Full name: Commonwealth of Dominica
Capital city: Roseau
Population: 73,925 (2017)
GDP in Current prices: USD $560 million (2017)
GDP growth: -4.7% (2017)
Area: 750 km²
Government: Unitary parliamentary republic
President: Charles Savarin
Prime Minister: Roosevelt Skerrit
Currency: East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
HDI: 103rd (2018)
Ease of doing business index: 103rd (2018/19)
Time Zone: GMT -4
Dialling code: 1 767
Dominica is an island nation situated in the Lesser Antilles archipelago in the eastern end of the Caribbean Sea, just a few miles from Martinique to the south and Guadeloupe to the North. Dominica’s official name is the ‘Commonwealth of Dominica,’ which is mostly referenced in official communications and to further distinguish the island from the Dominican Republic, its northerly Caribbean sister.
An eco-tourism paradise
The climate is tropical and the terrain spectacular. Its breathtaking landscape reveals rainforests, rivers and waterfalls, as well as the world’s second-largest hot spring at Boiling Lake. Dominica is affectionately known as “The Nature Island of the Caribbean” as citizens of Dominica share their home with many rare species of exotic flora and fauna. The rugged terrain offers adventurous visitors the chance to canyon, bike or swing from new heights. For those with a love of nature, Dominica is the perfect birdwatching destination. Additionally, the botanical gardens are home to the Sisserou Parrot, which is the country’s national bird and is featured on the national flag.
Dominica is known for its spectacular reefs which visitors can explore while diving or snorkelling. Keen divers should certainly visit the signature Champagne Reef. For a less active visitor, there is the always the option to join a boating tour. From a catamaran, visitors can enjoy whale and dolphin watching.
Looking out onto the Caribbean Sea, the mountainous green slopes are dotted with exotic tropical flowers, banana plantations and coconut trees. The Boiling Lake is the perfect place to soul search and discover yourself as its renowned healing properties are considered legendary.
An inclusive island with a rich cultural makeup, Dominica offers a vibrant mix of European and African cultures and serves as the home to the Caribbean’s only remaining population of pre-Columbian Carib Indians. Dominica has the honour of being nominated as one of the happiest places to live on Earth. Simplicity is key here, whether you want to walk barefoot through the pristine shore, wander down any number of green jungle trails or chill out on the beach looking onto the ocean, Dominica is a place where concerns are replaced by an overwhelming sense of peace and oneness.
Economy and trade
Dominica gained national independence on 3rd November 1978. Dominica has since flourished as a democracy which is patterned after the British parliamentary system. The president is the head of state, elected by the House of Assembly for a five-year term. The president appoints the prime minister, an elected member of the House of Assembly who commands the support of the majority of its elected members.
Dominica is a beneficiary of the Caribbean Basin Initiative that grants duty-free entry for many goods into the USA, and is also a member of CARICOM and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
Dominica’s main exports are agricultural and include coffee, cocoa, bananas, citrus fruits, and tropical fruits. However, the sector is highly vulnerable to weather conditions and 2017 saw a decline in real GDP after Hurricane Maria struck the island and wreaked over $900 million worth of havoc.
The chief exported manufactured products are rum, timber, and soap. Tourism, which includes a budding eco-tourism industry, is also an important economic driver. In 2017, services accounted for 58% of Dominica’s GDP compared with agriculture 15.7% and industry 11.5%.
Benefits of citizenship in Dominica
One of the main benefits of a Dominican citizenship for the potential applicant would be the access it provides. Dominica itself is a safe and enjoyable place to live, with a high quality of life. English is the official language, so business transactions should run without language complications. Dominica has a progressive a stable economy and fosters an investor friendly environment. Citizenship also comes with free movement of capital, dividends and profits made outside of the island, and no tax on wealth, gifts, inheritance, foreign income, or capital gains tax, and no personal income tax for residents.
Dominica’s Government has frequent dealings with the private sector and other foreign investors in order to facilitate growth. There are a number of flexible and tailored projects available for the investor, as many international companies are targeting Dominica to develop agricultural opportunities, alternative energy projects, manufacturing concerns, hotel resort developments and even investment in the film industry. The soil is perfect for producing a variety of fruits, produce and plants due to its rich volcanic content. The landscape is also a prime candidate for real estate development and there are a number of opportunities to work together with joint venture investments and private landowners.
Holders of Dominican passports can use them to travel internationally and benefit from the many visa-free travel regimes the Dominican Government has established with its allies across the globe. Some of the major hubs available to those travelling on a Dominican passport include the United Kingdom, with whom Dominica shares a long history, Singapore, Hong Kong and the European nations of the Schengen Area.
Dominica offers applicants the option of becoming citizens in return for a qualifying investment, which includes either a donation to Dominica’s Economic Diversification Fund, or the purchase of pre-approved real estate.
- Economic Diversification Fund
The Economic Diversification Fund (EDF) was established through the Citizenship by Investment Programme as one component of a national capital mobilisation portfolio towards an ultimate goal of national development for Dominica.
Generated funds are utilised for public and private sector projects where a need is identified. Public sector projects identified for financing under the Programme include the building of schools, a national sports stadium, renovation of the hospital, and promotion of the offshore sector. With respect to private sector projects, government emphasis is on the tourism, information technology and agricultural sectors. Since 2016, the Citizenship by Investment programme has been described as an economic and fiscal lifeline, particularly following Hurricane Marie.
To qualify for citizenship under this investment option, there are four investment categories with different minimum contribution amounts, based on the number of dependents included in the application, which are as follows:
- Single applicant: a non-refundable contribution of US$100,000 is required
- Main applicant and spouse: a non-refundable contribution of US$175,000 is required
- Main applicant with up to three qualifying dependents. A non-refundable contribution of US$200,000
- Additional qualifying dependants US$25,000
- Real estate
To qualify for citizenship of Dominica under the real estate option under the Citizenship by Investment Programme, an applicant must purchase authorised real estate to the minimum value of US$200,000.
Following approval of a real estate investment application, the following government fees are payable:
- US$25,000 for a single applicant
- US$35,000 for a main applicant and spouse
- US$35,000 for a family up to 4 persons, including the main applicant
- US$50,000 for a family up to 6 persons, including the main applicant
- US$70,000 for a family of 7 or more.
In order to qualify for citizenship, you must hold authorised real estate for three years from the grant of citizenship. You may only re-sell that real estate under the Citizenship by Investment Programme after five years.
Given that the application procedure under this option entails the purchase of real estate, this may extend the processing time, which is subject to the chosen property.
The following fees are also payable on application:
US$1,000 per application
Due diligence fees
Main applicant – US$7,500
Spouse – US$4,000
Dependant aged 16 years or above – US$4,000
(In some cases, an enhanced due diligence may be required, depending on the citizenship the applicant holds and other personal circumstances.)
Certificate of Naturalisation Fee – US$250 per person
Expedited Passport Issuance Fee – US$1,200 per person