The government of St Lucia recognises the contribution of returning residents to the local economy and has responded very positively by providing tax incentives to encourage many St Lucians living overseas to return. To qualify for retuning resident status you must meet the following conditions:
- Be born in St Lucia, be from St Lucian parentage or be married to a St Lucian.
- Have not lived in St Lucia for over 10 years or not at all.
Those who qualify for returning residents status are allowed the following benefits:
- Bring in a container of personal goods duty free, typically home contents.
- Import or purchase of a vehicle duty free; given that duty on most vehicles is over 100%, this represents a significant saving. Typically one would order a fairly expensive vehicle, as this is a one-off opportunity. Note that the purchased vehicle cannot be sold for 4 years.
Returning residents have six months from the time of registering to take advantage of the above benefits.
Buying property is normally the biggest transaction one makes in their lifetime. As a returning resident this will probably be your second lifetime experience at purchasing property and your first attempt at purchasing in St Lucia.
The universal rules of property purchase also apply to St Lucia. If you are purchasing mainly for long-term investment then geographical location should be your primary concern. Typically the better the investment potential of the area, the higher the price.
If purchasing for more personal and sentimental reasons then different aspects of location come into play, e.g. closeness to amenities, security, exposure to the elements.
As a returning resident you will not need an alien license for purchasing property, which will save you 15% on the purchase price and reduce the sale completion time from several months to a few weeks.