Arabs like Caribbean citizenship deals

BASSETERRE, St Kitts and Nevis, Thursday December 20, 2012 - St Kitts and Nevis, followed by Dominica and then Bulgaria, are the fastest emerging popular immigration destinations for residents of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to an expert in the field. 

The UAE is an Arab country in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf and has the seventh largest oil reserve in the world.

“The increase is tremendous,” online newspaper Emirates 24/7 quoted Pej Mohyedddin an immigration consultant at Bayat Legal Services as saying.

Bayat Legal Servces is a Business and Immigration Law firm in the UAE.

According to the newspaper the benefits of becoming a resident of these countries are great: “There are good chances of obtaining citizenship, visa-free travel options to many countries and a fairly easy application process, with relatively little requirement from applicants,” it said.

But according to the newspaper, the program is not for everyone; only for investors. “These programs are designed for high-net worth investors whose priority is not to migrate but get citizenship or second passports,” Sohail Saleem, general manager of Premiers Consultancy in the UAE told Emirates 24/7.

Access to citizenship in St Kitts and Nevis can reportedly be gained through a minimum non-refundable donation of US$250,000 to the Sugar Industry Diversification Fund (SIDF) (plus US$7,500 due diligence and government fees), and an applicant can gain citizenship and a passport within as little as three to five months.

 A second option is investment in real estate, where the single applicant purchases a property with a minimum value of US$400,000 in addition to a non-refundable minimum donation of US$50,000 to the government.

 “This passport guarantees visa-free travel to over 130 countries including the United Kingdom, Schengen countries and Canada. There are no language requirements and the applicant does not need to show up for an interview. He does not need to visit the country at any point,” explained Pej.

On the other hand, it was reported that applicants for Dominican citizenship need to speak English and are required to travel to the island for an interview at least once. “If the family of the immigrant is involved, a second visit is required. The citizenship and passport processing will take 5-9 months, and visa-free travel to 70 countries is guaranteed,” it said.

“This investment is non-refundable and requires a minimum of US$100,000 plus government fees and due diligence for a single applicant,” explained Pej to Emirates 24/7.

However, Sohail suggested that with the recent announcement of the European Commission to grant visa-free travel to the Schengen area to Dominican passport holders that immigration to Dominica will soon start to gain in popularity.

It was estimated that in 2012 alone an approximate 1500 people have applied for the investment program in St. Kitts and Nevis and 500 for Dominica, worldwide. Although no official numbers were given, the number of passports issued by St. Kitts and Nevis must be over 2000, suggested Pej.

 For the three countries together Premiers Consultancy said that it had submitted 204 clients’ cases in 2012. “A 115 are already processed, with only 4 rejections based on non-compliance with security/background clearance criteria. 89 applications are still in process and the security clearance stage was passed successfully by all, hence all these cases will get through in due time,” commented Sohail.  Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)