ICOs and Cryptocurrencies in Nevis

The use of cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings are becoming more and more common and raise different regulatory, legal and public policy issues. It is important to receive proper legal advice to ensure compliance with the laws of Saint Christopher and Nevis. In Nevis there has been no published ICO reference guide and there has been no legislation yet passed regulating cryptocurrencies. While it may be that legislation regulating ICOs will be passed in the future, it will likely take some time as the benefits and problems associated with blockchain technology and the use of cryptocurrencies are still unknown. 

Some of the key legislation that may apply to a Nevis ICO are as follows: 

  • Money Services Business Act 
  • Eastern Caribbean Securities Act
  • Payment Systems Act 
  • Electronic Transactions Act 
  • Anti-Money Laundering Regulations 
  • Anti-Terrorism Regulations 
  • Anti-Terrorism Act

Nevis head of Foreign affairs announced in mid 2018 that the country of St.Kitts & Nevis intends to embrace blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses and wishes to attract such business. The country will be hosting cryptocurrency exchanges in 2019. 

One of the most difficult aspects of launching an ICO in any country is opening a bank account and opening an account in a timely manner. Many banks around the world are reluctant to take on cryptocurrency businesses. As ICOs are a relatively new concept, many jurisdictions have yet to enact legislation and government’s have been reluctant to take a position on their regulation. It is important to seek proper legal advice to ensure that your ICO complies with the laws of Saint Christopher and Nevis. 

JH Marlin Law can provide a regulatory overview of cryptocurrencies in St.Christopher & Nevis and the Caribbean, can assist with the establishment of a Nevis Legal Entity, Opening a Bank Account, Review of the White Paper, review of the terms of any Pre-sale, IP Transfer Agreements/Third Party Agreements/ Public Sale and provide an overall health check of your cryptocurrency related business. 

For more information contact: jennifer@jhmarlin.com 

Dominica Citizenship by Investment

Dominica Citizenship by Investment was the second citizenship by investment programme to be introduced to the Caribbean and has been in operation since 1993. The Government of Dominica recognizes the importance of the Dominica Citizenship by Investment programme and is dedicated to ensuring that the programme continues to be of high quality in order to attract foreign direct investment. Investment contributions for citizenship are used to help the local economy.

There are many benefits to Dominica Citizenship by Investment which include; living in a peaceful country, global mobility with visa free access to over 120 countries which includes the European Union, Singapore, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, minimal tax (no gift, wealth, inherit, capital gains tax), dual citizenship is permitted, no requirement to reside in Dominica, access to markets duty free in the Caribbean. 

There are different pathways to obtain a passport from Dominica. One way to obtain Dominica Citizenship by Investment is to make a donation to the Economic Diversification Fund (EDF) at a minimum of US$100,000 for a single main applicant and increasing amounts provided that the main applicant wishes to include their spouse or dependents in a citizenship application. Another pathway to obtain Dominica Citizenship by investment is to invest in designated real estate with a minimum value of at least US$200,000. 

Dominica is a naturally beautiful island with lush rainforests and is a great place for diving and eco-tourism. For more information about Dominica Citizenship by Investment contact jennifer@jhmarlin.com 

Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment

Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment is the newest citizenship by investment program in the Caribbean and was first launched in 2015. Citizenship by Investment can be acquired by making an investment in one of four ways; donation to the Saint Lucia National Economic Fund, Real Estate Projects, Enterprise Projects or Government Bonds. Under the Saint Lucia Economic Fund a minimum investment for a single applicant is US$100,000, an applicant applying with their spouse is US$165,000 and an applicant with two qualifying dependents is US$190,000. There are real estate projects to choose from that are government qualified for citizenship and they include hotels, resorts and boutique properties. The starting cost for a real estate project that qualifies for citizenship is US$300,000. Once a client identifies the desired real estate, the applicant will execute a binding purchase and sales agreement and the amount equalling the investment price will be deposited in an irrevocable escrow account. Another option for Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment is Enterprise projects. Enterprise projects for citizenship must first be approved by the Citizenship by Investment Unit and start at US$3,500,000 and can be under one of seven categories which includes; restaurants, cruise ports and marinas, pharmaceutical products, agro-processing plants, ports/bridges/roads/highways, offshore universities and research institutions and facilities. The final option to obtain Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment is to purchase non-interest bearing Government bonds. Bonds investment for a single applicant starts at US$500,000 and are required to remain in the name of the applicant for a 5 year period. 

