Caribbean nations have begun dangling deep discounts on the passports they sell to wealthy foreigners.
Many of the islands in Caribbean sea offer “citizenship-by-investment” programs as a way of supplementing the hard currency they pull in from tourism. With their hotels and white-sand beaches now almost entirely empty, this unconventional business has suddenly taken on a much greater importance.
St. Kitts and Nevis, a mountainous twin-island nation of 53,000 people, was among the first to reduce prices. It’s offering a special price through the end of the year: A $150,000 contribution to the country’s “Sustainable Growth Fund” will score passports for a family of four. That’s a 23% off from the regular price of $195,000. Other islands in the region, including Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda are offering even cheaper deals.
Since St. Kitts helped pioneer the industry in the 1980s, citizenship-by-investment has grown into a multi-billion dollar business, offering wealthy clients an escape from the travel restrictions on their home countries’ passports and helping them plan for emergencies.
The fallout from Covid has highlighted the value of a second passport, as governments in Europe and elsewhere imposed restrictions on people who can normally travel without a visa, such as U.S. citizens.