Why did you apply for an alternative citizenship?
Many of my friends are dual citizens by ancestry and, through them, I learned the benefits of second citizenship: safety, choice and a chance at greater prosperity.
What made you choose citizenship by investment in the Caribbean?
I had just retired and wanted to become a citizen of somewhere I knew I could live for the rest of my days. With its eternal sunshine, the Caribbean was ideal.
What were your expectations and aims when you applied for second citizenship?
I anticipated finding the protection I needed to make sure I never had to worry about my future and I could enter the retired life free from anxiety.
Which investment option did you choose and why?
I chose the real estate investment option in St Kitts and Nevis because I actually wanted to move there. I purchased property in Nevis, where I currently live.
What is the most impactful lifestyle change you experienced since obtaining your new citizenship?
I lived in frenetic Chicago and now I live a tranquil life on a magnificent Caribbean island. I am sure that whatever the Government may do, I always have a way out.
What other investment opportunities have you taken advantage of in the Caribbean?
I purchased property on Nevis and it is now worth significantly more, so I’ve continued to buy real estate and either rented it out or resold it after some time.
What made you choose a second citizenship?
I was born in India, where I set up my first successful business. However, as the business grew, so did my desire to expand into new markets and explore other ventures. I recognised that if I wanted to truly become successful, then I would have to have a more global reach. That’s when I came across the St Kitts and Nevis citizenship by investment programme. I knew then as I know now that it would change my life, my business prospects and my family’s future.
What convinced you about the St. Kitts and Nevis programme?
At the time, St Kitts and Nevis was one of very few countries in the world that offered citizenship by investment – and it was certainly the only one whose programme was fast (allowing me to obtain citizenship in just a few months) and without any residence requirements. St Kitts and Nevis still does not require applicants to reside in the country before (or after) obtaining citizenship.
Today the scenario has changed, with more and more countries establishing citizenship by investment programmes. If you had to do it all over again, what citizenship programme would you choose?
Without a doubt I would still choose the St Kitts and Nevis programme. It is the oldest and most trusted citizenship by investment programme in the world, and there is certainly something to be said for a programme that has been running stably for years while maintaining its integrity. Moreover, I fell in love with this country the second I stepped off the plane and felt the warm sun on my skin. Ten years later, I am in love with its people, its food, its stunning views and the magnificent lifestyle I embrace when I am there.
What did you have to do in order to qualify to become a citizen of St Kitts and Nevis?
At the time, the only option available to me was to invest in real estate, so I bought a beautiful villa overlooking the Royal St Kitts Golf Club. Since then, St Kitts and Nevis has introduced the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) option.
If you were applying today, which of these two options would you choose?
If I had to apply now, I would certainly choose the SIDF option. My reasons probably apply to all citizenship programmes that offer a choice between donating to a government fund and investment in real estate. Fund options are uncomplicated and straightforward. As a donor, you can rest assured that your donation will contribute directly to the development and betterment of your future country. You don’t have to worry about maintaining a property on the other side of the world – especially as there is no guarantee that the property you purchased will actually be worth that same amount of money five years down the line (or however long the must-hold period lasts). This is not to say that it isn’t wonderful to have a home and address in your new country, but with the real estate option you are limited to buying pre-approved government projects, instead of being able to pick and choose the property of your dreams. It is also important to state that if you buy real estate after obtaining citizenship you don’t have to go through the trouble of applying for an alien land holding licence.
What would you recommend to new investors who do choose the real estate option?
As most investors will know, the most important thing to do with any investment is to minimise the risk factors. I recommend performing due diligence checks on both the development and the developer and obtaining an independent valuation of the property intended for purchase.
What is the single most important change in your life that you can directly attribute to gaining citizenship in St. Kitts and Nevis?
Because India does not allow dual nationality, my decision to take second citizenship was carefully considered. More than ten years after having made that decision however, I can firmly say that it was one of the best decisions of my life. I have become a global citizen – and an international business player. I can travel and take advantage of the myriad of business opportunities available on St. Kitts and Nevis.
What do you do in your spare time in St. Kitts and Nevis?
I can never grow tired of spending time on St. Kitts and Nevis. You’ll hear people say that they are jewels in the Caribbean and that is correct. It’s great to have a golf course in my backyard, and my family and I are into hiking and exploring. My favourite spot is, of course, Cockleshell Beach.