LONDON: According to the Foreign Office, more than 600,000 Indians have renounced their citizenship to settle in a foreign country in the past five years. Among them, wealthy individuals and their families seeking alternative citizenship through investment have also significantly increased. The Federation of St Kitts and Nevis, ranked the best Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme in the world in 2021 by experts at the Financial Time’s PWM magazine, is a popular destination for those in the market for second citizenship.

In fact, in a recent interview, the CEO of St Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment Unit, Les Khan, announced that the Caribbean nation’s CBI programme saw an annual increase of about 30% in applications in 2021. Given the turmoil of the past few years, this hike in interest from around the world, especially Asia and more so India is no surprise, said Khan. He listed wealth growth, safety and mobility as three main reasons Indian investors inquire about St Kitts and Nevis citizenship.

Paul Singh, the Director of CS Global Partners, a firm specialising in residency and citizenship by investment solutions, said business growth and expansion are at the top of the list for Indian clients. Indians want better work opportunities, more capital in their business and a route to wealth diversification in case they see darker days.

Singh also said the India’s exodus of the rich is occurring due to a need for safety and security. The COVID-19 crisis has evoked a more vital need for a life free of worries about full hospitals and lineups, and as the climate crisis worsens, people want a place they can raise their families without thinking about the air pollution they breathe in. St Kitts and Nevis opens the door to a safe haven if they ever need it.

Since the Indian passport currently only allows visa-free entry into less than 60 destinations, citizenship from St Kitts and Nevis close to triples it. Applicants who successfully pass the vetting process can have visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to over 160 nations, including prominent business and education hubs in Europe.

Singh recognises that India does not allow dual nationality, so he recommends applicants apply for an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card. The OCI status enables those with multiple citizenships to reside, work, invest and do business in India like Indian citizens.

Obtaining St Kitts and Nevis citizenship through investment is quick and straightforward. After applying through an authorised agent, passing due diligence checks, and making a qualifying investment in a government fund, investors generally obtain full citizenship within three to four months. However, the government has an expedited processing option at an additional fee.

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