Retiring in St. Lucia

With breathtaking beaches, delicious food, friendly people, and a colorful culture, St. Lucia in the Caribbean Commonwealth might be your perfect destination for a relaxing retirement abroad!

St. Lucia is a beautiful island with lush green mountains and soft sand beaches. Because of its relatively small size, there are really no boring areas on the island. Any location you choose to call home will be close enough to mountains, towns, and beaches. Hike the Piton Mountains (the country’s most iconic landmark), explore the rainforests filled with diverse creatures and plant life, or visit the famed drive-in volcano. You won’t run out of exciting or relaxing things to do in St. Lucia.

With English as the official national language and a major airport (Hewanorra UVF) offering regular direct flights to Europe and North America, it’s clear why so many expats are choosing to spend their retirement abroad in St. Lucia.

Cost of Living Abroad in St. Lucia

Because of the popularity of tourism in St. Lucia and the increasing number of affluent expats and retirees in the country, there are certainly areas that are more expensive than in neighboring Caribbean countries. However, with $1 USD equalling $2.7 East Caribbean dollars (XCD), there are still plenty of opportunities to live a retirement of increased quality of life at a less expensive price. This is especially true if you integrate local products into your routine and eliminate imported goods.

Average Cost of Living in St. Lucia (USD):

Food

  • Meal for two at a mid-level restaurant: $34
  • 1 liter of milk: $2.28
  • 12 eggs: $2.78
  • Loaf of white bread: $0.92

Housing and Utilities

  • Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Castries (St. Lucia’s capital) would cost you about $382 per month. A three-bedroom in the city center will cost around $925 per month.
  • Basic electricity, heating, cooling, water for an 85 sq.m apartment: $120 per month
  • The average monthly net salary in Castries is $1,480.

Note: Rent, utility, and food averages will decrease as you migrate away from the city center. However, those prices could spike even higher than in the city center of Castries in certain tourist-heavy resort destinations. Positive financial perks in St. Lucia include no capital gains, inheritance, or estate taxes.

Legal Documentation

St. Lucia doesn’t offer a specific visa for those looking to retire abroad there. If you wish to retire in the country, you will have to choose one of the few main visa routes that all others visiting the island need to obtain:

  • Single Entry Visa – The single entry visa allows foreigners to stay for three months abroad in St. Lucia. This visa will cost around $46 USD and takes about 5 weeks to process. Holder’s can study or live abroad in St. Lucia with this document. They will, however, need to apply for a work permit to seek employment in the country.
  • Multiple Entry Visa – The multiple entry visa allows expats abroad in St. Lucia to live up to a full year in the country. This costs about $70 USD and takes up to a week to process. Holder’s can study or live abroad in St. Lucia with this document. They will, however, need to apply for a work permit to seek employment in the country.

After two years of renewing your type of visa from the list above, you can apply for permanent residency in St. Lucia – with full citizenship after seven total years.  If you’d like to expedite the process of receiving a second passport for your retirement abroad in St. Lucia, you can opt for the citizenship-through-investment plan. The requirements include one of the following:

1. Monetary Donation to the NEF (National Economic Fund)
          a. Single Applicant Requirement: $100,000 USD

2. Investment into St. Lucia Real Estate
          a. Minimum real estate investment of $300,000 USD

3. Investment into Government Bonds
          a. Single Applicant Requirement: $500,000

4. Enterprise Project Investment
          a. $3.5 million enterprise endeavor creating 3 new jobs, or two investors creating a joint enterprise of $6 million USD and creating 6 jobs.

Receiving a St. Lucia passport through this means will grant you the right to visa-free travel to all Schengen Area states in the EU, as well as Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. You can also gain citizenship for your spouse for an extra $65,000 USD, saving money on a second full application process.

Author Bio:

Tyler Sorce is an American writer and digital nomad currently living in Lisbon, Portugal. In a past life he was a chef in Manhattan and Paris, follow his travels and favorite dishes on Instagram.

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