St. Kitts & Nevis Take Control Of Pay For Passport Programme.

Photo credit: Visa agents make fat fees for helping people to submit visa applications, but you might be able to do it yourself.
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The St. Kitts & Nevis government has taken steps to clamp down on overseas agents selling Citizenship by Investment visas and passports for unauthorized  prices.

Now all overseas visa agents will have to be registered with the St. Kitts & Nevis authorities, and will only be able to charge such fees as are authorized by the government.

The agents, whose job is to market the programme to suitable investors, will be regulated by the St. Kitts & Nevis government, and presumably will be paid sales commissions according to a scale permitted by the governing authority.

At the present time some visa agents who advertise online seen by the SKNO state that they charge a US$7500 “processing fee” for helping to prepare and submit visa documents.

The new guidelines were highlighted in this week’s edition of the SKNIS programme InFocus, which featured a discussion with Michael Martin, Head of the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU).

Mr. Martin highlighted that accurate and timely information is important to ensure brand consistency.

“We don’t want people out there advertising that we are selling passports, that you can get them for an amount that is not in the regulations. We don’t want people out there spreading false information about the programme, and so we have inserted into our regulation some new measures to deal with those kinds of eventualities,” he stated.

One such measure will allow enhanced actions to be taken to address issues by agents based overseas.

“Going forward, international marketing agents also will have to be registered in St. Kitts and Nevis. That, of course, puts them under our jurisdiction and makes it easier for us to take the necessary legal action should there be a need,” said Mr. Martin.

Due diligence regulations have also been strengthened as the government implements reforms to ensure the safety and integrity of the CBI at all levels.

Due diligence means an examination of the individuals (lack of a) criminal record, and checking that they have a reputable business background and are not engaged in money-laudering or other nefarious activities.

As part of their application, applicants must obtain various documents proving their identity, moral character, health, and source of funds. Each of these documents must either be submitted in original form or via a certified and legalised copy.

It is not clear how much due diligence checks cost or if they are part of the “processing fee”.

As of 29 July 2023, citizens of Saint Kitts and Nevis had visa-free or visa on arrival access (including eTAs) to 154 countries and territories, ranking the Saint Kitts and Nevis passport 24th in the world in terms of travel freedom according to the Henley Passport Index.

Source: SKNIS.
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