Citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes are a type of economic citizenship granted to individuals in return for investment in a country’s economy. Dominica’s CBI Programme is one of the oldest in the world and is ranked among the top-tier programmes globally. Others with a comparable reputation – particularly with respect to transparency – include those in St Kitts and Nevis, Malta, and Grenada.
In an increasingly globalised world, second citizenship offers a tremendous opportunity for wealthy and international individuals and families, business owners, and investors. Dominican CBI benefits include increased global mobility, estate planning opportunities, and diversification of both business and personal assets. New citizens of Dominica are also invited to enjoy the tranquil lifestyle and lush, natural beauty of the ‘Nature Island of the Caribbean.’
Business advantages of Dominican citizenship
Business managers find there are considerable advantages to Dominican citizenship when it comes to running their company. Not only do businesses benefit from favourable tax rates on imports, exports, and capital gains, but also from the stability of a currency pegged to the US dollar, and duty free trading under the Caribbean Basin Initiative. Internationally-minded business leaders holding Dominican passports are also welcomed for short tourist and business stays in several key hubs of commerce and trade.
Dominica is especially fertile ground for entrepreneurship and investment, given the Government’s commitment to business innovation: “The Government of Dominica is keen on spreading the culture of entrepreneurship and on stimulating greater investments,” explained the country’s Honourable Minister for Commerce, Enterprise and Small Business Development, Roselyn Paul, in an address late last year.
Support for the economy, and for business development, also comes from the CBI Programme in the form of funds received by the the island’s Economic Diversification Fund (EDF). Applicants for citizenship can choose to make a contribution to the EDF starting at US$100,000 for a single applicant. Launched to invigorate the local economy, the EDF has been used to sponsor education, green energy, industrialisation, and agriculture.
Opportunity to invest in prime real estate
The Government of Dominica has also proven itself to be amenable to foreign investment in other sectors. A second route to Dominican citizenship by investment includes the purchase of approved real estate projects within the island’s booming tourism and hospitality industries. Owing to the high quality and reputation of these developments, investors can enjoy considerable returns.
Examples of approved real estate include Jungle Bay Villas, a successful luxury, ecologically-friendly resort, and the Curio collection by Hilton. The Hilton project is led by a Dominican-owned company, recycling profits back into the national economy. Plans for a new boutique hotel in the prestigious Marriott Autograph Collection have also been incorporated into Dominica’s citizenship by investment portfolio.
The strength of Dominican real estate is not to be underestimated, given the projected growth in tourism in coming years. An industry that has long been described as being in its infancy, it is now on its way to exponential growth, as outlined by the Tourism Board’s recent project to reposition Dominica as a destination brand. If investors feel that’s not guarantee enough, real estate is eligible for re-sale under the Citizenship by Investment Programme after 3 or 5 years (depending on the buyer) from the date of receipt of citizenship.
Your own slice of paradise
Above all, the benefits of Dominican citizenship are the experience of Dominica itself. Described as the Nature Island of the Caribbean, and with an official motto that translates to ‘After God, The Earth’, it’s not hard to see why. Dominica’s lush rainforests are shared by more than 180 parrot species, and whales are commonly spotted just off the coast. The effervescent waters at Champagne Reef are a top attraction for snorkelers and divers. More than 300 miles of hiking trails traverse the island, including the 115-mile-long Waitukubuli National Trail, winding its way through rainforests and gorges, rivers and waterfalls.
The island has a growing reputation as a world leader in green energy, and has since 1997 actively participated in the work of Green Globe to develop a model for ecotourism. Today, it is one of the world’s ecotourism hotspots, having made a commitment to sustainable tourism and conservation of the natural environment. Visitors and residents can both, therefore, rest assured in the knowledge that their presence on the island will not disrupt nature.
In the financial year 2015/2016, Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Programme exceeded all revenue expectations and, while there are numerous benefits of Dominican citizenship for investors themselves, the Programme has certainly brought about a much needed boost to the local economy too.