St. Kitts suspends Syrians from program selling citizenship

AP News
Posted: Dec 04, 2015 1:13 PM

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (AP) — The country of St. Kitts and Nevis has closed its citizenship-by-investment program to Syrians until further vetting processes can be put in place, a legal advisory firm said Friday.

A statement from London-based CS Global Partners said the tiny Caribbean nation made the decision because of reports of numerous counterfeit Syrian passports in the international black market.

It said Prime Minister Timothy Harris announced the suspension of nationals from war-ravaged Syria from his country's citizenship-by-investment program at a Thursday reception in Washington.

St. Kitts closed its program to Iranians several years ago after Iranian students stormed the British Embassy in Tehran.

"Investor visa" or citizenship programs are offered by many nations, including the U.S. and Britain. But the Caribbean countries of St. Kitts, Dominica and Grenada offer a quick path to citizenship at a relatively low cost. The whole process, including background checks, can take as little as 90 days in St. Kitts. There's no need to ever live on the islands.

A foreigner can qualify for citizenship in St. Kitts with a $250,000 donation to a fund for retired sugar workers or with a minimum real estate investment of $400,000. The minimum contribution in Dominica is $100,000.