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The Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis (Saint Kitts and Nevis) is a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The government seeks to facilitate a conducive business climate to attract more foreign investment. Saint Kitts and Nevis remains vulnerable to external shocks such as climate change impacts, natural disasters, and global economic downturns.

According to Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) figures, the economy of Saint Kitts and Nevis had an estimated GDP of $979.2 million (2.64 billion Eastern Caribbean dollars) in 2022, showing signs of post-Covid economic recovery. Like most of the Eastern Caribbean, the country continues to grapple with recovery from COVID-19, supply-chain issues, and rising food and fuel prices associated with Russia’s war on Ukraine. As of May 2023, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast that the economy will grow by 4.5% in 2023.

The tourism sector is showing signs of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of the pandemic on tourism, a mainstay of Saint Kitts and Nevis’s economy that generates over 60 percent of GDP, has had ripple effects across the economy.

Saint Kitts and Nevis has identified priority sectors for investment. These include food security, green energy transition, economic diversification, sustainable industries, creative economy, COVID-19 recovery, social protection, financial services, tourism, real estate, agriculture, information technology, education services, renewable energy, and limited light manufacturing.

The government provides some investment incentives for businesses that are considering establishing operations in Saint Kitts or Nevis, encouraging both domestic and foreign private investment. Foreign investors can repatriate all profits, dividends, and import capital.

The country’s legal system is based on British common law. It does not have a bilateral investment treaty with the United States. It has a Double Taxation Agreement with the United States, although the agreement only addresses social security benefits.

In 2016, Saint Kitts and Nevis signed an Intergovernmental Agreement in observance of the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), making it mandatory for banks in Saint and Nevis to report banking information of U.S. citizens.

Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings
Measure  Year  Index/Rank  Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index  2022 N/A  
Global Innovation Index  2022  N/A  
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions)  2021  $461.0M 
World Bank GNI per capita  2021  $18,820  

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

The Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis strongly encourages foreign direct investment (FDI), particularly in industries that create jobs, earn foreign currency, and have a positive impact on its citizens.

In the federation, each island has a separate investment promotion agency, the Saint Kitts Investment Promotion Agency (SKIPA), and the Nevis Investment Promotion Agency (NIPA). Both agencies have introduced several investment incentives for businesses that consider locating in the federation. SKIPA and NIPA provide “one-stop shop” facilitation services to investors, guiding them through the various stages of the investment process. More information is available on their websites:  and  . Saint Kitts and Nevis also has a citizenship by investment program to facilitate certain forms of FDI (see section on laws and regulations on foreign investment for additional details).

The government encourages investment in all sectors, but targeted sectors include financial services, tourism, real estate, agriculture, information and communication technologies, international education services, renewable energy, ship registries, and limited light manufacturing.

The country is home to the ECCB, the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE), and the Eastern Caribbean Securities Regulatory Commission.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Local laws do not dictate any limits on foreign control in Saint Kitts and Nevis.  Foreign investors may hold up to 100 percent of an investment.  Local enterprises generally welcome joint ventures with foreign investors to access technology, expertise, markets, and capital.
Foreign investment in Saint Kitts and Nevis is generally not subject to any restrictions, and foreign investors receive the same treatment as citizens.  The only exception to this is the requirement that foreign investors obtain an Alien Landholders License to purchase residential or commercial property.

Both SKIPA and NIPA have the authority to review all proposed investments that apply for government incentives to ensure that the project is consistent with the country’s laws and national interest and would provide economic benefits to Saint Kitts and Nevis. The review process is transparent. The investor must complete a series of steps to obtain a business license. These steps are listed at  and .

Other Investment Policy Reviews

In May 2023, the World Trade Organization (WTO) conducted a trade policy review of the OECS of which Saint Kitts and Nevis is a member. The full report is available at . There have not been any investment policy reviews of Saint Kitts and Nevis by civil society organizations in the past five years.

Business Facilitation

SKIPA and NIPA facilitate domestic and foreign direct investment in priority sectors and advise the government on the formation and implementation of policies and programs to attract investment. Both agencies provide business support services and market intelligence to investors.

Businesses must register with the Financial Services Regulatory Commission, the Registrar of Companies, the Ministry of Finance, the Inland Revenue Department, and the Social Security Board. It is not mandatory to use an attorney to prepare to incorporation documents.

Outward Investment

Local laws do not place any restrictions on domestic investors seeking to do business abroad. Local companies in Saint Kitts and Nevis are actively encouraged to take advantage of export opportunities specifically related to the country’s membership in the OECS Economic Union and the Caribbean Community Single Market and Economy (CSME), which enhance the competitiveness of the local and regional private sectors across traditional and emerging high-potential markets.