The process to obtain Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment takes approximately 3 months. In order to avoid delays, it is important to ensure that a citizenship file is compliant with the legislation and that all guidelines for preparing a citizenship by investment file have been followed. Saint Lucian citizens have visa free travel or visa on arrival to over 120 countries including the European Union. Citizens of Saint Lucia have a great quality of life and Saint Lucia is a wonderful place to live with great restaurants, beautiful beaches, luxury resorts and modern facilities and infrastructure. Saint Lucia enjoys a great climate year round and is the perfect place to escape to relax. 

For more information about Saint Lucia Citizenship by Investment and other citizenship by investment programs contact: jennifer@jhmarlin.com 

Saint Kitts Citizenship By Investment

The oldest program offering citizenship by investment is the Saint Kitts Citizenship by Investment program. The program has been in operation since 1984 and is known to be the platinum brand for citizenship by investment.  Saint Kitts Citizenship by Investment can be obtained by making a donation into the Sustainable Growth Fund (SD) starting at USD 150,000 or by making an investment in real estate that must be kept for a number of years. The majority of people opt for the donation option as it is a quicker and simpler process.

In order to start the process to become a citizen of Saint Kitts, a client must select a local agent to assist them with the process of making a citizenship by investment application. Once the selection of an agent has been made, the client will be provided with the forms and a list of documents required to complete a successful citizenship application. The agent will provide guidance and assistance to help the client prepare documents. Once the documents are completed, the agent will submit the citizenship by investment application along with the required due diligence fees. The agent will follow up with the Saint Kitts Citizenship by Investment unit and will notify you of any updates with your file. Once a citizenship file is approved, the agent will receive an acceptance letter and will notify the client of their acceptance. Only upon acceptance will the client be required to make the donation payment. Once payment has been received by the Citizenship by Investment Unit, a Certificate of Citizenship will be issued. An application for a passport will be completed by the client and the agent will then submit the application to the Saint Kitts and Nevis Passport Office and make payment of the requisite fees. The entire process for Saint Kitts Citizenship by Investment takes approximately 3 to 8 months.

For more information about Saint Kitts Citizenship by Investment contact jennifer@jhmarlin.com 

Citizenship by Investment for China

Increasing amount of applicants from China are looking to obtain a passport through Citizenship by Investment. Chinese investors are turning to the Caribbean and Europe where there are well known Citizenship by Investment programs. Some of the heads of the different citizenship by investment units have highlighted application statistics identifying people from China as comprising the highest volume of applicants. The former head of the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Unit cited that over 98% of applicants in 2018 were from China. Likewise, Les Khan the head of the Citizenship by Investment Unit in St.Kitts & Nevis stated in an interview that over 50% of the applicants for the St.Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment Unit in 2018 were from China. 

For the Chinese, some of the main criteria for selecting a citizenship program include affordability, visa free access and quick processing time. Chinese applicants are flocking to Grenada and St.Kitts & Nevis in the Caribbean to do citizenship by investment. Both countries have citizenship that comes with a variety of advantages.

The St.Kitts passports allows visa free travel to over 150+ countries including Schengen Area, UK, Russia, Singapore and Hong Kong. With the passport there is facility to travel around the world without hassle. St.Kitts offers an accelerated application procedure whereby the applicant can obtain citizenship in 60 days from the time of submission of a citizenship application as opposed to the usual 3-8 month processing time. St.Kitts & Nevis is a tax neutral jurisdiction, applicants are not required to speak english or have any business experience and there is no requirement to visit or reside in St.Kitts & Nevis. The government requires that either citizenship be obtained through making a donation to the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF) for a minimum of US$150,000 or an investment of US$200,000 in real estate to be maintained for 7 years plus related due diligence fees and government fees. 

Like St.Kitts, Grenada is a very popular citizenship by investment program for Chinese applicants. What is unique about the Grenada Citizenship by Investment program is that it is the only Caribbean citizenship by investment program that offers visa free travel to China. Another advantage for Chinese applicants is that Grenada has a E-2 Treaty with the United States. By having a Grenadian passport an investor can by making an investment enter the US in Treaty Investor status with the ability to work in the United States and with the ability for the spouse to also work in the United States and children have the ability to enrol in school in the United States. Applicants need to either invest US$200,000 as a donation or invest a minimum of US$350,000 in government approved real estate to be maintained for 4 years.  

Also a sought after option for Chinese investors is the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment program. The Cyprus passport offers European citizenship with the right to live and work in Europe. Cyprus citizens have visa free travel to over 150+ countries including However, obtaining a Cyprus passport is much more expensive when compared to other Caribbean programs and comes at a much higher price tag of a minimum of EUR 2 million. Cyprus citizenship can be obtained by investing in real estate which can be resold after 3 years with the exception of maintaining a property of just EUR 500,000. 

Given the many advantages of Citizenship by Investment, it is likely that people from China will have a continued interest in seeking the benefits of obtaining citizenship through investment.

For more information contact jennifer@jhmarlin.com