ in costs and time to obtain status, and our task was to find the optimal solution for Aisha.

Malta citizenship by investment was the first option considered. A Malta passport would solve Aisha’s tasks perfectly but at a too high cost. The minimum investment amount was €880,000, which did not fit Aisha’s budget.

Malta Individual Investor Programme was closed in 2020

The Malta citizenship by investment program is no longer functioning. Instead, investors can apply for Malta citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment.

Aisha could also apply for a residence permit in one of the EU countries, such as Portugal, Greece, or Malta. On a residence card of any of these countries, one is allowed to visit the UK visa-free. However, Great Britain has recently claimed to leave the European Union.

We warned Aisha that visa waiver agreements between the UK and EU countries might be reviewed. EU residence permit holders might lose their privileges of visiting the UK freely after Brexit goes into effect, and Aisha decided not to take such a risk.

Travel to the UK for EU residents after Brexit

Since January 1st, 2021, holders of EU residence permits are no longer allowed to go to the United Kingdom without a visa. EU citizens may come to Britain visa-free but only for short trips of up to 90 days.

Another way out was to get a passport of one of the Caribbean countries or Vanuatu. Five Caribbean countries — Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia and St Kitts and Nevis — offer citizenship by investment with expenses less than $200,000. And the same is true about Vanuatu, a country from Oceania.

A passport of any Caribbean country or Vanuatu may lead Aisha to achieve her goals. Holders of these passports may enter the UK without visas and stay for up to 180 days in a row or per year. In the Schengen Area, they can spend up to 90 days each half a year.

Comparison of the investment programs suitable for Aisha

Country

Minimum investment amount

Total expenses for a single investor

$150,000

$160,000+

$150,000

$160,000+

$100,000

$140,000+

$130,000

$135,000+

$100,000

$110,000+

$100,000

$110,000+

As these six investment programs suited Aisha equally, she decided to save money by selecting the least expensive option, which was Dominica’s and St Lucia’s programs. At first sight, these two programs are identical, but there are some nuances.

Aisha was considering transferring her business headquarters to her new country of citizenship in the future. She explored the opportunities to reduce her tax burden.

Companies registered in St Lucia pay income tax only on profit generated within the country. In contrast, legal entities registered in Dominica pay income tax on the profit developed both within and outside the country. Thus, St Lucia’s tax residency seemed more attractive to Aisha, so she chose to participate in this country’s citizenship program.

Under the St Lucia CBI Program, Aisha is to invest $100,000 in the state fund. The investment is one-time and non-refundable and grants a foreigner a lifelong status of a St Lucia citizen.

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Getting a status: how much money and time did it take?

Preliminary Due Diligence. Our compliance Anti Money Laundering Officer ran a check on Aisha’s biography and business to make sure her citizenship application had a good chance of being approved.

Vladlena Baranova

Vladlena Baranova,

Lawyer, AML Compliance officer, certified CAMS specialist

Aisha’s business has proved to be legal. She pays taxes on time and in full and has never been sued. And Aisha has never been denied a visa. Visa denial is a “red flag” and a severe risk when applying for a second passport. It’s good that Aisha turned to us without waiting for the visa situation to worsen.

Collecting documents, applying. Immigrant Invest lawyers gave Aisha the list of documents she needed to submit: passport, birth certificate, photos, clean criminal records, and bank statements.

We filed an application form for Aisha, translated all the documents into English, and verified and submitted them to the St Lucia program CBI unit.

At this stage, Aisha also paid the fees: $7,500 for the Due Diligence check and $2,000 for processing forms.

Undergoing Due Diligence and getting approval. In St Lucia, Aisha’s application was processed for 4 months. When they made a positive decision, they notified us by email, and we shared the good news with Aisha.

Making an investment. Aisha transferred $100,000 to the National Economic Fund of St Lucia from her Tunisian bank account. The investment was confirmed within 2 weeks, and the bank commission was $100.

Taking the oath of allegiance. As a new citizen of St Lucia, Aisha was required to take the oath. Yet, it was optional to fly to St Lucia to do it. During another business trip, Aisha took the oath at the High Commission of St Lucia in London.

Receiving a passport. A St Lucia passport and a naturalisation certificate were issued to Aisha and delivered by courier to a convenient address in Tunisia.

$110,350 and 6 months were spent by Aisha to get St Lucia citizenship

1
March 2019

Preliminary Due Diligence

2
+ 1 month

Collecting documents, applying$9,500

3
+ 4 months

Undergoing Due Diligence, getting approval

4
+ 2 weeks

Making an investment$100,100

5
+ 1 week

Taking the oath of allegiance

6
+ 1 week, the end of September 2019

Receiving a passport$750

The outcome: did Aisha achieve what she wanted?

After obtaining St Lucia citizenship, Aisha no longer needed to worry about visas. She became more flexible in terms of attending business meetings and soon made new partners.

Aisha started to go on vacations more often, as she now doesn’t have to plan her holidays thoroughly.

Aisha’s opportunities before and after obtaining a St Lucia passport

Before

After

❌ Visa required to the UK

✅ Visa-free access to the UK and stay for up to 180 days

❌ Visa required to Schengen

✅ Visa-free access to Schengen and stay for up to 90 days out of 180

❌ Only 71 visa-free destination

✅ More than 140 visa-free destinations

❌ Risk of missing a business meeting or conference in Europe due to the visa delay or denial

✅ Opportunity to make business plans without fear of them being thwarted

✅ Opportunity to register a company in St Lucia and reduce the tax burden

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for government programs in the European Union and the Caribbean.

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