New Delhi [India] A steep hike in fees and prolonged waiting time have made the US-EB5 Visa almost unattainable in recent times.
With the suspension of a whole host of other US visa categories; popularity of the Grenadian E-2 Visa, that can be easily obtained via the Citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programs, has risen tremendously in the last few years.
CBI programs are also a terrific channel for high net-income (HNI) holders from developing countries looking to bolster and diversify their investment portfolio. They offer greater migration options along with freedom to travel visa-free to over 143 countries, including the UK, Schengen, RussiaChina.
Mohammed Asaria is the Founder Managing Director of Range Developments, the largest most successful hospitality developer in the Caribbean engaged in the CBI sphere. Mohammed was born and brought up in UK and graduated with a law degree from University of Cambridge.
Prior to establishing Range Developments, he worked for a number of years in law firms and investment banks in London, Tokyo and Dubai.
Here, he discusses the advantages of pursuing CBI programs (and E-2 visa programs), in Grenada,You have graduated as a lawyer. What made you venture into Real Estate?MA: My mother was born in Kenya, my father was from Uganda, and three generations back from India. My father’s family was settled in Uganda till 1972,when under Idi Amin’s regime many Asians were made to leave the country. That’s how he ended up in the United Kingdom as a refugee. If at that time CBI option would have been made available, then it would have immensely benefited my father’s family. So it’s very personal to me.
The first time I actually came across the concept of CBI was in 2011, when someone suggested that I obtain a Saint Kitts & Nevis passport through their CBI program. The idea just resonated with me. It has been an intense, eventful, and fulfilling nine years since.
Can you give us some background on Range Developments?MA: Range Developments was established in the Caribbean in 2012, and is the largest and most successful hospitality developer in the eastern Caribbean,set up with the objective of providing investors with access to exceptional real estate developments through CBI programs of the countries we operate in.
The Range Developments brand has gained credibility as a safe and secure investment; and hotel brands and investors alike know that we will deliver as promised. In each of the countries where we have been successful, we act as a beacon for the CBI industry in that jurisdiction. We do our due diligence fully before we invest in a country.
Range Development is redefining luxury in Grenada. Can you throw some light on the kind of projects that Range Development has done in the past or is currently developing there?MA: Our first project was the Park Hyatt, St. Kitts. When the Hotel opened in 2017, it was not only a major milestone for us, but also a key milestone for tourism in the Eastern Caribbean. We got rave reviews in the international media.
After the success of Park Hyatt, we were invited to repeat this feat in Dominica with the Cabrits Resort Spa Kempinski, Dominica, an ultra-luxury 5-star hotel. We are now onto our third project in the island of Grenada, the Six Senses La Sagesse, Grenada, scheduled to be completed in 2022.
We not only offer the best services in the world, but also preserve the integrity and harmony of the site through sustainable development that is in balance with the nature and its surroundings. We also have an incredible track record when it comes to completion of projects as we employ some of the best engineers, architects, contractors and skilled workforce in the Caribbean to ensure that we are able to timely execute and deliver on our vision.
Range Development is known for the development of luxury, high-end resorts under CBI programmes. What exactly is a Citizenship-by-Investment programme?MA: The concept is actually simple -an investor is allowed to apply for citizenship of that country in return for investment in an approved real estate project. The investors become eligible for many of the benefits that follow including greater mobility, visa-free travel to many destinations worldwide (including the UK, Schengen, Russia and China), access to a tax-efficient jurisdiction, and much more. An individual can invest and reside in the United States, through applying for an E2 visa once they obtain economic citizenship of Grenada. CBI programs are a great option for HNIs of developing nations looking to add a second passport in their investment portfolio which provided a hedge against economic, political or social challenges.
How can Indians benefit from it? Is it true that a Grenadian Passport holder can migrate to USA through the E2 visa with family?MA: Investing in Grenada provides you and your family (including spouse, siblings, parents and children) with a unique opportunity to Invest in a beautiful country, become a citizen of Grenada and be treated equal to Grenadian born citizens for life. Yes, Grenada is the only country in the Caribbean (which has a CBI program) whose citizens have access to work and reside in the US, as an investor under the United States’ exclusive E-2 Visa programme.
Citizenship of Grenada would also give you:- Visa-free travel to around 143 countries including Europe, Singapore, Russia, the Schengen Area and China, to name a few- Full citizenship status under Grenadian laws without the need to visit or reside in Grenada- Right to live and work in Grenada- Right to pass on citizenship to future generations- Benefits of a low tax regime that safeguards citizens from inheritance, gift and capital gains tax; as well as safeguarding non-resident citizens from wealth and foreign income tax- Opportunity to invest in international real estate markets- Tax planning on worldwide income- Ease of doing international business. Can you tell interested Indians a bit about the application process?MA: The application process is streamlined. It takes about 90 days to process your application for Grenada (during which detailed due diligence is undertaken on you by the Government of Grenada) and another 90 days for the E2 visa. No interview or professional experience is required. You do not even need to visit / reside in Grenada to obtain citizenship. The investor must hold the investment for five years. Thereafter they can resell the investment to another investor who can also apply for citizenship of Grenada. The original investor keeps his/her citizenship in perpetuity.
Does Range Development offer any assistance to interested clients for the E2 US Visa application process?MA: Yes, Range Developments works in conjunction with and recommends US immigration lawyers who can assist with the E2 application process. We have helped scores of investors to reside in the United States till date.
Can you shed some light on the cost implication of second citizenship in Grenada and the eligibility criteria? Is there an age limit?MA: For those who wish to apply for a second passport, investment in Government approved real estate is the best way to go about it. It requires applicants to invest in a Government approved real estate project in Grenada, such as our Six Senses developments, and to maintain ownership for at least 5 years. The minimum required investment under the pre-approved real estate option is US$220,000 (which converts to roughly INR 1.6 Cr) plus government fees based on the composition of one’s family. At the outset, a deposit of 10% of the investment amount is taken, the balance on approval (expected within 3 months) of the application.
Anyone above 18 years can take advantage of the CBI programme and under a single investment one can include their entire in the application – including spouse, parent, children and siblings (subject to eligibility criteria).
Potential taxation is always an increasing concern for wealthy NRIs. Can you tell us about the tax benefits that NRIs can avail of by investing in Six Senses in Grenada?MA: Not just resident Indians but a lot of NRIs are realising the business advantages of Grenadian citizenship that helps them avoid potential citizenship based tax and also on inheritance. In Grenada there is no foreign income tax, property tax, gift tax, tax on wealth or inheritance tax. To attract businesses, the country offers corporate tax incentives, exempts all import taxes and has no limit on the flow of capital and profits back home.
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