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Dominica's Citizenship by Investment Program

One of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, the Commonwealth of Dominica established its citizenship by investment program in 1993 to boost the country’s largely agriculture-based economy. Dominica is a former British colony and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the UN, the Organization of American States, CARICOM, and other international organizations. In recent years, and through an increase in real estate investments, the country’s economy now relies heavily on tourism. The island’s 750 km2 are home to over 74,000 inhabitants, with around 3,000 being the last surviving native Carib people in the Caribbean. Dominica boasts an almost non-existent crime rate and the currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar, which is pegged to the USA dollar. Dominica citizenship offers visa-free to 144 countries including Schengen, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, and China

The Dominica Citizenship by Investment Program operates under § 101 of the nation’s constitution and § 8 and 20 of the Citizenship Act. The program allows the government to grant citizenship to persons who qualify under certain criteria and policy guidelines, while boosting Dominica’s economic investment.The CBI program is popular among investors: 4,192 received Dominica passports between 2017 and 2020.

The Government of Dominica spends investors’ money on good causes corresponding to the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

  • fighting poverty, hunger and unemployment;
  • building hurricane-resistant homes, hospitals and schools;
  • developing green energy;
  • developing infrastructure and manufacturing;
  • preserving ecosystems in the sea and on land.

The Dominica citizenship investment program offers successful participants virtually all the same rights as people who were born on the island, including the right to vote in political elections.

Benefits of the Dominica Citizenship by Investment Program

  • Visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to over 140/153 destinations worldwide
  • Ability to include a spouse, unmarried children under 31 who are fully dependent on the main applicant, and parents and grandparents aged 65 and older, as well as to add dependents after citizenship has been granted to the main applicant
  • Citizenship by descent available for future generations
  • Right to live, work, and study in Dominica
  • No restrictions on dual citizenship in Dominica
  • No minimum stay required
  • Dominica passport holders can get a 10-year B-1/B-2 visa to the USA. The visa allows you to stay in the country for up to 180 days a year to attend business meetings and conferences, travel, and get medical treatment at any US clinic.
  • Dominica has no taxes on wealth, gifts, capital gains or inheritance. Non-tax residents pay taxes only on income generated in Dominica. The island offers a variety of other tax incentives and advantages as well, including no restriction on the repatriation of corporate profits or imported capital, generous export allowances, duty-free trading in the Caribbean, and full exemptions from import duties.
  • The country has a warm climate, unique nature, many natural sights like waterfalls and lakes, and a vibrant culture. It’s an attractive place to visit or reside.
  • No language or history tests are required.
  • The lowest crime rate in the entire region
  • One of the lowest investment thresholds in the Caribbean.
  • If the applicant invests in real estate, they can sell their share after 3—5 years of ownership and get invested money back. The investor must hold the property for at least three (3) years from the grant of citizenship. Furthermore, the investor may only re-sell that real estate under the Dominica Citizenship by Investment Program after five (5) years of acquiring citizenship.
  • This citizenship can never be revoked. Even if Dominica decided to end its Citizenship by Investment Program, all Dominica passport holders would remain as such

Requirements of Dominican citizenship by investment

In order to be considered eligible, the main applicant must be at least 18 years of age and must meet all the Dominica immigration requirements outlined below.

  • A non-refundable contribution to the Economic Development Fund of USD 100,000
  • The contribution to the state fund is non-refundable. Investors choosing this option cannot recover their initial investment
  • An investment in an approved real estate development with a minimum value of USD 200,000
  • The applicant must officially commit to making the investment before applying to the investor program, but does not actually have to pay in full until after approval in principle.
  • Other requirements include passing a background check and having a good character.
  • In order to be approved for Dominica nationality, applicants should have excellent health and must show that they do not suffer from any contagious diseases.
  • Provide a letter of application for economic citizenship addressed to the Minister responsible for Citizenship
  • Provide proof of funds for the investment
  • All applicants aged sixteen years and over must undergo virtual interviews

Due Diligence Requirements

All applicants will need to be of good character and undergo the Governments due diligence formalities: Investors must provide

  • Police Reports – evidence of a clean criminal record
  • Have no outstanding visa refusals
  • Various documentation, including financial documents, employment/ business documents, ID, proof of address

Procedures and time frame of the Dominica Citizenship by Investment Program

Applicants and dependent family members aged 16 and older are required to attend mandatory virtual interviews, via a secure platform. They are also required to take an oath of allegiance before an authorized notary, justice of the peace, or commissioner of oaths. After pledging allegiance, the application for citizenship is processed further and the citizenship certificates are duly issued.

The whole procedure of obtaining second Dominica citizenship is entirely remote. There is no physical residence requirement though a visit may be necessary for the final step of the application process. However, the government encourages new citizens to become further involved in the economy, and substantial incentives are on offer to make increased involvement an attractive option. The successful applicant has the right to take up residence in Dominica at any time and for any length of time. Any applicant who has been denied a visa to a country with which Dominica has a visa-free travel agreement must subsequently successfully obtain a visa from that country in order to be eligible to apply.

