Grenada Citizenship / E-2 Visa FAQs

The co-authors of this Citizenship by Investment (“CBI”)/E-2 Visa FAQs for Grenada recently accepted an invitation to conduct a fact-finding trip to Grenada and Barbados hosted by the Grenada Consul General to the U.S. Our meetings in Grenada included the Prime Minister; the head of the Citizenship by Investment Unit, the Minister of Labor and Trade/Industry; the Minister of Health and International Business; a key Senator; and the permanent Secretary of Finance. We subsequently met at the U.S. Embassy in Barbados (which has jurisdiction over Grenadian) with the U.S. Ambassador to Grenada and various officials at the Consulate. Ron Klasko, Managing Partner of Klasko Immigration Law Partners in Philadelphia and New York, is a member of the Governing Board of the Investment Migration Council. Tammy Fox-Isicoff, partner in Rifkin-Fox-Isicoff in Miami, Orlando and Peru, is the Chair of the Latin American and Caribbean Chapter (L.A.C.C.) of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. [1]

 

This first country fact-finding mission focused on Grenada since it is the only country in the world, at present, that has both a citizenship by investment program and a bilateral investment treaty with the U.S. that allows citizens of Grenada to apply for E-2 treaty investor visas to the U.S. Treaty investor visas are considered the most valuable of U.S. visas for a number of reasons, including:

 

  • Length of visa issuance (the length of visa issuance is 3 months to 5 years depending on reciprocity schedules; Grenada has the maximum length of 5 years);
  • Unlimited number of extensions;
  • Application directly at U.S. Consulate with no prior approval of USCIS required;
  • Unlike with U.S. permanent residence, E-2 visa holder may be able to avoid taxation on worldwide income;
  • Spouse of E-2 principal can work anywhere he or she wants in the U.S.;
  • Child of E-2 principal can go to school (public or private) in the U.S. and may be able to get in-state tuition;
  • Processing time for E-2 visa is usually 2 months or less;
  • E-2 principal and family members can spend as much or as little time in the U.S. as they wish;
  • Applicants for E-2 visas and extensions may be able to obtain visas despite pendency of permanent residence application.

 

This FAQ covers the following topics:

 

  • Types of CBI Programs in Grenada;
  • Types of real estate projects;
  • Family members included in application;
  • Costs;
  • Timing and procedure;
  • Vetting and due diligence;
  • Banks;
  • Volume of applications;
  • Agents;
  • Residence issues;
  • U.S. Consular issues;
  • Experience with E-2 visa issuance;
  • Outstanding issues

 

Two Types of CBI Programs

 

There are two types of CBI programs in Grenada. The Section 10 Program (known as NTF) requires a donation to the Grenadian government of $200,000. The Section 11 Program, which either involves the purchase of real estate in an approved project or shares in an approved investment company. This is typically an aquiculture project or a hotel development. This program requires an investment of $350,000 and a $50,000 donation to the Grenadian government. There are presently 15 approved projects by the Grenadian government. Only a few of the projects give the investor title to a property; the remainder give the investor shares of a company that may or may not own real estate. Before approving a project for inclusion in the CBI program, the Grenadian government does due diligence on shareholders and developers and does financial viability screening. It is however up to the investor to do his or her own due diligence on the economic feasibility of the investment. The investor must hold the property for a minimum of three (3) years. Presently, resales of property do not provide the buyer the ability to obtain CBI, although the Grenadian government is considering changing this policy.

 

Family Members Qualifying for Citizenship

 

The Grenadian CBI program is one of the most generous in the world regarding family members. In addition to the investor, the spouse, dependent children under age 26 and dependent parents over age 55 can obtain Grenadian passports based on the single investment.

 

 

Cost and Expenses

 

Costs and expenses in the range of $50,000 to $60,000 are to be expected, with the exact amount depending upon the number of family members and the type of program in which the investment is made. These amounts are non-refundable. The full investment amount is only made if the application is approved.

 

Procedure and Timing

 

The average processing time is generally approximately 3 or 4 months, although it may be longer in some cases based on security clearance reviews. The procedure is initiated by the payment of certain non-refundable processing and due diligence fees. The processing time includes approximately 3 to 4 weeks of bank processing, approximately 2 to 3 months of security vetting and approximately 2 weeks of government processing to issue certificates and passports. The CBI Committee makes recommendations of approval, but the ultimate approval must come from the Cabinet.

 

Vetting and Security Clearances

 

The Grenadian government performs multiple levels of vetting and due diligence. Marketing agents are instructed to perform pre-checks before submitting applications. Vetting and due diligence are performed by the likes of Thompson Reuters; the Financial Investigations Unit (FIU); the Joint Regional Communications Center (JRCC); international clearances through Interpol; and other procedures. Commercial (or technical) due diligence is performed concurrently with security due diligence. Commercial due diligence includes research on bankruptcies, litigation and sanctions. Applicants are required to submit bank statements, financial statements, source of funds documentation, lists of all businesses and lists of all visa denials. Inaccurate or incomplete disclosures result in applications being returned for further vetting. Too many passports is considered a red flag.

