Things to Consider When Moving to St. Kitts & Nevis

You may have already decided to start living in St. Kitts & Nevis or you may still be weighing your options and just want to find out more about the tiny Caribbean federation with the attractive citizenship by investment program. 

Here is a list of some key things to consider moving to St Kitts and Nevis.

1. Language

The business language of St. Kitts and Nevis is English and it is also the primary language of the country. Many residents and business people also speak Spanish and there is a growing Latin community who reside in the federation. 

They also have a native dialect that is unique to each island and not too hard to understand as it is based primarily on English as well.

2. Buying a Home or Property

St Kitts & Nevis offers an array of residential real estate property options to rent or own. Ranging from pre-developed land, apartments, condominiums and private homes across all parishes.  

Population density is around 130 people/km² in Nevis and around 230 ppl/km² in St.Kitts. Due to its small population, homes tend to have ample garden space with minimal noise and plenty of fresh air. 

Though the majority of the people live and work around the coastlines, there is plenty of available property on hillsides with beautiful views of the ocean and mountains. 

When buying a home in St. Kitts & Nevis you will need a local real estate agent to assist you through the process and there are quite a few to choose from.  Most options overlap so shop around for a  firm that best caters to you and your individual needs.

If you are interested in purchasing your own property, you can obtain a Landholder’s license (For non-nationals) or opt for pre-approved real estate through the citizenship by investment program

3. Climate & Topography

St. Kitts & Nevis’ are volcanic islands in the Caribbean consisting of hills and lowlands of rocky rich soil. They are also prone to rapid coastal erosion and flooding in the rainy season. Ghauts and valleys provide natural run-off.

Their climate is classified as Tropical Rainforest; St. Kitts being more arid and Nevis more monsoon. Temperatures range from 70-85 degrees with moderate humidity and sweeping ocean breezes. The islands experience varying measures of sunshine year-round depending on the season -of which there are two: the rainy season and dry season.

The region is also prone to hurricanes between the months of August and November. Don’t underestimate the importance of a cistern, generator and storm shutters when buying or building your home. 

4. Safety 

There is a vested interest by the government and populace to maintain its safe and foreigner-friendly vibe due in part to Tourism being the main industry. Crime of all degrees is low and police patrol regularly. 

The streets are mostly empty at night and loitering is not common. It is considered safe to walk around with cash but it is not recommended. 

*Adhere to typical safety precautions like locking your car when out of it and locking your home at night.  Excuse yourself from situations that may make you uncomfortable and keep personal belongings and valuable items secure. 

5. Quality of Life

The island nation is considered a good place to live for international citizens, retirees, families, and remote workers. 

Both islands are clean and uncongested with minimal interference from others and next to no air or noise pollution. You can be outdoors and take in nature or spend quality time at home without worry or interference. People who live in the federation are likely to have high life expectancies. 

St. Kitts and Nevis offer a higher quality of life, for those who seek freedom, warm weather and quiet enjoyment.

6. Exercise and Wellness

There are various outdoor physical activities you can enjoy like hiking, fishing, biking, and swimming. Island roads make for excellent jogging routes complete with inclines, straightways, and trails. *If you must go jogging at night wear reflective clothing as some roads may be poorly lit.

Proximity to the warm ocean filled coral reefs, lots of marine life and wrecks make the shores of St. Kitts & Nevis great for swimming, sailing, snorkeling, diving and other water recreation.

For indoor work-outs you can visit the local gyms or many multi-unit residences and hotels offer gym memberships. Wellness centers and spas are easy to find and most massage therapists offer private services in their spare time. 

7. Pets

St.Kitts and Nevis is very pet friendly; most residents own dogs and cats or other small animals. Horses, donkeys and monkeys are also kept as pets. 

The government provides veterinary services across the federation and mainly focuses on livestock. There is an international Veterinary university that sees patients in St. Kitts and a low-cost, non-profit pet clinic in Nevis that hosts various volunteer Vets from around the world. 

