Big price increases, but there is still time to act

4 out of 5 Caribbean countries that sell their citizenship have just announced that they will adhere to a minimum floor of $200,000 for citizenship for the main applicant.

This is a substantial increase for some of these countries.

  • Dominica will increase from $100,000 to $200,000
  • Antigua & Barbuda will increase from $100,000 to $200,000
  • Grenada will increase from $150,000 to at least $200,000
  • Saint Kitts & Nevis is already at $250,000 so this won’t change
  • Saint Lucia did not sign and might stay at $100,000

Why are they doing this?

Due to pressure from the EU and the US.

And what about Saint Lucia which is not complying for now? Its Schengen access may be at risk. We discuss this and more with Laszlo.

But you can still benefit from the old prices

If you were considering a Caribbean citizenship, now is absolutely the time to go for it. If you apply before end June, you can benefit from the old prices.

If you are interested in finding out more, getting a quote, or discussing your options with Laszlo, do get in touch with him. He has been in the citizenship by investment game for close to three decades.

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Transcript of “BREAKING NEWS: Caribbean Citizenship by Investment big price increases”

LADISLAS MAURICE: Hello, everyone. Ladislas Maurice from thewanderinginvestor.com. Today, we’ll be discussing breaking news in the citizenship by investment space together with Laszlo, who’s actually right now in Grenada, one of the Caribbean countries that sells citizenships. Laszlo, how are you?

LASZLO: Good, good, thank you so much. Unfortunately, the sun already went down. I was unable to make a picture of what beautiful place it is, by the way, outside of any kind of business. But this is really beautiful.

Which countries are raison their prices for their passports, and why are they doing this?

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah. And I’m here in Riyadh, actually, one of the biggest markets for the CBI industry. Look, there have been big announcements. There is now apparently going to be a floor, a minimum floor of $200,000 for four out of the five Caribbean countries that sell their citizenships. Laszlo, can you explain why is this happening and what exactly is being put in place right now in which countries, because not all of them are participating in this?

LASZLO: Very simply, the European Union doesn’t like the citizenship programs, and doesn’t like that, at the discounted prices, nearly anybody can get it, irrespective of their criminal background, and so on, and so on, because it’s good money for the countries. So they do not like those countries to forget to do the proper due diligence. And therefore, they are basically threatening these countries that, yes, if you do not behave, there are certain conditions they laid out in January, then you would lose your Schengen visa-free travel, which is a big problem, because then with Schengen, probably the United Kingdom would also decide, okay, let’s revoke the visa-free travel.

And then they sent a warning. They had a meeting in January, as far as I remember. They sent a warning nine days ago or eight days ago, and that they would like to proceed with the decision of making a choice for those countries. And one of the conditions for the acceptance of the citizenship programs or keeping the approval for visa-free travel was the fact that the amounts charged by these countries are too low. They do not want cheap people, they want higher, more affluent people for the citizenship programs, the EU. And therefore, then the four Caribbean countries, which is Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, and Saint Kitts signed a memorandum of agreement for the EU that, yes, from the 1st of July, they would increase the necessary donation to a minimum of $200,000. This is what they announced yesterday or the day before yesterday. I do not even remember.

By how much are prices being raised?

LADISLAS MAURICE: For Saint Kitts and Nevis, it doesn’t make too much of a difference because they’re already at $250,000. But for the other countries, it makes quite a bit of a difference. Can you elaborate on the difference right now?

LASZLO: Yes, Antigua and Dominica stands now at $100,000. I understand there are due diligence fees and others, but the basic donation for a single applicant is $100,000. That would be that is the amount which would be increased as a minimum of $200,000. Grenada is $150,000, so that is also expected to be $200,00. And it is also possible that Grenada, and this is what I have to investigate, one of the reasons why I came, of how good boy Grenada would like to be and maybe increase it more than to the minimum $200,000 to say that Grenada is better than the three others and, therefore, raising to the Saint Kitts’ level.

We do not know but then it is a very simple thing, the memorandum was signed by the Prime Ministers of those four countries. So at the end, we could really make sure that this is what would happen. There is no doubt in me that that would happen from the 1st of July.

Will Schengen visa-free travel be removed from Caribbean countries?

