St. Kitts and Nevis is making a biometric security check a mandatory part of the immigration process for anyone looking to gain Citizenship by Investment (CBI). The country’s CBI program has been in place since 1984, and allows people to gain St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship with a $150,000 (or more) contribution to the country’s Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF).
Biometric technology is being introduced as part of the country’s standard due diligence for incoming citizens. The technology will provide an extra layer of security and help ensure positive outcomes for St. Kitts and Nevis and its population.
St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Timothy Harris announced the biometric initiative during his 2020 budget address.
“The demand for economic citizenship in our country resulted in increased expenditure for background checks and other expenditure associated with the maintenance of a robust CBI Programme,” said Harris. He went on to add that the country needed to maintain the integrity of its CBI process in order to preserve its strong international reputation.
Of course, St. Kitts and Nevis is not the first country to explore biometric technology as part of its citizenship and immigration procedures. Biometric data sharing was a key sticking point during dual citizenship talks between Thailand and Malaysia, and biometric scans are increasingly common at international borders. Thailand, for instance, picked up eight fake passports in the first three days with its new immigration system, and has also ordered 15 million biometric e-passports from Thales and Gemalto. The UN, meanwhile, is now using biometrics to verify the identities of refugees.
The St. Kitts and Nevis Sustainable Growth Fund was set up to support socioeconomic development on the two islands. Those with citizenship privileges are able to travel to more than 150 countries either without a visa, or by picking up a visa upon arrival.
January 29, 2020 – by Eric Weiss