When it comes to the Caribbean, one worries that the government officials there are on “island time”.
Things might happen very slowly. But this isn’t an issue when it comes to getting the Dominica passport with its visa-free access to 146 countries through its CBI program.
The island has numerous activities and one UNESCO world heritage site, but its passport is mostly known for the number of visa-free countries you can fly to without a required visa.
The Dominica citizenship by investment program has the reputation of being the most efficient program in the world.
Let’s take a look at the program fees and requirements for eligibility before we get to the nitty-gritty of the actual Dominica passport application.
DOMINICA PASSPORT FEES AND ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
All Dominica’s citizenship program applications – whether by donation to a government fund contribution or real estate – come with government fees payable by each family member.
The Dominica economic citizenship program applications fees are comparatively low and include a:
- Processing fee (per application) – $1,000
- Due diligence fee:
- Main Applicant – $7,500
- Spouse – $4,000
- Dependent (16+) – $4,000
- Certificate of Naturalization fee – $250 per person
- Expedited passport issuance fee – $1,200 per person
There are other requirements of the Dominica economic citizenship program. Each Dominica passport applicant should keep in mind the following when applying:
- Be over 18 years old
- Not have a criminal record
- Go through third-party due diligence checks and approval
- Have confirmed investment sources
- Be in good health
Dominica economic citizenship program only excludes Russian applicants. They now have a more efficient due diligence process.
Dominica also allows dual citizenship under its citizenship act.
That said, if you are a citizen of Iran, Sudan, or North Korea, you will have to meet the following conditions before you apply:
- You must have resided outside of your country of citizenship for 10 years or more
- Have no substantial assets in the country of your citizenship
- Have not performed any economic activity in the country of your citizenship
THE DOMINICA PASSPORT STEP-BY-STEP APPLICATION PROCESS
So, how exactly does the Dominica citizenship program application process work, and how long does it take?
You’ll be glad to know that Dominica’s CBI program is extremely streamlined.
You will obtain Dominica citizenship somewhere between 3-9 months for the donation and real estate routes.
But, it takes 2 years to get the Dominica passport through the new Dominica Investor visa option.
Dominican law stipulates a processing time of at least two months, but the time varies from case to case. The process depends on vetting procedures and the individual under consideration.
STEP 1 – GATHER DOCUMENTATION
You will need to work with your chosen agent to prepare your birth certificate and all needed documents (in English).
The documents will be submitted to Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Unit (CBIU). This includes all forms, required documents, a medical examination, and — if you are purchasing property — a sales and purchase agreement to reserve your selected real estate.
At this point, the authorized agent will most likely conduct background checks and take other due diligence measures.
STEP 2 – SUBMIT APPLICATION
Once your agent has determined that everything is in line, your application will be submitted for review. Though an interview is currently not mandatory, it is requested in some cases. The interview is normally conducted in Dominica, but it can be conducted outside the country for extra passport application fees.
Persons collecting passports on behalf of you is possible, only with a written notarized order.
STEP 3 – WAIT
During this time, the government will conduct its own due diligence to vet all the information you have provided in your application. At the end of this period, normally 2-4 months, you will be notified whether your application has been accepted, delayed for further processing, or rejected.
STEP 4 – MAKE THE INVESTMENT
Once you have been notified by a letter from the CBIU that your application was accepted, you can make the donation, or the Economic Diversification Fund which is a non-refundable contribution or complete the payment on your selected real estate property. The government will not transfer or use the funds you deposit in the citizenship account until naturalization certificates have been issued to you and your family.
STEP 5 – OBTAIN YOUR DOMINICA PASSPORT
Once the CBIU receives proof of payment on your investment, they will issue your certificate of registration (or naturalization). You can then use it to apply for your Dominican passport.
While the Dominica passport process is extremely streamlined, it does require a lot of paperwork. For that reason alone, it can be helpful to base yourself on one location while going through this process.
Everything you deliver with your Dominica passport application has to have been issued within 90 days.
This means that there is a lot of coordination required on your part to pull everything together within the set timeframe.
Expired Dominica passports can be renewed in any Dominica consulate.
OTHER WAYS TO GET A PASSPORT FROM DOMINICA
It is also important to note that placing an investment is not the only way to be one of Dominican passport holders.
For example, as long as you maintain your Dominican citizenship, you can then pass on your passport of Dominica to future generations. You can do this in two different ways. The first is by physically having your child on the island as the passport of Dominica is conferred on the basis of jus soli or “right of the soil.” The second way to get a Dominican passport is through descent one generation back. If one of your dependent parents has Dominican citizenship, you can apply for a passport of Dominica through Dominican citizenship by descent.
This extends to Dominica passport holders who are children and have acquired the passports through Dominica economic citizenship program as well.