LADISLAS MAURICE: Cool. In many ways, a lot of people were scared that visa-free travel would be removed from these Caribbean countries. But I guess that, with them complying, that’s less of a risk. What are your thoughts?

LASZLO: Initially, the Caribbean countries, obviously, fought with the EU. But during this January meeting, the EU delegation said they understand the concept and they understand how important it is to the economy of the small countries. And when I heard that, I said, yes, the EU wants to force them to make changes but they understand that, yes, this is what is going on and they accept it. This is diplomatically what they actually said.

Can applicants still benefit from the old prices?

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay. Do people still have time to apply before the end of June and get the old price?

LASZLO: Yes, at the old price. Saint Kitts showed that when they changed the system and they increased it and they doubled the necessary amount just the next day that they had a rule, and this applies for the same Caribbean, that if you apply and you file your application, the old prices would be enforced, not the new ones. Of course, there will be quite a lot of work to gather the necessary paperwork but it can be done in three months’ time. All in all, that is why there is a window. And then when we were talking about $100,000, saving $100,000 if you want to do it, that I think that is the time to do it now. I mean, I can go back and forth but this is now the time to do it. It will be double the amount and, therefore, if you want to do it, then do it for a cheaper price. That’s all.

How long will it take to get a Caribbean passport?

LADISLAS MAURICE: Yeah. Okay. If people want to do it, it’s now, it’s not later. Okay, clear. What about the timelines? Because, typically, when you look online, people are going around parroting six, seven months, etc. I just am very doubtful of these timelines. What do you think people should expect to wait to get their citizenship? Because there’s going to be a flood of applications.

LASZLO: Look, I have to agree with you, in any governmental organization, not in just these countries but basically anywhere in the world, they are used to have a certain level of work, a certain level of applications, certain number of cases which they can hold. Now, if what I count would happen is that many, many people, the demand would increase just like that. There is no organization which would be able to handle it based on the old timeframe. And maybe it’s good, maybe it’s not, but I’m just really describing what I think would happen is that 9 months, 12 months would be the processing time, because then the numbers would be so high that they are not prepared for this. And in fact, they are forced by the EU to do that, so how can you prepare yourself?

And that is why deadlines now, I think if anybody gives an indication of the deadlines, would be just talking about rubbish. Because then I think nobody at all knows how much time it will take. One year, I think, is acceptable because when Grenada was overloaded with Russian applications last March, when Saint Kitts was overloaded with the applications at the end of June, that it took them 9 months, 10 months to process the applications. This is what I see that it would be definitely not below six months but rather we would communicate to our clients that it is rather a year or maybe I cannot make any kind of guarantees that the application, if everything is in order, would be accepted and the old price would be the payable one, even if it’s one year later.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, so wait an extra four months and save $100,000. All right, [laughs] sounds worth it for most people.

LASZLO: I think that’s not a bad deal, yeah, whatever interest rate you are looking at. And you have to pay the amount, by the way, when new citizenship application is approved, meaning that the money still is generating something for you until the government is accepting your application and the money is due.

Why did Saint Lucia not sign this agreement?

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, cool. Interesting. I didn’t know this. What about Saint Lucia? Because Saint Lucia didn’t sign up to this. So what’s up with them?

LASZLO: Saint Lucia decided not to sign this agreement. They have an ongoing big business with property developers, especially Chinese company. We consider professional as all the fraudulent transactions but it can be cheaper than a donation. All in all, it is possible to get Saint Lucia but because Saint Lucia decided not to agree with the conditions, then they would be the first, in my opinion, who could lose their Schengen visa-free travel. Because the EU wants to make an example of them. All in all, I would suggest people do not touch Saint Lucia. It looks nice now. It looks cheaper now. Forget it. Try to find the other four countries one which will be good for you.

LADISLAS MAURICE: Okay, cool. Right now, with discounts, essentially, go for the other countries later on. If you don’t care about EU, Saint Lucia donation could be an option. Okay, clear. Fantastic. Great. Laszlo, thank you very much. Look, everyone, if you’re interested in going ahead with one of these citizenships, if you’re not too sure which one to go for, because they all have their own little subtleties, feel free to get in touch with Laszlo. He’s been in this game for three decades. So yeah, Laszlo has been around. There is his contact information below. Laszlo, thank you so much.

LASZLO: It was a pleasure. Thank you.