 

The layers of due diligence performed by Grenada are beyond those of most CBI countries. The IMF has deemed Grenada to be the gold standard of CBI programs for this reason.

 

No nationality is excluded from applying for Grenadian citizenship. However, an applicant who is denied citizenship in another country will not be considered for citizenship in Grenada.

 

Banking Issues

 

Presently there are two banks in Grenada that process CBI funds, neither of which has significant experience in dealing with international monetary transactions. This has caused delays in processing. Ron Klasko is working with the government of Grenada to introduce U.S. banks to the Grenada CBI process, which could save up to 3 to 4 weeks of processing time.

 

Volume of Applications

 

Grenadian CBI applications are rapidly increasing. More applications were received from January to June of this year than in the prior two years combined. The Grenadian government expresses a willingness to add staffing as necessary to keep processing times at the present level despite the anticipated increase in the number of applications.

 

Agents

 

There are two types of agents in this process – – marketing agents and local agents. Most marketing agents are limited to one or two real estate projects and possibly the donation program. Each marketing agent works through a local agent.

 

Residence Issues

 

In addition to obtaining citizenship in Grenada (and a Grenadian passport), CBI applicants can also obtain a permanent residence card for an additional fee of $1,000. The permanent residence card may contain a Grenadian residence address if the applicant has invested in a freehold property in an approved section 11 program, or if the applicant enters into a lease of one year or more.

 

Views of U.S. Embassy Toward Grenada CBI Program

 

Grenada is considered to have one of the better CBI programs based on its vetting and due diligence. A major concern of the U.S. Embassy is that Grenada does not collect biometric data on applicants, and therefore the U.S. Embassy has no assurance that Grenada knows who the applicant really is. There are also concerns that the applicants may never actually show up in Grenada. The Grenadian government is considering procedures for collecting biometric data. These issues have not prevented favorable adjudication of E-2 visa applications.

 

Experience with E-2 Visa Applications

 

Although the authors were not able to obtain specifics on numbers of E-2 application approvals and denials, it appears that a large majority of the E-2 visa applications for Grenadian CBIs have been approved. The U.S. Embassy confirms that it treats Grenadian CBI applicants as it treats other applicants on a case-by-case basis. Interviews are considered to be critical. Some links or “nexus” with Grenada are an area of inquiry during the interviews. Especially for section 10 applicants, it is important to at least visit Grenada and have a residence address, such as through a lease. Section 11 applicants who own property may be able to get by without appearing in Grenada, although it appears to be best practice to encourage clients to at least visit Grenada before any E-2 visa appointment.

 

Timing of the E-2 visa process at the U.S. Consulate is approximately six weeks. This timing may be lengthened as the number of applications increase.

 

Outstanding Issues for Grenada CBI Program

 

Key issues and developments that we are monitoring:

  • Possible new procedure to collect biometric data on applicants;
  • Ability of the Grenadian government to keep to present processing times as number of applications increase substantially;
  • Development of new banking relationships to make the procedure more efficient and to expedite application processing;
  • Possible requirement of applicants to physically appear in Grenada;
  • Change in the law to effectuate resales of properties by enabling purchasers to qualify for CBI.

 

Key Issues for Counsel Advising Grenada CBI – E-2 Clients

 

  • Choice of marketing agent
  • Choice of donation or real estate investment
  • Choice of real estate project in Grenada
  • Choice of U.S. investment project
  • Advice regarding nexus to Grenada and Grenada residence issues
  • Choice of U.S. Consulate to process E-2 application (home country, Barbados or 3rd country)
  • Advice or referral regarding strategy to avoid taxation on worldwide income

 

For further information, contact:

 

 

H Ronald Klasko, Esq.

Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP

1601 Market Street, Suite 2600

Philadelphia, PA 19103

215-825-8600

Email: rklasko@klaskolaw.com

 

  1. Ronald Klasko, Esq.

Investment Migration Council

Regional Representative Office – New York

31 West 34th Street, 8th Floor

New York, NY 10001, U.S.A.

Email: newyork@investmentmigration.org

 

 

Tammy Fox-Isicoff, Esq.

Rifkin and Fox-Isicoff

1110 Brickell Ave., #600
Miami, Florida 33131

305-371-2777

Email: tfox@rifkinfox.com

 

 

The material contained in this article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.  An attorney-client relationship is not presumed or intended by receipt or review of this presentation.  The information provided should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.


© 2017 Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP.  All rights reserved. Information may not be reproduced, displayed, modified or distributed without the express prior written permission of Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP.  For permission, contact
rklasko@klaskolaw.com.

 

[1] Tammy and Ron are the Chair and Co-Chair respectively of the L.A.C.C. Conference in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on November 2 and 3, 2017, which is the first AILA conference focusing on citizenship by investment programs.