Last Updated April 30, 2021 Dateline: Mexico City, Mexico
The Nature Island, Dominica is renowned for its unspoiled natural beauty. Its standard of living is pretty high, especially when compared to other countries in the region.
Dominica welcomes over 200,000 tourists every year, most of whom are day-trippers that visit the island as a part of their cruise journey. Tourists love the beaches, the mountains, and the luxury-dripping resorts. Owning Dominica citizenship will give you year-round access to the pristine marvels.
But the thing that makes the island the most money is their Dominica citizenship by investment (CBI) program that they’ve been running for nearly three decades now.
As the Dominica citizenship by investment program generates almost half of the country’s revenue, the country continues to innovate with different programs to bring in new investors. Their newest Dominica citizenship by investment program is designed to bring jobs, entrepreneurs, and businesses to Dominica. It’s a little bit of a slower process and requires some time spent in the country, but it is a much cheaper option at $50,000.
There is also the other more standard Dominica citizenship by investment option where in exchange for $100,000, you can get your hands on a Dominica passport – there isn’t much more to it than that. Dominica citizenship by investment is a straightforward CBI program, some might even call it basic. At the same time, it’s award-winning.
The Dominica citizenship by investment program tops the CBI index published by the Financial Times’ Professional Wealth Management magazine. Of course, you must take these, and other Dominica’s rewards, with a generous pinch of salt – the citizenship by investment lobby is powerful indeed.
Still, Dominica citizenship by investment remains one of the best value citizenship by investment options in the Caribbean. It makes our list of the easiest passports to get.
It is also tied for first place as the cheapest economic citizenship that you can obtain anywhere in the world.
Dominica citizenship is a great option for several different kinds of people. Dominica citizenship price and fast processing time, it is also a good option for those who are looking for a fast second passport as an insurance policy or a means to quickly renounce US citizenship.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about Dominica’s citizenship by investment program, so you can decide if this country’s passport might be the right one for you.
What Is Citizenship by Investment?
A citizenship by investment program, also called economic citizenship, is a program that is run by a national government whereby investors can, essentially, legally and legitimately get themselves a passport.
The reasons as to why a government would choose to sell their citizenship vary, but it mostly has to do with raising foreign capital, improving their infrastructure, and diversifying their economy. A foreign investor will be asked to do one, or multiple, of the following when purchasing citizenship:
- • Make a donation to a government fund
• Invest in financial instruments, such as government bonds
- • Purchase (pre-approved) real estate in the country
• Open up a local company and employ a set amount of local people
There are usually many rules to adhere to and numerous steps involved in the process of obtaining citizenship, so it’s something best undertaken with the help of a CBI industry professional.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves and jump into all the details of how to get Dominican citizenship by investment, let’s take a look at the country of Dominica itself. Known as the “Nature Island of the Caribbean,” Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic) is arguably one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean.
Located between the French overseas territories of Guadeloupe and Martinique, the island has numerous rivers and waterfalls, green mountains, and beautiful ocean views (despite a limited number of beaches). With rainforests full of rare plants, animals, and birds, and opportunities to snorkel and dive to shipwrecks and underwater hot springs, it’s no wonder that Dominica is a growing ecotourism destination. Dominica also has the benefit of being an autonomous country.
The UK granted independence to Dominica in 1978 and the country now has a parliamentary democracy with a President and Prime Minister and a judiciary system based on English common law.
The entire country is about the size of Singapore and fewer than 75,000 people reside on the island. Most residents are of African descent, although there is also a small indigenous population (the last in the Caribbean) and a growing number of white and Chinese inhabitants. English is the official language, but the French dialect, Creole, is also widely spoken.
To top it all off, Dominica is considered one of the happiest places in the world to live, with a great island lifestyle in a safe, friendly, and beautiful country.
With all these attractions, you may be contemplating the possibility of spending the rest of your life in Dominica.
However, you do not have to live in this island country to become a citizen there and enjoy the many benefits that come with having a second passport.
Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Program
For the right price, you can get Dominica citizenship.
Dominica is widely known as one of the fastest countries in the world to get second citizenship due to its long-running Dominica economic citizenship program. It is one of the oldest citizenship by investment programs in existence, second only to St. Kitts and Nevis.
Dominica economic citizenship has been offered to investors willing to donate $100,000 to the country since 1993. The program is enshrined in Section 101 of the Dominica Constitution and Sections 8 and 20 of the Citizenship Act, giving greater credibility and security to the program. While the average timeline to process Dominica’s economic citizenship is about three months, it can take anywhere from 2-4 months for most nationalities to obtain full citizenship.
As always, there are unique cases where it may take longer. A new option now exists that may be of interest to entrepreneurs looking to do more than just make a donation. Launched at the end of 2020, the Dominica Investor Visa program offers citizenship for $50,000 for those willing to start a business and hire local workers. It has a 2-year timeline to citizenship and requires you to spend at least 90 days a year on the island, but comes at half the price tag.
If starting a business is not your cup of tea and you’re looking for something simpler and faster, Dominica’s Citizenship Act does waive any residence requirements for qualified investors, making it possible for interested individuals to obtain Dominican citizenship without ever residing in the country.