Saint Kitts and Nevis does not have a bilateral investment treaty with the United States. It has a Double Taxation Agreement with the United States, but this agreement is limited solely to social security benefits. Saint Kitts and Nevis’s Double Taxation Agreements meet Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) standards, as well as Tax Information Exchange Agreements standards. Saint Kitts and Nevis maintains double taxation agreements with several countries including Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the UK. It has Double Taxation Conventions (DTCs) with Monaco, San Marino, and some Caribbean Community countries. Saint Kitts and Nevis is a member of the OECD Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting and is party to the OECD’s October 2021 deal on the two-pillar solution to global tax challenges, including a global minimum corporate tax.

Saint Kitts and Nevis is also party to the following:

Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

The Treaty of Chaguaramas established the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in 1973 to promote economic integration among its 15 member states. Investors operating in Saint Kitts and Nevis have preferential access to the entire CARICOM market. The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas established the CSME, which permits the free movement of goods, capital, and labor within CARICOM member states. CARICOM has bilateral agreements with Cuba, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. In 2013, CARICOM entered into a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the United States.

Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)

The Treaty of Basseterre established the OECS in 1981. The OECS consists of seven full members (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), and four associate members (Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, and Martinique). The purpose of the Treaty is to promote harmonization among member states in foreign policy, defense and security, and economic affairs. The seven full members ratified the Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the OECS Economic Union, which entered into force in 2011. The Economic Union established a single financial and economic space within which goods, services, and people move without hindrance.

Caribbean Basin Initiative

The Caribbean Basin Initiative facilitates the economic development and export diversification of the Caribbean Basin economies. It encourages private sector initiatives by expanding foreign and domestic investment in non-traditional sectors, diversifying country economies, and expanding their imports, and it permits duty-free entry of eligible products manufactured or assembled in Saint Kitts and Nevis into the United States.

CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement

The European Community and the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) the CARICOM states signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in 2008. CARIFORUM consists of the independent Anglophone CARCOM member states, the Dominican Republic, and Suriname. The overarching objectives of the EPA are to alleviate poverty in CARIFORUM states, to promote regional integration and economic cooperation, and to foster the gradual integration of the CARIFORUM states into the world economy by improving their trade capacity and creating investment-conducive environments. The EPA promotes trade-related developments in areas such as competition, intellectual property, public procurement, the environment, and protection of personal data.

CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement

The UK and the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) states CARIFORUM signed an EPA in 2019, committing to trade continuity after Britain’s departure from the European Union. The CARIFORUM-UK EPA eliminates all tariffs on all goods imported from CARIFORUM states into the UK, while Caribbean states will continue to gradually cut import tariffs on most of the region’s imports from the UK.

Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement

The Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement (CARIBCAN) is an economic and trade development assistance program for Commonwealth Caribbean countries. Through CARIBCAN, Canada provides duty-free access to its national market for most products originating in Commonwealth Caribbean countries.

Transparency of the Regulatory System

The Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis provides a legal framework to foster competition and establish clear rules for foreign and domestic investors in the areas of tax, labor, environment, health, and safety. The Saint Kitts and Nevis Ministry of Finance and SKIPA, and the Nevis Ministry of Finance and NIPA, provides oversight of the system’s transparency as it relates to investment. The government does not promote or require environmental, social, and governance disclosures by companies.

The incorporation and registration of companies differs somewhat on the country’s two constituent islands. In Saint Kitts, the Companies Act regulates the process. In Nevis, the Nevis Island Business Corporation Ordinance regulates the incorporation of companies. There are no nationality restrictions for directors in a company, and in general, national treatment is applied. All registered companies must have a registered office in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Rulemaking and regulatory authority lies with the unicameral parliament of Saint Kitts and Nevis. The parliament consists of 11 members elected in single-seat constituencies (eight from Saint Kitts and three from Nevis) for a five-year term.

In February 2023, the government passed the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act which enables citizens to request information about a wide range of topics such as government spending, public policies, and the conduct of public officials. It also aims to hold government officials accountable for their actions and to promote greater transparency in government. The government maintains an information service and a website where it posts information such as directories of officials and a summary of laws and press releases. A list of the national laws and ordinances that are passed annually can be found online at: . The government budget and limited debt obligation information are available online at:  . The government also maintains a legal aid and advice website to provide legal services to low-income citizens:  . Accounting, legal, and regulatory procedures are generally transparent and consistent with international norms. The International Financial Accounting Standards, which stem from the General Accepted Accounting Principles, govern the accounting profession in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The independent Office of the Ombudsman guards against abuses by government officers in the performance of their duties. The Ombudsman is responsible for investigating any complaint relating to any decision or act of any government officer or body in any case in which a member of the public claims to be aggrieved or appears to the Ombudsman to be the victim of injustice due to the exercise of the administrative function of that officer or body.