Finally, it is also possible to become a citizen of Dominica via naturalization. Residents who have legally lived in Dominica for seven years can become naturalized citizens and get a passport of Dominica. Similarly, residents married to Dominicans may become naturalized citizens and get a passport of Dominica after five years of living in the country.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST OPTION?
If you consider the numbers and are willing to meet the requirements, the Dominica Investor Visa option is the best option.
The $50,000 price tag is hard to beat. As long as the longer timeline and in-country requirements are acceptable, this new option is a great one. If you’re just looking for a quick, relatively simple, and cheap option, the donation option comes out as a clear winner for a solo applicant. Conversely, the donation will set you back $108,500, whereas the real estate investment will cost $233,500.
That said, an individual who runs a cash flow business, for instance, might be looking to park a few hundred thousand dollars somewhere. By investing in CBI real estate, they could make a small profit over the next five years while getting what is essentially a second passport out of the deal. But this only makes sense if you don’t really need that money in the meantime.
For anyone whose every dollar has a potential opportunity cost — crypto investors, Amazon Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) sellers, e-commerce folks, business people who have a quick turnover, and so on — the $100,000 difference between the two options could go toward much more profitable investments.
In that case, the $100,000 donation is the best option, even though you are essentially giving that money away. In summary, if you’re looking for the lowest cost route and find the terms acceptable, go with the Dominica Investor visa. If you want something with less involvement, but is fast and still relatively low cost, just make the donation.
If you have cash sitting around, you can consider the real estate option, but keep in mind that you might never see that money again because the Caribbean government-approved real estate developments are notorious for never getting finished (even though Dominica has the best track record of finished vs. not started in the region – 50%).
DOMINICA’S REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT OPTIONS LISTED
At one point, there was only one real estate developer option in Dominica.
Now, however, you have half a dozen choices with several connections to big names like Hilton and Marriott. One of the concerns that people talk about with the CBI real estate investments in the Caribbean, in general, is that properties aren’t always that enticing.
For one, it can be expensive to get the necessary building materials to these islands which means that what you get might be a bit underwhelming compared to what you would normally expect for the same price elsewhere.
Secondly, you are restricted to only purchasing government-approved real estate. You can’t buy just any real estate that you find online; you have to buy from one of the approved developers. This can mean that you won’t have as many real estate options as you would on the open market.
Nonetheless, you’re ostensibly buying something of value that you can resell a few years down the road. Some of these investments will allow full ownership, but others are timeshares or undivided shares, which can greatly impact resale value and your use of the property. Finally, while $200,000 is the minimum, the developers will have options well above the $200,000 price.
These are all important details to keep in mind as we review seven of the real estate options available in Dominica.
Anichi Resort & Spa
Anichi Resort & Spa is a member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. The resort is located on 12 acres of one of the few beaches on the island — the picturesque Picard Beach in Portsmouth. There are a total of 128 rooms with private dip pools, pool lounges, swim-up bars, specialty restaurants, a ballroom, and a spa.
There are two purchase options available to citizenship by investment applicants:
- Redeemable Preferred Shares. For $220,000 you will receive a certificate of ownership.
- Freehold Suites. You can purchase a Calypso Suite for $300,000 or a Swim-up Suite for $320,000.
With either purchase, you will receive a title deed to the property. Whichever option you choose, the resort will manage your property and place it in a rotation system.
While you will not be available to use your property for residential living, you will have the right to stay at the resort for two weeks each year.
Bois Cotlette is one of the oldest surviving estates in Dominica, dating back to the early French settlements of the 1720s. The estate is hidden in a valley and maintains the plantation architecture of its early days. The plantation still grows coffee, sugar, and cocoa and produces chocolate.
The agricultural roots of Bois Cotlette make it the perfect destination for those with preparedness in mind. They offer three distinct investment options:
- Liquidity Option. Preferred shareowner — a guaranteed full return on your investment in the event of a death or if you have owned the property for more than five years.
- Preppers Option. This option will allow you to use your property to wait out short to medium duration life disturbances. In the case of a natural disaster such as an earthquake, flood, tsunami, or tornado, you can stay anywhere from 1-3 months at your property. In the event of an economic or political collapse, you can stay for 3-6 months while you plan to return to normal society.
- Safe Haven Option. This option allows you to spend up to nine months at Bois Cotlette if a defined event, such as economic or political turmoil or a prolonged natural disaster, occurs in your region of the world.
Cabrits Resort Kempinski
This resort opened in October 2019 and all investment options are now sold out.
However, the resort is still listed on the government’s citizenship by investment website, meaning that you can still buy from a previous investor looking to sell and qualify for citizenship. Range Developments built Cabrits Resort Kempinski on the white sand beaches of Douglas Bay, in the northwest end of Dominica.
