A foreigner looking to relocate here must have considerable knowledge about the visa requirements, visa types, and eligibility available to expatriates. Formerly, every foreigner requires a visa to gain entry into the country but in recent times, the visa policy has changed. Citizens from certain countries are granted visa-free access for a maximum stay of 1 month while British citizens can reside for up to six months.
OECS nationals are granted indefinite stay here, but they must have the required funds to sustain them throughout their stay. Only eight countries require visas to enter before their entry. You may check your eligibility online at iVisa.com or on the website of the ministry of foreign affairs.
If you are looking for a guide on how to relocate here, here is a guide covering four of the main things you should know when you are planning your move.
- Visa types
- Permanent residency
- How to apply
It is a common fact that a choice of visa is determined by the traveler’s duration of stay and purpose. To gain entry here, your visa type also depends on your nationality. If you are ineligible for a visa-free entry, then you require a visa, which you can apply for at an embassy nearest to you.
This is issued to persons transiting to another destination via a port within the country. It is usually valid for no more than three days. Nationals who are eligible for free visa entry do not require this.
Short stay visa
This is a type of visa that allows the holder to reside for a short period, for recreation, tourism, visitation, or business.
This type grants the holder who is a newly admitted student access to live while studying in a recognized native educational institution. It is usually valid for the duration of the course of study. A student with a student visa can apply for a work permit if he or she wished to work while studying.
Long stay visa
A foreigner looking to stay longer here can apply for a long-term visa. This allows the holder entry for a duration of stay longer than six months. Regardless of your purpose of stay, you can apply for this visa if you intend to reside permanently.
This is usually issued to persons who desire to live permanently within the country. They will require a work permit to seek employment and a permanent residence permit later on. All of which must be renewed at intervals.
For non-nationals who wish to take up permanent residency, they can apply at the office of the prime minister by submitting a complete residency permit application form. If issued, such an ex-pat can live indefinitely unless the permit expires or is revoked by the ministry in case of misuse.
How to Apply
The surest way of living permanently here is by becoming a citizen. As a foreigner who wants to become a citizen and already lives here, you have several options to explore.
- Citizenship by descent: this applies to persons born abroad or an adopted child to at least one parent who is a citizen of Saint Vincent.
- Citizenship by registration: this offers foreigners four categories; a person married to a citizen, a citizen of the British commonwealth who has lived here for at least seven years, a person who had renounced his citizenship before. A step or adopted child of a native citizen, under 21 years of age.
- Citizenship by naturalization: this is similar to registration. However, sometimes a person might be asked to renounce their previous citizenship.
- Dual citizenship: this applies to a person with St. Vincentian parents born abroad, and a child born in the country to foreign parents who are residents.
The following are requirements a foreigner must meet to become a citizen: an applicant must have resided for at least 12 months before applying, has lived here continuously for at least 9 years, has good character, possess knowledge of the English language, and plans to live indefinitely.