Regulations are developed nationally and regionally. Nationally, the relevant line ministry reviews regulations. Ministries then submit the results of their reviews to the Ministry of Justice, Legal Affairs and Communications for the preparation of the draft legislation. Subsequently, the Ministry of Justice, Legal Affairs and Communications reviews all agreements and legal commitments (national, regional, and international) to be undertaken by Saint Kitts and Nevis to ensure consistency prior to finalization. SKIPA has the main responsibility for project-level supervision, while the Ministry of Finance monitors investments to collect information for national statistics and reporting purposes. Regulatory actions under the purview of the country’s Financial Services Regulatory Commission are posted on its website.

Saint Kitts and Nevis’s membership in regional organizations, particularly the OECS and its Economic Union, commits it to implement all appropriate measures to ensure the fulfillment of its various treaty obligations. For example, the Banking Act, which establishes a single banking space and the harmonization of banking regulations in the Economic Union, is uniformly in force in the eight member territories of the ECCU, although there are some minor differences in implementation from country to country. The enforcement mechanisms of these regulations include penalties or legal sanctions.

International Regulatory Considerations

As a member of the OECS and the Eastern Caribbean Customs Union, Saint Kitts and Nevis subscribes to a set of principles and policies outlined in the Revised Treaty of Basseterre. The relationship between national and regional systems is such that each participating member state is expected to coordinate and adopt, where possible, common national policies aimed at the progressive harmonization of relevant policies and systems across the region. Thus, Saint Kitts and Nevis is obligated to implement regionally developed regulations, such as legislation passed under OECS authority, unless it seeks specific concessions.

The Saint Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards develops, establishes, maintains, and promotes standards for improving industrial development, industrial efficiency, the health and safety of consumers, the environment, food and food products, and the facilitation of trade. It also conducts national training and consultations in international standards practices. As a signatory to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on the Technical Barriers to Trade, through the Saint Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards, is obligated to harmonize all national standards to international norms to avoid creating technical barriers to trade.

Saint Kitts and Nevis ratified the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in 2016. Ratification of the Agreement is an important signal to investors of the country’s commitment to improving its business environment for trade. The TFA aims to improve the speed and efficiency of border procedures, facilitate reductions in trade costs, and enhance participation in the global value chain. Saint Kitts and Nevis has already implemented some TFA requirements. A full list is available at:  .

As a member of CARICOM, Saint Kitts and Nevis utilizes the Advanced Cargo Information System, a computer-based system developed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to harmonize and standardize electronic cargo information in order to improve the capability to track cargo efficiently and to support regional and international trade. The Advanced Cargo Information System forms a critical part of the World Customs Organization SAFE Framework of Standards. Saint Kitts and Nevis has also fully implemented the Automated System for Customs Data.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

Saint Kitts and Nevis bases its legal system on the British common law system. The Attorney General, the Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC), junior judges, and magistrates administer justice in the country. The ECSC Act establishes the Supreme Court of Judicature, which consists of the High Court and the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal. The High Court hears criminal and civil matters and makes determinations on interpretation of the Constitution. Parties may appeal to the ECSC, an itinerant court that hears appeals from all OECS members. Final appeal is to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of the UK.

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is the regional judicial tribunal, established in 2001 by the Agreement Establishing the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. The CCJ has original jurisdiction to interpret and apply the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. In its appellate jurisdiction, the CCJ considers and determines appeals from CARICOM member states, which are parties to the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice. Currently, Saint Kitts and Nevis is subject only to the original jurisdiction of the CCJ.

The United States and Saint Kitts and Nevis are both parties to the WTO. The WTO Dispute Settlement Panel and Appellate Body resolve disputes over WTO agreements, while courts of appropriate jurisdiction in both countries resolve private disputes.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

Saint Kitts and Nevis’ policy is to attract foreign direct investment into the priority sectors identified under its National Diversification Strategy. These include financial services, tourism, real estate, agriculture, information technology, education services, and limited light manufacturing. However, investment opportunities also exist in renewable energy and other services. The main laws concerning foreign investment include the Fiscal Incentive Act, the Hotels Aid Act, and the Companies Act.

SKIPA and NIPA offer websites useful for navigating procedures and registration requirements for foreign investors at  and . Saint Kitts also offers an online investment handbook at .

Citizenship by Investment

Under Saint Kitts and Nevis’ citizenship by investment program, foreign individuals can obtain citizenship without needing to establish residence (or gaining voting rights). Applicants are required to undergo a due diligence process before citizenship can be granted. A minimum investment for a single investor to qualify is $200,000 (540,510 Eastern Caribbean dollars) in real estate or a $150,000 (405,383 Eastern Caribbean dollars) contribution to the Sustainable Growth Fund. Applicants must also provide a medical certificate and evidence of the source of funds. Further information is available at: .

