On July 26th, 2023, the Associated Times reported that the European Union has urged countries offering citizenship by investment programs (CIPs) to follow new guidelines. The source of this information within the EU Commission in Brussels preferred to remain anonymous. However, ImiDaily highlights that the Associated Times' sources on immigration laws have previously proven their credibility.
According to the source, the following guidelines are suggested for countries offering citizenship by investment programs:
- Introduce enhanced due diligence on all applicants to be conducted by reputable international due diligence firms based in the EU, US, and UK. The firms must be third parties of high repute.
- Implement mandatory interviews for all CBI applicants. These interviews can be conducted either in person or via trusted online digital platforms.
- Prohibit the sending of official citizenship documents or passports to new citizens via a postbox after the granting of citizenship.
- Increase the investment thresholds, with a minimum of $200,000 (per single applicant) for applications under the donation option and a minimum of $400,000 for real estate investments.
- Properly monitor and verify the flow of funds against strict money laundering processes. This includes the requirement that investment funds should be transferred directly to the host country under all circumstances and must not be diverted into accounts in other countries.
- Abolish all promotional material of passports from these third countries that show the benefit of visa-free access to the EU.
The first two rules from this list were already agreed upon by Caribbean CIP countries with the US Treasury earlier this year. The other four rules are new ones.
According to the Associated Times, these principles have been outlined in an effort to ensure that these third countries maintain or implement high standards in their citizenship by investment programs.
Soon after this news appeared online, St. Kitts and Nevis's CIP site started showing a pop-up message saying that major changes to the program will be announced soon. St. Kitts and Nevis are part of the 'Caribbean Five' - the list of Caribbean countries that offer the most popular CIPs among investors, which also includes Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, and St. Lucia. Other popular countries with such programs are Malta, Cyprus, and Vanuatu.