The Dominica law prohibits investors from applying for citizenship by investment on their own. A licensed program agent must apply on the investor’s behalf. The licensed agent is a consulting company that assists applicants at every stage of obtaining citizenship by investment.

Dominica has a special government agency within the Department of Finance that handles all matters regarding economic citizenship including management and adjudication of applications, enforcement of regulations, and marketing of the program abroad. This entity is called the Dominica Citizenship by Investment Unit (CBIU), and the outcome of all nationality applications is at the sole discretion of the CBIU director and senior examiners. The CBIU checks the applicants’ reputation, financial history and background. The submitted documents are studied in detail, and the information is verified against international databases.

To begin the application process for Dominica citizenship by investment, a foreign national must sign a retainer agreement with their authorized representative initiating a client-professional relationship and ensuring the confidentiality of their private documents and information. Due at this time are the agent's professional service fees, as well as government due diligence, registration, and application fees. The professional fees charged by the Authorized Agent vary in amount depending on the complexity of the file, with family applications typically costing more than single applications. Additional government application fees are only required of candidates applying for Dominica economic citizenship under the real estate option - people making a qualifying contribution to the Economic Diversification Fund do not need to pay any additional government application fees. All this paperwork will need to be submitted in English and with the appropriate notarisation and legalisation. When purchasing property, this will need to be reserved through a sale and purchase agreement. Often, luxury hotels, condos, or other accommodations qualify.

Processing times for applications is currently three to six months from the receipt of a fully completed application but it may take longer if background checks or other criteria are delayed. Typically, it takes most applicants between 2-6 weeks prior to this to gather all their documentation.

Once the CBIU verifies that the appropriate investment has been actualized in its entirety, a signed and notarized Oath of Allegiance will be submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Labour. Upon approval by the Prime Minister of Dominica, the client will be promptly issued a Certificate of Naturalization and will receive a Dominica passport within seven days.

Fees and other payments

The investor pays state fees under the program. The citizenship by investment due diligence fees pay for an independent regulatory risk mitigation firm to perform a thorough background check on all applicants on behalf of the Dominican Government. Persons found to have made false statements in their citizenship Dominica application forms or supporting documents, or who are identified as being involved in criminal activities or under investigation in relation to criminal activities, will be firmly denied. Additionally, any applicant who is found to have engaged in other nefarious conduct that could potentially bring disrepute to the country will be denied. To cover the costs associated with performing a deep background check, applicants for citizenship by investment in Dominica must pay the following due diligence fees: It costs $7,500 for the investor and $4,000 for each relative over 16. The complete set of government forms, issuing a passport and a naturalisation certificate cost $800 per applicant. The family also pays $1,000 for the information processing.

The costs of participating in the Dominica CBI program vary depending on the family composition and the applicant’s specific situation.

To qualify for Dominica citizenship by investment under this option, the following non-refundable monetary contributions must be made to the Economic Diversification Fund:

  • Single applicant - USD $100,000
  • Main applicant and spouse - USD $150,000
  • Main applicant, spouse, and up to 2 children - USD $175,000
  • Additional dependents - USD $25,000 each
  • Eligible siblings 18 to 25 - USD $50,000 each
  • naturalization fee - USD $250
  • passport fee - USD $60

Candidates applying under the government donation option must agree to pay the total amount specified by the program within 30 days of receiving an Approval in Principle letter from the CBIU. Until the applicant has passed the due diligence phase and is officially approved in principle, however, they are not required to actually make the contribution. Upon formally receiving conditional CBIU approval, donations are deposited by wire transfer into a designated governmental escrow account at the National Commercial Bank of Dominica. If an application is rejected or withdrawn, the candidate will be refunded the entire deposit amount minus a small application fee within one month of the rejection or withdrawal. If the application is successful, the money will be removed from the escrow account by the Government only after an Oath of Allegiance has been signed before a Notary Public and naturalization certificates as well as passports have been issued to the principal applicant and their family.

The following government application fees are due when applying to the Dominica Economic Citizenship Program under the real estate category:

  • Main applicant - USD $25,000
  • Spouse - USD $10,000
  • Family of up to 4 - USD $35,000
  • Family of up to 6 - USD $50,000
  • Family of 7 or more - USD $70,000
  • Additional dependents - USD $25,000 each
  • Eligible siblings 18 to 25 - USD $50,000 each

To officially secure an interest in a Dominican real estate project in accordance with CBIU regulations, economic citizenship candidates simply make a 10% deposit towards the property and execute a sale & purchase agreement. Once approved in principle for Dominica citizenship, the investor then has seven days to pay the remaining balance of the investment, at which time he or she will be issued an Ownership Certificate. This certificate is then presented to Dominica authorities to formally demonstrate that the approved real estate investment criteria have been met in full. Purchasing fractional ownership in a Dominica resort project accredited by the citizenship program is fast and easy, requires no maintenance or upkeep on behalf of the investor, and based on the developer's income and capital gain projections will typically be expected to return enough money after five years to cover both the capital invested as well as all fees originally paid.

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Nerses Isajanyan

Managing Attorney

LL.M., Georgetown University

Licensed Attorney, Armenia: License no. 903

Licensed Attorney, New York: License no. 5148945

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