Competition and Antitrust Laws

Chapter 8 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas outlines the competition policy applicable to CARICOM states. Member states are required to establish and maintain a national competition authority for implementing the rules of competition. CARICOM established a Caribbean Competition Commission to apply rules of competition regarding anti-competitive cross-border business conduct. CARICOM competition policy addresses anti-competitive business conduct such as agreements between enterprises, decisions by associations of enterprises, and concerted practices by enterprises that have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction, or distortion of competition within CARICOM, and actions by which an enterprise abuses its dominant position within CARICOM. Saint Kitts and Nevis is a member of the CCC.

The OECS has agreed to establish a regional authority to regulate competition in the economic union and would be a part of the CCC. To date, the draft OECS Competition Bill remains under review. As such, there is currently no legislation or authority outside of the CARICOM framework that regulates competition in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Expropriation and Compensation

Saint Kitts and Nevis employs eminent domain laws which allow the government to expropriate private property. The government is required to compensate owners. There are also laws that permit the acquisition of private businesses, and the government claims such laws are constitutional. The concept of eminent domain and the expropriation of private property is typically governed by laws that require governments to adequately compensate owners of the expropriated property at the time of its expropriation or soon thereafter. In some cases, the procedure for compensation of owners favors the government valuation.

The U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown is aware of two separate and outstanding cases involving the seizure of private land by the government.

In the first case, the Saint Kitts and Nevis government was mandated to pay the American claimant a total of four installments. After completing payments in 2013 and 2014, the Saint Kitts and Nevis government alleged that another individual made a claim on part of the property and that it must wait until a court determines the outcome of the other claim before completing payments to the original claimant. In the interim, the court ruled that by November 2020, the the government should deposit the balance of payment due into a court-controlled escrow account to facilitate payment upon resolution of the second property claim. During the reporting period, the Saint Kitts and Nevis government did not deposit the balance into a court-controlled account. No further payments were made to the estate of the claimant after he died in May 2021, according to the claimant’s son, who is still pursuing the case. A motion to strike out the appeal was heard by the supreme court in April 2023. The court has yet to give its final ruling.

In the second case, an American company signed an agreement to provide 2 million gallons of water to Saint Kitts and Nevis in 2015. The government expropriated the company’s drilling equipment in 2018 without compensation. In 2019, the government agreed to pay a $1 million settlement to the company and to deposit an additional $500,000 into an escrow account. The company subsequently agreed to a settlement of $750,000 in addition to the escrow deposit. Although the government agreed to the payments, the Ministry of Infrastructure has not released the funds. According to the Office of the Attorney General, while an additional agreement was reached between the parties in December 2020 regarding the delivery of water and the payment of all fees, the contract was subsequently renegotiated. The U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown continues to recommend thorough due diligence when conducting business in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Saint Kitts and Nevis is a party to the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States.  It is not a member of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, also known as the New York Arbitration Convention.  However, as a member of the Organization of American States (OAS), Saint Kitts and Nevis adheres to the New York Arbitration Convention.  The Arbitration Act Chap. 3.01 is the main legislation that governs arbitration in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Investors are permitted to use national or international arbitration for contracts with the state.  Saint Kitts and Nevis does not have a bilateral investment treaty or a free trade agreement with an investment chapter with the United States. Through the Arbitration Act, the local courts recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards issued against the government.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

The ECSC is the domestic arbitration body. Local courts recognize and enforce foreign commercial arbitral awards. International commercial arbitration in Saint Kitts and Nevis is applied under the Arbitration Act. The ECSC’s Court of Appeal also provides mediation.

Bankruptcy Regulations

Saint Kitts and Nevis has a bankruptcy framework that grants certain rights to debtor and creditor, including the ability of creditors to pursue necessary actions to resolve outstanding debts.

Investment Incentives

To increase investment in the country, the government of Saint Kitts and Nevis implemented a series of investment incentives codified in the Fiscal Incentives Act.  The Fiscal Incentives Act includes a tax holiday of up to 15 years; additional tax rebates of up to five years; exemption from customs duties on material and equipment deemed necessary to establish or update an enterprise; repatriation of profits, dividends, royalties, and imported capital by arrangement with the Ministry of Finance; and protection of investment through government agreement.  Four types of enterprises qualify for tax holidays.

The length of the tax holiday for the first three types of enterprises depends on the amount of value added in Saint Kitts and Nevis.  The Fiscal Incentives Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019, amended the definition of the fourth type of enterprise, known as enclave industry.  Enclave enterprises are now permitted to sell goods within the CARICOM region and in the local market, in addition to exporting these goods.

Enterprise Value Added Maximum Tax Holiday
Group I At least 50 percent or more 15 years
Group II At least 25 percent but less than 50 percent 12 years
Group III At least 10 percent but less than 25 percent 10 years
Enclave Enclave 15 years

Companies that qualify for tax holidays may import duty-free all equipment, machinery, spare parts, and raw materials used in production.

