Due Diligence: An Imperative
The priority of any government is the protection and sustainability of its people and its territory. Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) is committed to up keeping the principles of sovereignty while simultaneously facilitating the development of the island through direct foreign investment.
Prime Minister of Saint Lucia Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony said “We have taken considerable time to study the industry – its characteristics, its pitfalls, the criticisms, the praises, the errors made – and to ensure that we learnt best from those that went before us.” Those best practices shaped the application and approval processes used in the Citizenship by Investment Unit.
As stated in the Citizenship by Investment Act No. 14 of 2015 and the Citizenship by Investment Regulations No. 89 of 2015, all applications must be submitted through an authorized agent. The following are the requirements for a principal applicant:
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Have a net worth of at least US$3, 000, 000
- Satisfy a minimum qualifying investment in one of four categories – Saint Lucia National Economic Fund; approved real estate project; approved enterprise project; or Government Bonds
- Pass a diligence background check. Spouses and dependents over the age of 16 years must also pass a diligence background check
- Must provide full and frank disclosure on all matters pertaining to the application
- Pay the requisite non-refundable processing fee, due diligence and administrative fees upon application
The principal applicant must not:
- Have been convicted of a criminal offense except a minor traffic offence
- Have been denied any category of visa to a country to which Saint Lucia has free visa access and been unsuccessful in subsequently obtaining that visa
- Have been declared bankrupt by a court
- Have been declared by a court or qualified health practitioner to be mentally incapacitated.
The Citizenship by Investment Board will consider an application for citizenship and the outcome may either be to grant, to deny or to delay for cause. It is a guarantee that any applicant who is above the age of 16 and who has failed a due diligence background check will be denied.
Due diligence background checks explore every aspect of an applicant’s history. The check will focus on information that has been disclosed on the application to include whether or not the person has ties to high-risk geographical areas or industries; whether or not the person’s source of wealth is legitimate and verifiable; and whether or not the person is politically exposed or has ties to a politically exposed person.
In addition, the due diligence background check explores areas that are not disclosed on the application to include, but not limited to, negative news on the individual; litigation against the individual; and negative news on known and undisclosed business entities and associates.
It is safe to say that every effort is being made by the Citizenship by Investment Unit to vet every individual over the age of 16 who applies to become a citizen of Saint Lucia. In the exceptional circumstances where an individual is granted citizenship by omitting or falsifying critical information, the Minister may, by order, revoke a grant of citizenship.