Dominica Citizenship by Investment
The Commonwealth of Dominica has recently launched a Citizenship by Investment Unit to better facilitate its citizenship program that allows foreign investors to gain citizenship by paying as little as $100,000.
Dominica’s Economic Citizenship Program was started in 1999 to attract much needed investment into the Dominican economy. The program had been run by Dominica’s Ministry of Finance, but following recent changes to the program the government decided to dedicate a separate unit to it in order to increase efficiency and make it more competitive.
“The Economic Citizenship Program is now a worldwide program with a number of new countries coming onboard. In the Caribbean, there are Antigua, Grenada, St. Kitts, and Dominica – who have been doing very well, along with a number of countries in Europe like Cyprus and Malta. A number of other countries are looking at bringing in programs as well,” says Emmanuel Nanthan, coordinator of the new Citizenship by Investment Unit.
The government hopes that a separate dedicated unit for the program will help in reducing processing times of applications, with the aim of delivering citizenship to qualifying applicants within 50 days. The new unit will also promote the program globally. “With more competition and options around the world, we felt the need to professionalize the program in Dominica. As a result, the government formed a unit to manage and supervise the program and ensures that we are at par or better than the other units in the world,” says Nanthan.
Dominica’s citizenship program has seen several changes in the years since it was launched. The most recent change has been the inclusion of investment in real estate projects – an option that is particularly popular among foreign investors looking for citizenship investment.
A multinational investment project – the Kempinski luxury hotel – has already signed up for Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Unit Program. “The Kempinski is a global brand and the promoters have a proven track record. The promoters are also completing a Park Hyatt in St Kitts. These factors give investors an exciting opportunity,” says Dr Vince Henderson, ambassador of the Commonwealth of Dominica to the United Nations.
“The project can also deliver jobs and generate economic activity in Dominica. We estimate the CBIU to contribute $10 million to the Dominica economy this year. For a small economy, this is a significant amount,” says Henderson.
Nanthan is also optimistic about the future of Dominica’s citizenship program and believes the new unit will enhance revenue generation. “A number of people have applied or inquired and we’re looking forward to receiving more applications and analyzing them to ensure that we look at the best interest of the people of Dominica,” he says.
Dominica’s citizenship by investment program program offers two options to investors. In the first option, an applicant is required to invest $100,000 in a government fund in order to qualify for citizenship. If the investor is making the application with a spouse or two dependents under 18 years of age, then the required investment is $175,000, while for a family of four (with two children under 18), the requirement is of $200,000.
Under the second option, the applicant is required to invest $200,000 in any government-approved project in order to get citizenship. This option also charges an extra government fee of $50,000 for the main applicant. An additional investment of $25,000 is required for each family member (spouse or children below 18).
Dominica’s citizenship program imposes no capital gains, estate or death taxes, no restrictions on repatriation of funds, and no taxes on income earned by non-tax residents.
Henderson believes that the business-friendly nature of the Dominican economy will appeal greatly to foreign investors. “The Dominica economy is stable, the rule of law is respected, we follow the British common law and provide a range of incentives to investors, such as tax holidays, etc. We have a special government department to support foreign investors. We have major investments in infrastructure in terms of roads, hospitals and schools. Because of where we are in the development process, it gives the investor the advantage of being the first mover.”
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