The Hotels Aid Act provides relief from customs duties on items brought into the country for use in the construction, extension, and equipping of a hotel of not less than ten bedrooms.  In addition, the Income Tax Act provides special tax relief benefits for hotels of more than 30 bedrooms.  These hotels are exempt from income tax for ten years.  If the hotel contains fewer than 30 bedrooms, gains or profits are exempt from income tax for five years.

Value Added Tax is levied on the total accommodation charges of a hotel or guest house and on the cost of food and beverages sold by a restaurant.  This total tax rate is ten percent.
Tax laws do not require investors in Saint Kitts and Nevis to pay a capital gains tax.  Qualified companies enjoy full exemption from taxes on corporate profits for a period not exceeding 15 years.  Corporate tax does not apply to exempt companies or to enterprises that were granted tax concessions.  There is no personal income tax.  Additional tax concessions are available at the end of the tax holiday period.

Normally, individuals and ordinary companies remitting payments to parties outside Saint Kitts and Nevis must deduct ten percent withholding tax from profits, administration, management or head office expenses, technical services fees, accounting and audit expenses, royalties, non-life insurance premiums, and rent.  However, this tax does not apply to profits of an approved enterprise such as exempt trusts, limited partnerships, companies, or foundations.

The Unincorporated Business Tax Act mandates a levy on the gross revenue of services provided by professionals such as doctors, lawyers, dentists, and other specified persons listed in the schedule at a rate of four percent. The government of Saint Kitts and Nevis does not issue guarantees or jointly finance foreign direct investment projects.

No incentives are offered for businesses owned by underrepresented investors such as women.
For 2-5MW investments in solar, wind, and waste-to-energy, 10MW investments in geothermal energy, and investments in LED and solar streetlights, the government of Saint Kitts and Nevis offers exemptions from import duties and custom service charges on related equipment. Due to the small market size, these incentives have had limited impact to date on facilitating green investment.

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

There are no foreign trade zones, free ports, or special economic zones in Saint Kitts and Nevis. However, there are four fully developed industrial sites where production facilities can be constructed to specifications and leased at nominal rates. The Development Bank of Saint Kitts and Nevis manages the sites on behalf of the government.

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

Saint Kitts and Nevis does not mandate local employment. The provisions of the Labor Code outline the requirements for acquiring a work permit and prohibit anyone who is not a citizen of Saint Kitts and Nevis or the OECS from engaging in employment without a work permit. When Saint Kitts and Nevis grants work permits to senior management because no qualified nationals are available for the post, the government may recommend a counterparty trainee who is a citizen. There are no excessively onerous visa, residency, or work permit requirements.

As a member of the WTO, Saint Kitts and Nevis is party to the Agreement to the Trade Related Investment Measures. While there are no formal performance requirements, the government encourages investments that will create jobs and increase exports and foreign exchange earnings. There are no requirements for participation either by nationals or by the government in foreign investment projects. There is no requirement that enterprises must purchase a fixed percentage of goods or technology from local sources, but the government encourages local sourcing. Foreign investors may hold up to 100 percent of an investment. Except for the requirement to obtain an Alien Landholders License, foreign investment in Saint Kitts and Nevis is not subject to any restrictions, and foreign investors receive national treatment. There are no requirements for foreign information technology providers to turn over source code and/or provide access to surveillance. There are no measures or draft measures that prevent or restrict companies from freely transmitting customer or other business-related data outside the country. In 2018, the government passed the Data Protection Act No. 5 to promote the protection of personal and private data.

Real Property

Civil law protects physical property and mortgage claims. Foreign investors are required to obtain an Alien Landholders License to purchase residential or commercial property. The cost of these licenses is ten percent of the value of the land, plus fees associated with an attorney or other local service provider. Cabinet grants these licenses. Foreign investors are not required to pay the Alien Landholders License Tax in areas designated as special development zones, such as Frigate Bay or certain parts of the Southeast Peninsula. The Land Registry Act of 2017 was enacted to modernize records, identify property owners, and register clear land titles.

Intellectual Property Rights

Saint Kitts and Nevis is signatory to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Patent Cooperation Treaty, and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.  It is also a member of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The country is not listed in the U.S. Trade Representative’s 2023 Special 301 Report or in its 2022 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy.

Saint Kitts and Nevis has a legislative framework supporting its commitment to the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR).  While the legal structures governing IPR are adequate, enforcement is inconsistent.  The Intellectual Property Office of Saint Kitts and Nevis (IPOSKN) is responsible for administering all laws related to IPR and overseeing the registration of patents, trademarks, and service marks.  Its website is  .
Article 66 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishing the CSME commits all 15 members to implement IPR protection and enforcement.  The CARIFORUM-EU EPA contains the most detailed obligations regarding IPR in any trade agreement to which Saint Kitts and Nevis is party.  The EPA recognizes to the protection and enforcement of IPR. Article 139 of the EPA requires parties to “ensure an adequate and effective implementation of the international treaties dealing with intellectual property to which they are parties and of the [WTO] Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).” As a member of the WTO, Saint Kitts and Nevis recognizes the WTO TRIPS Agreement.

