The Commonwealth of Dominica is a small country located in the eastern part of the Caribbean Sea. While keen travelers get fascinated by picturesque sights, business people pay attention, in the first place, to the country’s citizenship by investment program. By the way, it is one of the most popular Caribbean programs.
The passport of Dominica ranks 34th in the Passport Index 2018. What opportunities does it offer? What investment options are available under this passport program? Which real estate objects have been approved by the government for investors to choose from? You will find answers to these and other questions in today’s article. As a bonus, we added the statistics on the passports issued in the course of the program.
There are two ways of participation in the program:
You may choose one of the 2 options we just went through, but it is not possible to combine them. In case of a donation to a state fund, one applicant’s passport, all government fees included, will cost around $110,000, and $223,000 for a family up to 4. In case of investment in real estate, the passport for a single applicant will cost $262,000, and $305,000 for a family up to 4. This cost includes all the government fees. Please note that the full cost of the investment option depends on the number of family members you intend to include in your application, as well as their age.
In 2017, Dominica’s passport program was recognized as the best CBI program in a CBI Index study conducted by the Financial Times’ Professional Wealth Management magazine.
Dominica’s CBI program got the highest mark for the following judgement criteria: simplicity of processing and due diligence, minimum investment layout, compulsory travel or residence. All in all, the study included 12 Caribbean and EU countries with official citizenship by investment programs. However, the index had been composed before Antigua and Saint Kitts reduced the cost of their passports.
Major advantages of Dominica’s citizenship by investment program:
There are six government-approved projects, each with a specific set of regulations.
1) Bois Cotlette is the oldest plantation preserved in Dominica. It is located in the southern part of the island. This area is famous for its cocoa, coffee and other eco-friendly products, so as for clean energy. Soon there will appear luxury objects, such as bungalows and small villas, right near the historical constructions. Here you will find routes for the tourists who arrive on the island by cruise ships. This is why objects developers count on a good occupancy rate. You can either purchase a separate villa or become a part owner of the object by contributing at least $200,000.
2) Jungle Bay Villas is a rebranded complex opened in 2005 and destroyed by Tropical Storm Erika in 2015. The new complex will be an eco-friendly resort with 120 premium class villas located on its territory. There is also a plan to build a yoga studio and a healthy food restaurant in the complex. Villas prices start at $255,000. The investor will be allowed to live free of charge in the resort one week per year. As for the remaining time, the villa will be rented. The owner and the managing company share the income fifty-fifty. The first 2 villa blocks are to be commissioned in December 2018.
3) Cabrits Resort Kempinski is a 160-room hotel of the internationally famous chain. The object is situated in the north-eastern part of the country in the picturesque Douglas Bay, in the vicinity of Cabrits National Park. Investors are offered equity participation with the contribution amount of $220,000. The developer plans to complete the construction in the fourth quarter of 2018.
4) Secret Bay Residences is a small eco-friendly boutique hotel. It has already received several awards, including the title of the Best ‘Green’ Hotel in the Caribbean 2016 in the ranking by Travel & Leisure. Villas and bungalows here will be perfect for the lovers of quiet and peaceful vacations.
5) The Silver Beach Development is a luxury eco-friendly 5-star hotel with 200 rooms. The hotel located on Picard Beach is overlooking the neighboring island of Guadeloupe. Investors have two options: to buy a share contributing at least $220,000 or to purchase a separate room, like Calypso with access to the big swimming pool (starting price $300,000) or Swim-Up with an individual pool (starting price $320,000). The room owner will be able to personally use it two weeks per year and will be receiving the share of profit from the room renting. The hotel will be managed by famous international brand Marriott.
6) Tranquility Beach Dominica is a luxury complex that will become part of Curio chain (A Collection By Hilton). In Dominica, it is the first project by the internationally known chain. One can purchase a share of the resort with the minimum contribution of $220,000. The housing stock will consist of 1-3-bedroom villas and condominiums with 1-2-bedroom suites. There will also be a gourmet restaurant, a SPA and fitness center and an event hall in the complex.
At the moment, it is hard to forecast the profitability of projects as in Dominica tourism is a less developed sector than it is on the neighboring islands. On the one hand, unspoiled nature and absence of tourist crowds can attract people. On the other hand, there are high risks of natural hazards in Dominica. Three major hurricanes have struck the country within a five-year period. This has caused serious damage to the island’s real estate and infrastructure.
The government rarely releases any data on the number of issued passports. This, however, is an indication of the high confidentiality degree of the process. It is known that from the program’s launch and to the end of 2013, about 12,000 people became citizens of Dominica. In 2014, the government was expecting to issue 2,000 more passports.
In May 2015, Dominica and several other Caribbean countries signed a visa-free entry agreement with the Schengen countries. So, not surprisingly, the popularity of the economic citizenship program skyrocketed after that move.
Vince Henderson, the Permanent Representative of Dominica to the United Nations, points out:
“WITHIN THE PERIOD FROM JULY 2015 TO JANUARY 2016, $124,000,000 WAS CONTRIBUTED TO THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNT THANKS TO THE CBI PROGRAM.“
The government provides regular reports on the funds allocation: the money is used for supporting small businesses, for helping farmers and fishermen and also for developing important infrastructural and social programs.
As for the investment options, 8 out of 10 applicants choose contribution to the government fund. The variant of investing in real estate is not popular nowadays, which can be mainly explained by infrastructure issues (there are no direct flights to Dominica from the UK and the USA) and natural disaster risks.
Dominica’s citizenship by investment program offers cost affordability and loyal application and processing conditions. It is perfect for high net worth individuals who are interested in visa-free travels to various countries but who are not ready to spend time needed when applying under the general procedure. A favorable tax system and possibility to relocate to another country in case of emergency are main but not only ones advantages of Dominica’s passport.