Th Samoan Citizenship by Investment scheme is the process of granting of citizenship status to an individual (and immediate family members) contingent upon a specified and quantifiable investment in Samoa. This scheme is administered by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour under the provisions of the Citizenship Investment Act 2016 and its Regulations 2016. The CBI program was officially launched in 2017 which requires atleast a minimum capital investment of no less than USD 1.5 million (SAT 4 million).
The Citizenship Investment Act 2016 has attracted a lot of interests and government officials are now engaging with potential investors. The Act is an initiative by government to attract new businesses to stimulate the economy and create new employment opportunities.
Citizenship by Investment is the granting of citizenship status to an individual (and immediate family members) contingent upon a specified and quantifiable investment in Samoa. This scheme is administered by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour under the provisions of the Citizenship Investment Act 2016 and its Regulations 2016. Previously there were only four options to obtain Samoan Citizenship which were Citizenship by Birth, Citizenship by Decent, Citizenship by Marriage or Citizenship by Permanent Residency. This new program will allow individuals and immediate family members an additional option to obtain Samoan Citizenship through investment.
• Unique – An discrete economic citizenship program unknown to many investors.
• Convenience – a second passport may afford visa-free travel to 130 jurisdictions not available to country of birth (eg. Schengen, Canada, United Kingdom).
• Tax Planning – several countries levy income tax on non-resident citizens.
• Personal Security – citizenship and a passport from a small, peaceful country is considered by some as protection when traveling, especially in times of political unrest, civil war, terrorism and other situations.
• Investment in the future – acquiring a 2nd citizenship may be considered an investment for the future.
In order for an investor to be considered eligible for Citizenship by Investment, the investor must satisfy the following criteria;
1) The investor must intend to invest in any of the following qualifying investment areas;
• leasing and developing of government lands;
• processing or manufacturing of agricultural produce;
• processing or manufacturing or fishery products;
• information or communication technology;
• electricity generation through bio-fuel, solar, water or wind;
• investment in a government development fund for the purposes of national development or investment in a prescribed charitable trust;
• Any services other than any services listed in the Reserved List under the Foreign Investment Act 2000.
2) The investor must invest a minimum amount of SAT$4m (US$ 1.5m);
3) The investor must have a minimum net worth of SAT$2.5m (US$ 1m);
1) Applications must be submitted to the Citizenship Investment Committee.
• Applications must be submitted to the Industry Development and Investment Promotion division of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour as the Secretariat of the Committee.
• All applications will be checked by the Secretariat to make sure that all required documentation is submitted.
• A preliminary assessment will be carried out by the Secretariat.
• Once all documentation is received and the assessment has been made the Secretariat will then call a meeting of the Committee to discuss the applications received.
• The applicant (s) will be notified in writing of the outcome and decisions made by the Committee after the meeting has been adjourned.
2) Applications must include the following information;
• an investment plan;
• names of family members, including birth certificates or official records of birth;
• proof of net-worth of current businesses and assets;
• audited financial statements for the last three (3) financial years for any business in which the investor held directorship, a senior management role or proprietary interest;
• police clearance of the investor in the last 5 years and, if relevant, any family members in their country or countries of citizenship or permanent residence;
• Doctor’s reports on full medical examinations of the investor and any family members.
3) Once received, the Committee will only be able to consider an application if;
• fees for the application and due diligence have been paid in full;
• proof of opening of the fixed deposit account and the payment into that account at least 70% (or instead a prescribed percentage of at least 50%) of the investment sum;
• The report on due diligence checks has been received.
4) The investor must comply with any direction issued by the Committee on any of the requirements for qualifying investment or the application.
5) Any document attached to the application must be the original document or a copy of the original document certified by a lawyer in Samoa or of the country where the investor resides.
Responsible officer to make sure that all required information and copies of documents when received are securely recorded and a new case file is created for each new application including documentation for dependent family members accompanied in the application. Files must be clearly marked with the date the application was received as well as the date additional information was received. File must also be signed by the responsible officer that received the application and additional information.
Step 1: The investor and any family members may be issued with a Temporary Resident Permit when an application is lodged
Step 2: The investor and any family members are entitled to be granted a Permanent Resident Permit valid for three (3) years when an application is granted however this permit is subject to the following conditions;
• The investor may withdraw any amount in the fixed deposit account to be used in accordance with the investment plan; but the investor must maintain at least 15% of the original sum deposited in the account.
• The Committee may, during the 3 year period of permanent residence of the investor, continue to review and monitor the progress of the qualifying investment pursuant to the investment plan or guidelines or as the Committee considers fit.
Step 3: The investor and any family members are eligible to apply for Samoan Citizenship within three (3) months before the expiry of the Permanent Resident Permit, if the investor;
• (including a family member or members) has resided in Samoa for at least 15 days a year during the 3 year period of the permanent resident permit; and
• Has complied with the investment plan.
The investor (and family members included in the application) will be reminded by the Secretariat (in writing) at least 6 months before expiration of the permanent resident permit of the due dates and eligibility period for submission of Samoan Citizenship application. However the investor may apply to extend his or her (including any family members) permanent resident permit if the permanent residents permit expires before the citizenship is granted.
The following table outlines the fees as stipulated under the Citizenship Investment Regulations 2015
1. Application for investment (principal applicant) plus: 120,000
a) Spouse 120,000
b) Dependent child (0-11) 60,000
c) Dependent child (12-17) 60,000
d) Dependent child (18)
2. Due diligence fees principal applicant plus; 20,000
a) Spouse 20,000
b) Dependent child (0-11) 0
c) Dependent child (12-17) 5,000
d) Dependent child (18) 10,000
3. Application to promote or market scheme 1,000
4. Agency application 50,000
All required fees MUST be paid to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour.
Method of payment;
• Responsible officer to complete payment form
• Applicant/Agent to pay the required fee to the cashier and must be issued with a receipt
• Officer must make a copy of the receipt will all information clearly shown on the copy
• Officer to inform applicant/agent of required timeframe for processing and outcome of application
Note: All applicants are subject to the fees and charges of other relevant agencies i.e. Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet – Immigration Division, Ministry for Revenue – Business license registration.