Options for Getting Dominica Citizenship By Investment
Back in 2015, Dominica received access to the Schengen area and became one of only two real passports for sale at the time that had access to the European Union (EU).
With that added value, Dominica decided to raise their price for the first time from $100,000 for a single applicant to $175,000, effective August 2016.
However, several other Caribbean countries decided to join the economic citizenship club circa 2016 and Dominica eventually walked back their price to the original $100,000. Fast forward to 2017, and the increased competition among the Caribbean citizenship by investment programs, combined with a few devastating hurricane seasons, ignited a price war.
With five programs now available in the region, these countries’ governments decided to lower their prices for both the donation and real estate options to attract investors to their shores, and not that of their neighbors.
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 get Dominica citizenship by investment. Unlike the Caribbean neighbor’s program, the St. Lucia citizenship by investment program, there are no options for investing in buying government bonds, but there are great options for making a general donation, purchasing real estate, and now an entrepreneurial option to invest in a company.
Let’s talk in more detail about the ways you can obtain citizenship in Dominica.
The Donation Option
The donation is the oldest and most simple option available. An investor choosing this option will make a donation to the Economic Diversification Program which supports public and private projects within Dominica. While most people are familiar with the $100,000 price tag, there are actually a few variations on the price. It depends on if you are applying alone or with a spouse, and whether or not you are bringing children, other dependents, or siblings into the equation. The final price breakdown is as follows:
- • Single applicant – $100,000 non-refundable contribution
• Spouse of the main applicant: $50,000
- • Sibling of the main applicant or the spouse of the main applicant aged 18-25: $50,000
• Any dependant other than the spouse of the main applicant or a sibling of the main applicant or the spouse of the main applicant aged 18-25: $25,000 each
- • Family of four including the main applicant, the spouse of the main applicant, and two other dependants other than a dependant sibling: $175,000
It doesn’t get easier than that. You pay the due diligence and fees (which can add up to around $10,000), make the donation, and you’re in. You’ll get to collect your passport in very little time.
Public endeavors include building schools, renovating hospitals, building a national sports stadium, and promoting the offshore sector.
Private sector projects include tourism, information technology, and agriculture. Last year, roughly $1.5 million from the economic citizenship program was used to promote small business development, and over double that amount was used for the National Employment Program.
All in all, Dominica is a business-minded and business-friendly country that’s ready to welcome those who can contribute to the country’s development.
DOMINICA CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT REAL ESTATE OPTION
The more complicated and expensive route to Dominica citizenship by investment is real estate investment, which you can resell after holding it for three years. It has been available to investors since 2015.
Similar to other citizenship by investment programs in the Caribbean, Dominica offers economic citizenship to those willing to purchase approved real estate in the country. Dominica has a low entry point of $200,000.
Two or more applicants can apply together with a single purchase, as long as each applicant contributes the minimum $200,000 toward the investment. The government allows for the real estate option because the money goes directly toward investment in the country.
However, because that money essentially goes to developers, the government charges an additional fee on top of everything else to get some money out of the process as well. With that in mind, the final price breakdown for the real estate option is as follows:
- • Authorized Real Estate Purchase – $200,000 (minimum)
• PLUS, the government fee:
- Single Applicant – $25,000
- A married couple – $35,000
- A family of up to 4 persons – $35,000
- A family of up to 6 persons – $50,000
- A family of 7+ persons – $70,000
The main benefit of the real estate option is that you can eventually resell the property and essentially recoup the investment.
To do so, you must hold the property for at least three years.
If you choose to resell to another CBI applicant, however, you will have to wait a total of five years from the original purchase date. Whether or not you sell your property to someone later, you are very to lose some money on the investment.
And, depending on the developer and when you can actually purchase the property, it may take you a little bit longer to get your passport. The bottom line is that there are a few more logistical issues to be aware of with this route.
AN ACTIONABLE GUIDE AND ALTERNATIVES
But what is your best investment route?
Are you eligible for the program to start with?
Our team has answered all of these along with the enticing seven real estate options the program has to offer.
It is also important to note that citizenship by investment is not the only way to become a citizen of Dominica.
Here is everything you need to know along with a step-by-step application process.
THE PROS OF DOMINICA CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT
As with most things, you should not base your entire second citizenship decision on a price point.
Yes, Dominica is the best value option and relatively cheap compared to the $1+ million asking price for Maltese citizenship, but there are other factors to consider.
That said, the pros of Dominica’s economic citizenship are many.
Since it’s been around for so long, it’s got a solid footing in the industry and can offer lots of benefits to its applicants.
It’s the most affordable. If you’re a solo applicant looking for a great second passport, then Dominica is just the ticket. It’s tied for the cheapest CBI program in the world, provided you go the donation route. The Dominica Investor Visa program was developed with an even lower price tag, though it does come with more involved stipulations.
No tax on your global income. If you don’t reside in the country, your income won’t be taxed. In other words, if you aren’t a resident, Dominica’s officials won’t come after your income.
