LONDON- St Kitts and Nevis has been ranked first within the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and 26th worldwide in terms of its passport’s strength.
This is according to a recent passport index that uses data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to assess how many destinations one can enter with a certain passport without needing a pre-departure visa.
The source says that a holder of a St Kitts and Nevis passport can visit 152 countries and territories visa-free or with a visa-upon-arrival.
The small country’s impressive position in the global rankings was expected, since the twin-island nation’s government has been investing heavily in developing its diplomatic relations over the past few years.
Foreign Minister Mark Brantley is often seen signing visa waivers with countries across Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. It just signed a waiver with the European Republic of Georgia.
He previously commented on the government’s policy to opening more doors for its nationals: “we have committed to making it [the St Kitts and Nevis passport] the most powerful in all of the Caribbean and Latin America as we continue to work at this.”
Luckily for those stuck with a less flexible passport, St Kitts and Nevis has been operating its ‘Platinum Standard’ Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme for 35 years. This allows vetted foreign investors and their families to obtain second citizenship which enables them to apply for the country’s passport.
Importantly, however, obtaining the islands’ citizenship offers more rights besides the added international mobility. New economic citizens can also live, work and study in St Kitts and Nevis, and benefit from the country’s many good medicine universities, a burgeoning tourist sector and many entrepreneurial opportunities.
To qualify for citizenship, applicants must pass certain requirements, the strictest of which is due diligence, classed by FT specialists as one of the strongest amongst all CBI jurisdictions worldwide.
Once “approved in principle”, investors can make a one-off contribution to the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF).
Introduced by Prime Minister Timothy Harris in March last year, SGF is considered the most straightforward route to second citizenship in St Kitts and Nevis as the government can assess the receipt of funds faster and more transparently. SGF funds are designed to support socio-economic initiatives on the islands, which essentially means that applicants are investing in the development of their new adoptive country.