The Customs Department of Saint Kitts and Nevis can seize prohibited or counterfeit goods.  However, the courts rule on the forfeiture and disposal of such goods.  Complainants arrange with Customs to secure suspected counterfeit and prohibited goods until a judgment is rendered.  Saint Kitts and Nevis is in the process of reviewing its existing laws in relation to the importation of counterfeit and prohibited goods.

For additional information about national laws and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at 

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

Saint Kitts and Nevis is a member of the ECCU. As such, it is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE) and the Regional Government Securities Market. The ECSE is a regional securities market established by the ECCB and licensed under the Securities Act of 2001, a uniform regional body of legislation governing the buying and selling of financial products for the eight member territories. It is regulated by the Eastern Caribbean Regulatory Commission.

The ECSE and its subsidiaries, the Eastern Caribbean Central Securities Depository and the Eastern Caribbean Central Securities Registry, facilitate activities on the ECSE. The main activities are the primary issuance and secondary trading of corporate and sovereign securities, the clearance and settlement of issues and trades, maintaining securities holders’ records, and providing custodial, registration, transfer agency, and paying agency services while respecting listed and non-listed securities. As of March 2022, there were 164 securities listed on the ECSE, comprising 135 sovereign debt instruments, 13 equities, and 16 corporate debt securities. Market capitalization stood at $703 million (1.9 billion Eastern Caribbean dollars). Saint Kitts and Nevis is open to portfolio investment.

Saint Kitts and Nevis accepted the obligations of Article VIII of the IMF Agreement, Sections 2, 3 and 4, and maintains an exchange system free of restrictions on making payments and transfers for current international transactions.  The private sector has access to credit on the local market through loans, purchases of non-equity securities, trade credits, and other accounts receivable that establish a claim for repayment.

Money and Banking System

The eight participating governments of the ECCU have passed the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Agreement Act. The act provides for the establishment of the ECCB, its management and administration, its currency, relations with financial institutions, relations with the participating governments, foreign exchange operations, external reserves, and other related matters. Saint Kitts and Nevis is a signatory to this agreement and the ECCB controls Saint Kitts and Nevis’ currency and regulates its domestic banks.

The Banking Act (2015) is a harmonized piece of legislation across ECCU member states. The ECCB and the Ministers of Finance of member states jointly carryout banking supervision under this act. The Minister of Finance usually act in consultation with the ECCB with respect to those areas of responsibility within the minister’s portfolio.

Domestic and foreign banks can establish operations in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The Banking Act requires all commercial banks and other institutions to be licensed in order to conduct any banking business. The ECCB regulates financial institutions. As part of ongoing supervision, licensed financial institutions are required to submit monthly, quarterly, and annual performance reports to the ECCB. In its latest annual report, the ECCB listed the commercial banking sector in Saint Kitts and Nevis as stable. Assets of commercial banks totaled $2.5 billion (6.8 billion Eastern Caribbean dollars) at the end of the last reported year of 2019. The reserve requirement for commercial banks was six percent of deposit liabilities. Saint Kitts and Nevis is well served by bank and non-bank financial institutions. There are minimal alternative financial services. Some citizens still participate in informal community group lending.

The Caribbean region has witnessed a withdrawal of correspondent banking services by U.S., Canadian, and European banks due to risk management concerns. CARICOM remains committed to engaging with key stakeholders on the issue and appointed a Committee of Ministers of Finance on Correspondent Banking to monitor the issue.

Bitt, a wholly U.S. owned company founded in Barbados, developed digital currency DCash in partnership with the ECCB. The first successful DCash retail central bank digital currency (CDBC) consumer-to-merchant transaction took place in Grenada in February 2021 following a multi-year development process. The ECCB and BITT signed a memorandum of understanding in March 2018 and launched their fintech pilot project and regulatory sandbox in four member countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia a year later. In March 2021, DCash was officially rolled out in Saint Kitts and Nevis. After some challenges in early 2022, the DCash online platform remained online and available for transactions during the reporting period.

