The beautiful Caribbean island nation of Dominica is known to many as one of the five sovereign countries in the Caribbean that offer citizenship by investment (CBI). You make a donation or invest in a piece of real estate and you get a passport in a matter of months.
These CBI programs usually cost a fair penny, but they’re quick and straightforward.
We offer an updated list of the best Citizenship by Investment programs each year and Dominica is always a top contender.
Dominica, known for its natural unspoiled beauty, has a CBI program rated as the best value option in the Caribbean. It’s also tied for first place as the cheapest economic citizenship that you can obtain anywhere in the world.
If that’s not enough, Dominica is now doing something that none of the other CBI programs in the Caribbean have done — they’re offering a cheaper entrepreneur option for as little as US$50,000. It will take a little longer to qualify for citizenship and require a bit more groundwork, but is designed to bring additional jobs and businesses to the island.
In this article, we’ll fill you in on all of the details of the qualifications and benefits of this program, as well as some things to consider to know if it’s right for you.
If you want to see more details about Dominica or look into Dominica’s other CBI options, check out our ultimate guide to Dominica Citizenship By Investment.
Dominica’s Entrepreneur Visa Program Requirements
It’s officially called the Dominican Investor Visa Program and it rolled out at the end of 2020. The main qualification is that you make an investment into a business in the country.
There are two main investment options:
- Invest $50,000 in a government-approved business or
- Invest $100,000 in a new start-up company that you have more control over, but that will still need to be in certain sectors of the economy.
For the first option, you invest the money and the Investment Committee for the program will decide which companies on their approved list will get the funds. It will be more of a grant for qualifying companies to use to grow their businesses.
The second option is that you invest funds in a business you set up within a certain approved sector. The Investment Committee will determine the specific sectors for which they’re looking for investments on a yearly basis.
This means you may not be able to start just any business that you want but instead will need to make sure you are within the approved sectors. More details will be forthcoming on what sectors they’re accepting businesses for and it will change year to year depending on what the Investment Committee sees Dominica’s economy needs.
We’ve seen in similar programs, however, that even though it says you must register with a government-approved business, any type of company can come and register. So you may see some decent businesses signing up.
For this second option, your business must create at least three full-time jobs for local residents. The program is geared towards increasing employment on the island, so you must hire Dominican employees.
If your business needs workers with specific qualifications not found on the island, work permits can be approved for skilled workers to come into the island, but you’ll still need to hire three other local workers.
Another requirement for both options is that you will need to put a $100,000 deposit into a bank in Dominica. The good thing is that you can actually use that money while you are in the country, so it’s not like it’s locked up. But you do need to have the initial deposit at the time of application.
The last requirement is that for all options and unlike many citizenship by investment programs in the Caribbean, you’ll need to spend 90 days every year for two years in the country. Also, this program is a much slower process where you will get your citizenship after two years, unlike others that come within two to four months.
Some people speculate that this will be the future of some of these CBI programs, where you’ll actually need to develop some kind of ongoing connection with the country in order to qualify for citizenship.
If you meet that condition of spending three months a year in Dominica, keep the investment active, and have the money deposited in a Dominican bank when you arrive, you’ll be able to qualify for citizenship by naturalization after two years.
Benefits to Dominica’s Investor Visa
First and foremost, the benefit of this entrepreneurial citizenship by investment option is that it’s a great value and one of the lowest cost investments. After all, $50,000 is about as low as you can go for investments.
In addition, where most citizenship by investment programs are donations, this investor visa provides the potential to regain some of your investment. If you take the second option and invest $100,000 in your own company, you’ll be paying more, but you’ll also be able to recoup some of the investment costs through your company’s earnings.
While the $100,000 deposit in a Dominican bank may seem like a drawback, it can actually act as a great way to establish ties to the island which helps both with growing your business and when applying for citizenship. You’re also able to use the funds once they’re deposited, so they’re not lost to the process.
In addition to these benefits, the visa can extend to your family and they can join you on the island as you all work towards citizenship.
Beyond the program, Dominica itself has much to offer in terms of citizenship. It will give you visa-free travel to 135 countries including Europe’s Schengen zone, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Turkey.
Dominica allows dual citizenship and citizenship will pass on to your children.
There are also great tax advantages when you become a citizen of Dominica, especially if you’re looking to do business on the island. There is no wealth, gift, inheritance, or capital gains tax in Dominica.
It also has double taxation treaties with the US and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), no restrictions on the repatriation of profits or imported capital, several corporate tax incentives, full exemption from import duties, as well as tax relief benefits and export allowance. They also have generous tax holidays and other import duty and tax waivers.
Is the Dominican Investor Visa right for you?
While the benefits are many, no program is perfect.
The first thing to consider is that it’s not the type of fast-track naturalization option that we talk about a lot at Nomad Capitalist which tends to be more selective and exclusive.
But it is a way to put yourself on the faster track of two years where you’re not making an actual donation and are within the confines and restrictions of the program to actually invest in a country.
The next concern is the timeline. You’re looking at two years instead of two months. If you’re looking for something fast and easy, this isn’t your best option.
There is also a significant in-country presence requirement. Each year, for the two years before applying for citizenship you’ll be required to spend three months in Dominica. While spending time on the ground may be helpful if you’re running a business there, it could be a major drawback if you’re just looking for citizenship and not a second place to live.
Another concern is that Dominica has a pretty small domestic economy. As a small island with a population of less than 75,000, there’s only so much growth that can take place. It will be interesting to see what kind of businesses apply and actually get approved.
Last, it’s not the busiest place with the most urban environments. It’s more known for its natural beauty and serenity than as a thriving metropolis with great nightlife. However, it certainly is a beautiful place that is paradise to many. If you’re looking for a quieter setting it could be perfect for you.
When deciding where to get a second or even third citizenship, the most important thing to consider is what is important to you. We list benefits and drawbacks, but many of them depend on your situation and desires.
If you’re looking for a beautiful place to invest in or start a company, Dominica could be a great place to start at a great price. There is a lot of potential for the right company.
As you’re considering taking the step toward building a business, diversifying, or building your passport portfolio, contact us and let us help you evaluate how Dominica’s Investor Visa and citizenship by investment programs could play a part in doing just that.