Visit Europe’s Schengen zone, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Turkey – among others – when you’re a citizen of Dominica.
‘Fast’ citizenship. You don’t need to pass history or language exams or have an interview in order to obtain a Dominican passport.
Citizenship can be inherited. You and your kids can pass on Dominican citizenship to your children. It can be your legacy.
You will be a citizen of Dominica for life. Once you obtain your Dominica passport, you will be a citizen of this country for life. Your citizenship has no expiry date.
Dual citizenship allowed. You can enjoy a Dominica passport and remain a citizen of another country or countries. Along with your Dominica citizenship, you will get the ability to vote and purchase property, as well as the possibility to live and work in Dominica.
Bring the family. Your dependent children under the age of 30 can be added to your Dominica citizenship by investment application. You can also add dependent parents and grandparents over the age of 55.
Optimize your taxes. There is no wealth, gift, inheritance, or capital gains tax in Dominica. It also has double taxation treaties with the US and 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 duties and tax waivers.
A decent network of embassies. Dominica maintains 17 embassies and consulate generals around the world, 14 of which are located in North America and Europe. The other three are located in Morocco, India, and China.
THE CONS OF DOMINICA CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT
Dominica has some really hefty pros when it comes to its CBI program, but there are always two sides to a coin.
Here are some of the cons that you should consider.
It’s expensive if you have a family. Whereas the price for a single applicant is the best in the industry, families are let down by Dominica’s CBI program. You can get citizenship in Antigua and Barbuda for the same $100,000 donation as a single applicant in Dominica.
An OK Tier B passport. Dominica citizenship will give you a relatively straightforward Tier B passport. There’s really nothing about it that is amazing in terms of getting you into countries that are incredibly difficult to enter.
It’s got a long-standing reputation. Since Dominica’s is one of the world’s oldest CBI programs, it’s developed a reputation over time that’s not always favorable. Although it shouldn’t cause you any problems, just be aware that Dominica’s CBI program has been a part of a few scandals in the past.
Passport revocation. While you are technically granted non-revocable citizenship for life in exchange for your donation, Dominica law does give the government power to revoke passports. So far, there was one case in the early 2000s in which citizenship was revoked. Dominica is also upgrading to biometric passports, which means that they could easily cancel a passport from a distance in the future.
It’s been on the EU’s blacklist. Dominica was placed on the EU list of non-compliant jurisdictions in the past, although it has since been exonerated. This means that at some point the government of Dominica chose not to participate in sharing tax and financial information with the EU.
External influence. While the Caribbean CBI programs are relatively affordable, the downside is that many of these countries are still highly influenced by the western governments that most people are trying to get away from. So, while the US and Canadian governments do not have the power to directly shut these programs down, they certainly have some influence over them.
YOUR DOMINICA CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT FAQS
How can I apply for Dominica citizenship by investment? You will need to file an application through an authorized agent. You won’t be able to personally apply for Dominica’s citizenship.
Who is eligible to apply for Dominica citizenship by investment? A person older than 18, with a solid economic standing, good health, and no criminal record can apply for Dominica citizenship by investment.
Must I travel to Dominica? You won’t have to travel to or become a resident in Dominica to apply for its economic citizenship.
What is Dominica’s citizenship by investment fees? There is the investment amount, depending on which investment option you choose, the government fees, and various application and citizenship processing fees.
How long does it take to get a Dominica passport? While it can take as little as three months to receive your passport, you can probably expect the entire process to run for approximately three to four months. The Dominica Investor Visa program however takes two years to get citizenship.
Can my family come too? Yes. Dependents are allowed to be added to your citizenship by investment application. All dependent children up to the age of 30 can be included, and parents and grandparents over the age of 55 can be added too.
Do I have to pay taxes in Dominica? If you don’t reside in Dominica, you will not be liable to pay any taxes on your worldwide income. If you, however, choose to become a tax resident, keep in mind that Dominica does charge income tax on income generated within the island.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
If you’re seeking a “budget passport,” The Commonwealth of Dominica citizenship by investment is worth considering. It remains the world’s most affordable place to get citizenship, with low government and legal fees and a great $100,000 price tag for a donation or $50,000 for an entrepreneurial investor.
Dominica has also announced that it will make its due diligence checks stricter, which will, in turn, boost the integrity of The Commonwealth of Dominica citizenship by investment program.
They don’t want to lose what they’ve worked so hard to build for almost three decades now — that only makes sense. But it is no longer the only game in town. In fact, while it is tied for first place as the cheapest passport for sale in the Caribbean for individuals, there are cheaper options for married couples and families. But picking citizenship isn’t like selecting which speakers you’re going to buy off of Amazon. Especially when you’re spending six-figure sums. You need to figure out which passport is best for you.
That’s why it’s always helpful to talk to someone who has gone through the process. Someone who can give you honest advice about your situation. Also, don’t forget to look at the whole picture: where you want to live, travel, and do business. Then figure out how Dominica is going to factor into your equation. Or, if it should at all.
Here at Nomad Capitalist, we can help you cover all the bases.