In 2020, Saint Kitts and Nevis enacted the Virtual Assets Business Bill. A further amendment was made in 2021 to regulate virtual currencies with the expectation that they will become increasingly prevalent. The bill is intended to facilitate the ease of doing business in a cashless society, and to combat theft, fraud, money laundering, Ponzi schemes, and terrorist financing. All businesses in this sector must register under this act. This bill was drafted by the ECCB.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

Saint Kitts and Nevis is a member of the ECCU and the ECCB. The currency of exchange is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD). As a member of the OECS, Saint Kitts and Nevis has a fully liberalized foreign exchange system. The Eastern Caribbean dollar was pegged to the United States dollar at a rate of XCD 2.70 to $1.00 in 1976. As a result, the Eastern Caribbean dollar does not fluctuate, creating a stable currency environment for trade and investment in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Remittance Policies

Companies registered in Saint Kitts and Nevis have the right to repatriate all capital, royalties, dividends, and profits. There are no restrictions on the repatriation of dividends for totally foreign-owned firms. A mixed foreign-domestic company may repatriate profits to the extent of its foreign participation.

As a member of the OECS, there are no exchange controls in Saint Kitts and Nevis and the invoicing of foreign trade transactions are allowed in any currency. Importers are not required to make prior deposits in local funds and export proceeds do not have to be surrendered to government authorities or to authorized banks. There are no controls on transfers of funds. Saint Kitts and Nevis is a member of the CFATF.

In 2016, the government signed an Intergovernmental Agreement in observance of FATCA, making it mandatory for banks in Saint Kitts and Nevis to report the banking information of U.S. citizens.

The country passed the Anti-Money Laundering Bill, 2019. The stated intent of this bill is to begin to bring the country into alignment with international standards for combating money laundering. Saint Kitts and Nevis also passed the Proceeds of Crime and Asset Recovery Bill, 2019, which aims to provide the government with an additional tool to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Neither the Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis, nor the ECCB, of which Saint Kitts and Nevis is a member, maintains a sovereign wealth fund.

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in Saint Kitts and Nevis work in partnership with ministries, or under their remit to carry out certain specific ministerial responsibilities.  There are currently ten SOEs in Saint Kitts and Nevis in areas such as tourism, investment services, broadcasting and media, solid waste management, and agriculture.  They are all wholly owned government entities.  Each is headed by a board of directors to which senior managers report.  A list of SOEs can be found at  .

Privatization Program

Saint Kitts and Nevis does not currently have a targeted privatization program.

The private sector is involved in projects that benefit society, including support of environmental, social, and cultural causes. The government encourages corporate social responsibility but does not have regulations in place to mandate such activities by private companies.

Additional Resources

Department of State

Department of the Treasury

Department of Labor

Climate Issues

Saint Kitts and Nevis has a national climate strategy via its updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), submitted in 2021, and is currently finalizing a national adaptation plan for which it has received funding under the Green Climate Fund. It does not have a specific strategy for monitoring natural capital. The NDC includes a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by 2030 and has identified several mitigation strategies to achieve this goal. These include an effort to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, improvements to efficiency in electricity transmission and distribution, and development of electric vehicle infrastructure. The government hopes to receive substantial external support, primarily from the international community, in pursuit of these goals. The government offers incentives for investors in the renewable energy sector, including exemption of import duties on related inputs. The government has listed renewable energy projects that are available for investment. The full list is available at . Beyond the previously mentioned investment incentives, there are no current regulatory incentives in place to achieve policy outcomes that preserve biodiversity, clean air, and other desirable ecological benefits. Public procurement policies do not currently consider environmental and green growth considerations.

A new Anti-Corruption bill was passed in March 2023. The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption and also creates an office of a special prosecutor. The government has also passed an amended integrity in public life act which provides for a code of conduct and declarations of interest for public officials. The government generally implements these laws effectively. Media and private citizens reported government corruption was a problem.

The Financial Intelligence Unit and the police force’s white-collar crime unit investigate reports on suspicious financial transactions, but these reports were not available to the public.

Government agencies involved in enforcement of anti-corruption laws include the Royal Saint Kitts and Nevis Police Force, the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the Financial Intelligence Unit. The Financial Intelligence Unit investigates financial crimes, but no independent body has been established to handle allegations of government corruption.


Simone Bullen-Thompson
Legal Department
Church Street, Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis
Tel: 1-869-465-2170

Justice Pearletta Lanns
Integrity Commission
Tel: 1-869-466-6436 or 1-869-466-6915

Saint Kitts and Nevis does not have a recent history of politically motivated violence or civil disturbance. Saint Kitts and Nevis’ general elections are constitutionally due in 2027.

Saint Kitts and Nevis has a labor force of approximately 25,000 with a literacy rate of 98 percent. Local colleges largely meet the country’s technical and training needs. There is also a large pool of professionals to draw from in fields such as law, medicine, information technology, and accounting. Many of the professionals in Saint Kitts and Nevis trained in the United States, Canada, the wider Caribbean, or the UK, and often also gain work experience before returning to Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The national minimum wage for all sectors of the economy was above the estimated poverty income level. The law does not prohibit excessive or compulsory overtime, but policy calls for employers to inform employees if they must work overtime. Although not required by law, workers generally received at least one 24-hour rest period per week. The law provides for a 40-hour workweek and for premium pay for work above the standard workweek. The law also calls for paid holidays and work on rest days to be paid at double the standard rate, as well as equal pay for equal work. The law provides for the right to form and join independent unions or staff associations and the right to collective bargaining. The government generally respected the law.