It is easier to fly your pets into the federation than to fly them out.  You will have to contact the Chief Veterinary Officer to make arrangements.

8. Cost of Living

Rents can be relatively inexpensive depending on the locale especially if you don’t rely on a local paycheck, the minimum wage is Ecd $8/hr. Ranging from US 300- 1200 for a one-bedroom accommodation and 1500 – 3500 for a 3-bedroom family home.  Private homes are managed individually by the landlord or a property manager.

The main currency is Eastern Caribbean Dollars (Ecd) and Us is also universally accepted with an exchange rate of EC $2.70 to $1. Minimum wage is Ecd $8/hour or Us $3/hr. 

Supermarkets carry basic home goods from popular American brands. Many items are imported so expect higher prices for certain staple items. 

Cheap locally and regionally grown fruits, veggies, and herbs are abundant and can be found in supermarkets or various shops and roadside stalls. 

Due to the need to import most goods and retail, the cost of living in Saint Kitts and Nevis is considered relatively moderate to other Caribbean islands but is offset by the absence of a personal income tax and other tax exemptions. There is a value-added tax of 17% on selected goods and services. 

For scarcer items like some retail or special brands consider ordering online. Stocking up on your household favorites before you get here or while on vacation is also recommended.  

9. Education

Basic education in Nevis is free however Private schools are available. All schools require students to wear a uniform, usually consisting of a dresslike tunic and blouse for the girls and button-down and slacks for boys. Some schools require crests and ties.  Physical Education classes usually have designated days and require students to change into specified activewear with school colours and insignia. 

There are several universities and higher education institutions in the federation, most notably:

In St. Kitts

  • The Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College
  • International University of the Health Sciences
  • Saint Theresa’s Medical University
  • The Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine

In Nevis

  • Medical University of the Americas
  • University of West Indies Branch

10. Health

There are a total of four hospitals in the federation. The two main ones are JNF Hospital in Saint Kitts and The Alexandra Hospital in Nevis.  There are also various public clinics on the island which provide basic services like vaccinations and infant checkups. Doctors run private practices and are very accessible.

One may have to consider going to places like Miami or other islands to access specialized or emergency care and greater facilities.  MEDVAC services are also available.

11. Ease of Doing Business

People doing business in Saint Kitts and Nevis enjoy a reduced income tax rate for companies.  It has also recently leveraged the advantages of digitizing form submission and documentation reducing the stress of trading across borders and doing overall business. 

Response time is improving as local businesses are taking advantage of messaging apps like WhatsApp, various social media, and video communication apps like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. If you’re trying to avoid a trip into town, local online banking and online payment options are available. 

Get to know local businesses and create a rapport. A good relationship will come in handy if you need something expedited or have special requests.  

12. Traffic

Road traffic in Saint. Kitts and Nevis is minimal. The streets of St. Kitts are noticeably busier with cars, buses and pedestrians than in Nevis. 

There has been a considerable improvement to the road network in both islands via sustainable growth and prosperity directives. It has facilitated the restructuring of Nevis’ residential roads and Mainstreet, and introduced traffic lights and pedestrian crossings in St.Kitts curbing congestion and fostering street safety.

Lines tend to be short; but lately social distancing and contact tracing protocols account for longer-than-usual wait times. Businesses are close in proximity so performing various errands can take just an hour or two.  

13. Transportation  

Most people opt for personal vehicles (Usually SUVs) to move around. Others use public buses which have straight routes that travel in opposite directions from the center of islands’ capitals.  

Taxis are a more comfortable option usually utilised by tourists (many taxi drivers offer island tours) or for business trips between islands.

Ferries and water taxis run between ports daily, every half hour between 6 am and 6 pm and there is also a car shuttle between islands.

Having your own vehicle is much more convenient.  Make sure it has air conditioning as it can get very hot driving around on the island. 

For more information on citizenship by investment or property ownership in Nevis, contact us.  Our responsible and accessible team has much experience helping international clients obtain a second passport and enjoy more freedom.

Contributor : Simone

Simone

Simone

Contributor
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