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Facts vs Fiction: How long it does it really take to get your second passport?

Facts vs Fiction: How long it does it really take to get your second passport?


14th July 2023

Some Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs such as Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, and Grenada have gained increased popularity worldwide. These programs allow individuals to obtain citizenship in exchange for making an investment in the country. While these programs promise various benefits, including visa-free travel to desirable destinations, it is essential to understand the realistic timelines associated with the application process.

 

First, the timeline usually marketed for obtaining the second passport is the timeline given by the government, which notes that the Due Diligence (DD) will run for 90 days. However, it is important to understand it is actually 90 working days which is approximately 3 months only for Due Diligence. Here are the realistic timelines for the most popular CBI programs…

 

Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia                                   

Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia follow a similar timeline for their CBI programs. Once a complete application is submitted to the Citizenship Unit, it undergoes a thorough review to ensure all the necessary documents and certifications are in order. This initial evaluation process typically takes around 3 to 4 weeks, including bank clearance. Upon receiving the acknowledgement letter, the due diligence (DD) phase commences.

The DD process in Saint Kitts and Nevis has recently experienced notable delays, often extending up to 6 months. However, this timeframe assumes no additional queries from the Citizenship Unit. After completing the DD, applicants receive approval in principle, and the investment amount is paid. The issuance of the Citizenship Certificate usually takes about two months. Following the issuance of certificates, passports are typically issued within two weeks. This huge notable delay in Saint Kitts started a few months before the election. St Kitts and Nevis currently has a limited time offer which promises to accelerate the process bringing the timeline down to 60 working days.

 

Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda timeline

Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda share a similar application process. Once a complete file is submitted, the Citizenship Unit conducts a review to ensure all required documents are included. This step typically takes only one week and marks the start of the DD phase. Like Saint Kitts and Nevis, the DD process in Dominica, Antigua, and Barbuda currently extends for about six months, assuming no additional queries arise. After successfully completing the DD, applicants receive an approval in principle, followed by the payment of the investment amount or donation. The Citizenship Certificate is usually issued within 2 months, while the passport issuance takes over 1 month due to the additional workload placed on the passport office during the passport replacements Dominica carried out in the effort to switch to biometric passports. In the event that the client needs to new passport urgently, the Dominica passport office offers the option to fast-track the process and for a higher processing fee they issue it in 3 working days.

 

Grenada timeline

Grenada follows a slightly different timeline for its CBI program. Before submitting the complete file to the Citizenship Unit, it must first undergo clearance of funds by the Grenada Cooperative Bank. Depending on the nationality and country of origin of the funds, this bank clearance process can range from 2 to 6 months depending on the origin of funds. Once the bank clearance is obtained, the application is submitted to the Citizenship Unit, and the DD process begins. Realistically, the DD phase in Grenada lasts approximately 6 to 8 months, assuming no additional queries are raised. Following the successful completion of DD, applicants receive an approval in principle and proceed with the payment of the investment amount or donation. Certificates of registration are typically issued within 2 weeks, and passport issuance takes around 1 week.

 

What is the hold-up?

It is important to note that these Caribbean CBI programs have enhanced their Due Diligence process. These countries advocate for more stringent due diligence processes and adherence to the standards set by the Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC). The JRCC, a sub-agency of the Caribbean Community’s Implementing Agency for Crime and Security, conducts further screening of applications after the DD phase.

In addition to this, these programs have increased in popularity, hence some more than others face heavy backlogs. Although the citizenship units running the programs have drastically increased the number of staff to speed up their process, they still struggle with the high number of applicants from all over the world.

 

What else could affect the timeline

There are particular factors that affect how long the citizenship application takes such as: applicant’s country of origin, applicant’s country of residence, source of funds, number of countries the applicant has lived in for more than 6 months in the past 10 years, if the applicant has had a difficulty that must be overcome such as a past court case, etc.

Bank clearance is another factor which delays the citizenship application process. Bank clearance has become more of a challenge and several documents must be presented for the banks to finally approve the transfer. It is important to note that the investment amount is only payable once the applicant receives the citizenship approval but Due Diligence funds must be transferred up front upon submission of the application.

 

Integrity and transparency

There are companies promoting CBI programs which often use unrealistic timeline estimates to attract potential clients. This can lead to disappointment and frustration for those looking to obtain citizenship quickly.

As such, the reality of how long it takes to obtain citizenship through CBI programs is often different from the timelines advertised by companies promoting them, and it is essential to work with a reputable company that would ensure transparency in your journey to obtaining your second passport.

 

 

Source - Citizenship Invest