The law permits police, civil servants, hotels, construction workers, and small businesses to organize staff associations. Staff associations do not have bargaining powers but are used to network and develop professional standards. A union representing more than 50 percent of employees at a company may apply for the company to recognize the union for collective bargaining. Companies generally recognized the establishment of a union if a majority of its workers voted in favor of organizing the union, but the companies are not legally obliged to do so.

Although there is no legislation governing the organization and representation of workers, the constitution speaks to the freedom of association and the right to organize and collective bargaining. Saint Kitts and Nevis ratified the International Labor Organization Conventions on freedom of association and the right to organize and collective bargaining. The law permits the police, civil servants, hotel workers, construction workers, and employees of small businesses to organize staff associations. Staff associations do not have bargaining powers but are used to network and develop professional standards.

The law prohibits antiunion discrimination but does not require employers found guilty of such discrimination to rehire employees fired for union activities. The government generally enforces applicable laws, and penalties were commensurate with those for other laws involving denials of civil rights, such as discrimination. The Ministry of Labor provided employers with training on their rights and responsibilities.

The Labor Commissioner mediates all types of disputes between labor and management. By law, the system of industrial relations in Saint Kitts and Nevis allows for labor grievances through a process of conciliation and mediation by the Department of Labor and the Commissioner, an independent hearing, arbitration, and finally a court of law. In practice, however, few disputes go to the Commissioner for resolution. If neither the Commissioner nor the Ministry of Labor can resolve the dispute, the law allows a case to be brought before a civil court.

The law does not provide remedies for labor law violations, and the Ministry of Labour does not provide information on the adequacy of resources, inspections, and penalties for violations. Penalties are outdated and fines are insufficient to deter violations. The Department of Labour provided employers with training on their rights and responsibilities.

Investors in Saint Kitts and Nevis are responsible for maintaining workers’ rights and safeguarding the environment. While there are no specific health and safety regulations, the Factories Act provides general health and safety guidance to Labor Ministry inspectors. The Labor Commission settles disputes over safety conditions. Workers have the right to report unsafe work environments without jeopardy to continued employment, and workers may leave such locations without jeopardy to their continued employment.

Saint Kitts and Nevis is classified as a high- income country under the World Bank’s definition and is ineligible for DFC programs.


Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2022 $979.2 2021 $860.8 
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2021 $461.0 BEA data available at
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2021 $61.0 BEA data available at 
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2021 172.2% UNCTAD data available at   

* Source for Host Country Data: Eastern Caribbean Central Bank:  

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Saint Kitts and Nevis does not appear in the IMF’s Coordinated Direct Investment Survey (CDIS).

Political/Economic Section
U.S. Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States

On This Page

  2. 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
    1. Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment
    2. Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment
    3. Other Investment Policy Reviews
    4. Business Facilitation
    5. Outward Investment
  3. 2. Bilateral Investment and Taxation Treaties
    1. Saint Kitts and Nevis is also party to the following:
      1. Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
      2. Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)
      3. Caribbean Basin Initiative
      4. CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement
      5. CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement
      6. Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement
  4. 3. Legal Regime
    1. Transparency of the Regulatory System
    2. International Regulatory Considerations
    3. Legal System and Judicial Independence
    4. Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment
    5. Citizenship by Investment
    6. Competition and Antitrust Laws
    7. Expropriation and Compensation
    8. Dispute Settlement
      1. ICSID Convention and New York Convention
      2. Investor-State Dispute Settlement
      3. International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts
    9. Bankruptcy Regulations
  5. 4. Industrial Policies
    1. Investment Incentives
    2. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation
    3. Performance and Data Localization Requirements
  6. 5. Protection of Property Rights
    1. Real Property
    2. Intellectual Property Rights
  7. 6. Financial Sector
    1. Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment
    2. Money and Banking System
    3. Foreign Exchange and Remittances
      1. Foreign Exchange
      2. Remittance Policies
    4. Sovereign Wealth Funds
  8. 7. State-Owned Enterprises
    1. Privatization Program
  9. 8. Responsible Business Conduct
    1. Additional Resources
    2. Climate Issues
  10. 9. Corruption
  11. 10. Political and Security Environment
  12. 11. Labor Policies and Practices
  13. 12. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and Other Investment Insurance or Development Finance Programs
  14. 13. Foreign Direct Investment Statistics
  15. 14. Contact for More Information
2023 Investment Climate Statements: Saint Kitts and Nevis
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