Canada revokes St Kitts visa status over identity concerns

24/11/14

Canada has revoked visa-free-arrival status for citizens of the Caribbean island nation St Kitts and Nevis, saying that the island’s paid citizenship programme raises too many identity risks.

St Kitts and Nevis citizens now require a temporary resident visa to travel to Canada, as a result of “concerns about the issuance of passports and identity management practices within its citizenship by investment program”.

“The visa requirement will ensure that Canada will be able to properly determine the true identity of St. Kitts and Nevis passport holders and to deny entry to those who would otherwise be inadmissible to Canada,” said the Canadian Embassy in a statement.

Under the “citizenship by investment” program, foreign nationals can purchase St Kitts citizenship and gain a passport for a lump sum of cash.

In November 2013, a scandal erupted after Iranian citizen Alizera Moghadam turned up at the Canadian border carrying a St Kitts-Nevis diplomatic passport, saying he was there to see the Canadian prime minister.

Biometric passports issued by the island in 2012 omitted place of birth - because of the programme. However, in April new chips were installed in the travel document which officials said would enable border staff to see a place of birth.

In May, the Obama administration alleged that the citizenship system was being used as a cover for financial crimes and money-laundering activities.

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All St Kitts and Nevis citizens now require a temporary resident visa to travel to Canada.
All St Kitts and Nevis citizens now require a temporary resident visa to travel to Canada.

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