Iranian Citizens Are No Longer Eligible for Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Scheme
Saint Lucia’s citizenship by investment program launched in 2015 following the passage of the Citizenship by Investment Act grants economic citizenship to foreign investors who invest in the country. Until recently, Iranian nationals could proceed with their applications for Saint Lucia’s citizenship by investment program. Nonetheless, Saint Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Unit announced on August 09, 2018 that the authority will refrain from accepting applications submitted by Iranian nationals and authorized agents are bound to comply with the order. Under the memorandum addressing authorized agents, all Iranians regardless of their country of residence are subject to the ban. This decision took effect immediately.
The due diligence firms’ inability to validate documents issued by Iran has prompted the Citizenship by Investment Unit to exclude Iranian nationals from the citizenship by investment program. There is more to it than this. The domestic bank’s unwillingness to facilitate transactions and accept funds originating in Iran has been considered as the other motive driving the Citizenship by Investment Unit to refuse taking applications from Iranian nationals. This bank serves as the only bank cooperating with the Unit in the process of banking transactions.
Some have speculated that the reinstatement of U.S. sanctions against Iran and fear of U.S. retaliatory and punitive measures are the underlying causes for due diligence firms’ refusal to work on Iranian applications. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) fined a due diligence company a total amount of $259,200 last summer for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.