Buying in St. Lucia
Laws and Regulations
“Ownership” can mean different things in different countries, so investors need to be careful. While Mexico and many other hot locations only offer ‘leaseholds’ and ‘ownership in trust’, St. Lucia welcomes foreign ownership. The St. Lucia government makes purchasing and owning very simple. In fact, just owning property can make you eligible for citizenship and all the rights (and tax breaks that come with it).
If you are already a St. Lucian citizen, purchasing property is standard. If you are not a citizen, all you need is an Alien’s Landholding License first. The laws have been streamlined to make this process quick and easy, and we can assist you in acquiring the license.
What You Need to Know About the Alien’s Landholding License
- This is a one time, permanent license that never needs to be renewed
- The license is issued for a specific property or lot and is not transferable (so you need a license for each property you buy)
- A local lawyer must register the licence.
- You must pay a non-refundable licence application fee of EC$1,500.00.
- The license process takes 6 to 8 weeks, and the registration another few weeks. The whole process takes just 3-4 months, so we normally deal with this early in the purchase process
- The license itself is only EC$5,000 for properties measuring less than 1 acre and EC$10,000 if larger.
- If you are buying a vacant lot, it is common that you are required to build within 2 years of purchase (but that is not an issue here at George’s Bay).
Acquiring Your Alien’s Landholding License
As this must be registered with a local lawyer, you might as well start there. We can recommend a few local lawyers to assist you. You need to complete the application form and include:
- Full details of the land or property to be purchased (survey plan, map, land register)
- Approval in Principle from the Development Control Authority in relation to the use of the land (we have this)
- A value assessment of the land or property
- A signed sale agreement between the vendor and purchaser
- A statutory declaration (made with a lawyer) confirming no previous convictions
- 4 passport sized photos
- Employment letter and banker’s reference
- Certification of Character – in other words, a simple Police Record Check from your own local police station
- Certified fingerprints – again from your local police station
- A Treasury receipt confirming payment of the EC$1.500 application fee
The application is then vetted by the Ministry of Physical Development, Environment and Housing then the Office of the Attorney General before approval from the Prime Minister’s Office. While this licensing process may seem to be a bit of a nuisance it is very simple and protects your investment by vetting all those involved in this development.
Buyer’s must pay a Stamp Duty at the time of purchase based on 2% of the purchase price. At the point when you sell the property in the future, you will be required to pay a Vendor’s Tax based on 10% of the sale price, when eventually sold. Payment of the 10% tax can be reduced by making the purchase through a company (which can be formed prior to purchase) or by attaining citizenship.
Holding St. Lucian citizenship has many benefits including several tax breaks and exemptions. You are eligible for full citizenship if:
- You or your parents were born in St. Lucia
- You are married to a St. Lucian
- You own land or property valued at EC$350,000 or more
Property Tax Exemption for Seniors
You may be exempt from paying property taxes if you are over 65, own the property and use it exclusively as accommodation for you and members of your family.