The hideaway resort is surrounded by the Cabrits National Park and builds on Dominica’s renowned eco-tourism initiative. The Kempinski is part of Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group and a minimum investment of $220,000 into the project will automatically enroll you in the highest tier of the Kempinski loyalty program, apart from granting you Dominica citizenship.
Jungle Bay EcoVillas
Once your application is approved, you will receive an individually deeded title to a 400 sq ft villa and 1200 sq ft of land, qualifying you for Dominican citizenship. Luxury Sea View Villas start at $255,000, a price that includes all closing costs, transfer taxes, deed registration, and legal fees.
Your villa will serve as hotel accommodation and will be fully maintained by hotel management. Rental proceeds from the resort will be held in a dedicated villa rental account available for owners to review. All after-expense rental income will be split 50/50 between Jungle Bay and the villa owners.
Additionally, as a villa owner, you will personally be able to use your villa for one week every year. Sanctuary Rainforest Eco Resort and Spa This is one of the few programs that offers an investment option set at the $200,000 minimum required by the government as most are well above that threshold.
By purchasing one preferred share in the Sanctuary Rainforest Eco Resort and Spa you will earn Dominican citizenship along with annual dividends once the resort is operational. You and a family member will be allowed to stay at the resort for up to seven days during the high season and 14 days during the low season each year.
As with the other investment options, you can resell your preferred share to another investor after five years and retain your Dominican citizenship. You can learn more about the resort here.
Secret Bay Residences
Secret Bay is an eco-friendly resort that was recently voted the World’s Best Boutique Hotel and has received numerous awards over the years. The sustainable, luxury villas will be available for whole ownership and are eligible for the CBI program for a limited time. Options start at $208,000 per share and whole ownership starts at $1.2 million.
Ownership gives you a sustainable luxury vacation home accompanied by 5-star service including security, housekeeping, cooking services, vehicle use, high-speed internet, and free use of all adventure equipment.
You will also have access to three swimmable beaches, sea caves, a river, as well as a yoga pavilion, a spa, and a restaurant. Tranquility Beach Dominica Tranquility Beach Resort is part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. When completed, they will offer fully-serviced one- and two-bedroom condominium suites, as well as studio suites and one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas. Amenities and services include a spa, wellness center, gym, restaurant, swimming pool, gift shop, and more.
The only investment option available at Tranquility Beach is to purchase undivided shares within the overall project.
While this will give you unrestricted claim to the entire property, you will not have an exclusive claim to any single part of the resort.
DOMINICA INVESTOR VISA PROGRAM OPTION
Dominica is now doing something that none of the other CBI programs in the Caribbean are doing. They’re offering a cheaper option for as little as $50,000 designed to bring jobs and businesses to the island.
Here’s how it works: It’s called the Dominica Investor Visa Program and it rolled out at the start of 2021.
The main qualification is making an investment into a business in the country. The two investment options are:
- invest $50,000 in a government-approved business
- invest $100,000 in a startup business that you have more control over, but that will still need to be in certain sectors of the economy and create at least 3 full-time jobs for local residents
One challenge is that Dominica has a pretty small domestic economy. So it will be interesting to see what kind of businesses they will actually approve. The government will determine on a yearly basis the certain business sectors they’re looking to fill. You may not be able to start any business that you want, but if you fit in the sector they’re looking for, it can be a great option.
More details will be forthcoming.
This is a slower process where you will get your citizenship after 2 years. It’s not the type of fast-track naturalization option well known in the Caribbean which is more selective and exclusive and allows you to get a passport in 3 months.
However, it is a way to put yourself on a faster track where you’re not making an actual investment.
You will still be able to get a passport by naturalization in a couple of years.
Unlike the other programs, you will need to spend some time in the country. You’ll need to be in-country 90 days every year for two years. It’s not the busiest urban place, but it’s certainly a beautiful place that is paradise to many.
The other requirement is that you will need to put a $100,000 deposit into a bank in Dominica. The good thing is that you can use that money while you’re in the country, so it’s not locked up.
But you do need to have the initial deposit at the time of applying.
If you meet that condition of spending three months a year in Dominica, keeping the business investment active, and having the money deposited in a Dominican bank when you arrive, you’ll be able to qualify for citizenship by naturalization after just two years.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
We doubt that the prices will go below the $100,000 floor. But prices will definitely change again; with each election, with each world crisis (e.g., COVID-19), and with each hurricane season, the CBI industry doesn’t stay the same for too long.
Now is the best time to obtain Dominica passport by investment, and it’s best to do it with a team of professionals who know what they’re doing.
Talk to us, we’ll help you cover all the bases.