Mar 4, 2020

Acquire citizenship by investment in Dominica: a complete guide

Before you apply for citizenship of Dominica, please read this guide. The application process is quite straightforward but there are certain aspects that you must take into account anyway.

Quite a number of international immigration agencies have appreciated the transparency and the simplicity of the process of acquiring the “golden passport” of Dominica. We hope that this brief guide will make it fully understandable to you too.

Please note that the simplicity of the process should not be confused with lack of complex and multilevel control on the part of Dominican Government. The Commonwealth of Dominica grants citizenship only to those foreign nationals who deserve to be fully trusted.

The due diligence check is the cornerstone of the citizenship-by-investment program. Careful examination of all applications for citizenship allows the program to remain popular with foreign nationals for over twenty-five years.

Dominican citizenship by investment: Step 1 – The choice of an authorized immigration agent 

Please do not think that you can file an application for Dominica citizenship by yourself. You have to hire a licensed immigration agent who will do it on your behalf. That is the law in the county.

Authorized agents perform two key tasks. Firstly, they provide their knowledge and experience to the applicant and guarantee that the he or she will receive all the necessary directions, hints, and tips throughout the application process.

Secondly, the authorized agent conducts preliminary applicant identification. The agent has to ascertain that the applicant is not on the international lists of wanted criminals and that he or she is not subject to any sanctions. Thus, when hiring a licensed immigration agent, you are not simply paying an intermediary for nothing but you purchase valuable services.

The Dominican Government regularly assesses the efficiency and the professionalism of the immigration agencies. They have to be effective in filtering untrustworthy applicants and if they fail to do so, their licenses can be cancelled. So, they do have to work hard and really earn the money that they are paid.

Dominican citizenship by investment: Step 2 – Preparation and submission of the application documents  

The authorized immigration agent will assist you in completing all the application forms and collecting all the required documents. You can find the list of documents on the official website of the Dominica Citizenship by Investment Department or obtain it from the agent.                          

When filling out the forms and supplying the documents, you will have to tell your life story of the last ten years to the Dominican authorities. Separate forms are required for fingerprints and medical examination certificates. To confirm certain statements that you make you will have to supply the relevant documents. For instance, if you claim that you are married, you will have to prove it by providing a marriage license. If you claim that you are divorced, please be prepared to supply the divorce certificate.

The main applicant as well as his or her dependents have to supply quite a number of documents when applying for citizenship of Dominica. The country authorities need to be 100% certain that the applicants for Dominica citizenship are honest and law-abiding people.

The required documents also include domestic and foreign passports of all applicants, ID cards, military service cards, and proofs of residential addresses. If you have changed your name in the past, you will have to notify the Dominican authorities about that and supply the corresponding documents. In addition to that, passport-size photographs of all applicants are required.

Besides, you will have to describe your educational background and supply your diplomas, education certificates and other related documents. In addition, your professional records are required in case you are engaged in some professional activities. If you are employed, a letter of recommendation from your employer is necessary as well.

You will have to supply your medical records too. These should contain negative HIV test results as well as blood and urine test results. These requirements apply not only to the main applicant but also to the members of his or her family who want to acquire the Dominican passport.

Another important document package to submit is the set of financial documents. You have to prove the legality of the origins of the capital that you are going to invest into Dominican citizenship. The required financial documents include the bank statement for the last twelve months, the property ownership certificates, the tax returns, the corporate audit reports, and so on. The exact list of the necessary financial documents will depend on the type of economic activities that you are engaged in.

Police clearances are required for all adult applicants for Dominican citizenship. If you are a citizen of only one country and if you have lived in this country all your life, you will have to supply only one police clearance per each adult applicant. However, if you have dual (triple, etc.) citizenship or if you have resided in different countries over the last ten years, you will have to bring police clearances from all the countries of your citizenship and/ or residence.

When applying for citizenship of Dominica, you have to submit the originals of your documents or their true legalized copies. The documents have to be apostilled if necessary.

All the application forms have to be completed in English, as this is the official language in Dominica. If the documents that you supply are written in any other language, they have to be translated into English by a sworn translator. When you collect all the required documents and fill in all the required forms, you can submit the document package to the immigration agent who will inspect them carefully and then pass them on to the Government division responsible for processing the applications for Dominican citizenship.                                                                                                

Dominican citizenship by investment: Step 3 – Due diligence check

In addition to supplying all the necessary documents and completing all the forms, you will have to cover the application processing costs and the costs of due diligence checks. The latter constitute US$ 7,500 for the main applicant and US$ 4,000 for all dependent applicants over sixteen years old. Due diligence checks are performed at multiple levels, hence the relatively high cost.  

The checks begin at the level of the Dominican Government Citizenship by Investment Department. The experts use most up-to-date methods if applicant identification. Apart from other things, all adult applicants are inspected for possible involvement in money laundering schemes and terrorism financing.

After that, the applicants’ data are transmitted to world-renown detective agencies that conduct independent checks of the applicants for Dominican citizenship. These agencies include the British FACT and S-RM firms, the Canadian Thomson Reuters, and the USA BDO and Exiger. These firms conduct both online and onsite checks, identifying the applicants and confirming the truthfulness of the information that they have provided.

Finally, consultations are obtained from such international agencies as Interpol and CARICOM’s Implementation Agency for Crime and Security.

Normally, personal interviews are not involved in the process of acquiring citizenship of Dominica. The multilevel checks are usually sufficient to supply all the necessary confirmations of the application document trustworthiness. However, in exceptional cases, the candidate for Dominican citizenship can be invited for an interview.  

Dominican citizenship by investment: Step 4 – Approval of the application in principle

The due diligence check may end in application rejection. Besides, the application processing can be prolonged in case some additional confirmation documents are required from the applicant. These can be documents providing sturdier proof of the legality of the sources of income or some other kinds of papers.

In most cases, however, the due diligence checks lead to application approval ‘in principle’. This formulation means that the applicant will be granted Dominican citizenship on the condition that he or she meets the financial obligations. Economic citizenship of Dominica can be acquired via a non-returnable donation to the State Fund or via investment into real estate. You have to be able to meet your financial obligations within three months since obtaining the approval in principle.

Dominican citizenship by investment: Step 5 – Making the required donation or the investment

Foreign nationals looking to obtain citizenship of Dominica can avail themselves of two opportunities. First, they can make an unrecoverable donation to the Economic Development Fund (EDF). Second, they can make a returnable investment into one of the development projects that are approved by the Government of Dominica for the citizenship-by-investment program.

The minimum required investment sums vary depending on the immigration route that you choose and the type of application that you make (an individual application or a family one). For example, a married couple that wants to make a donation to the EDF will have to pay US$ 175,000. If you are an individual applicant and you would like to buy a piece of real property in Dominica thus acquiring citizenship of the country, you will have to invest at least US$ 200,000.

When making an investment into real estate, you also have to pay US$ 35,000 as a state duty. In case a married couple is acquiring Dominican citizenship via investment, each of the spouses is to pay the state duty. In addition to that, you have to retain the property in your possession for five years if you want to sell it to a new economic citizen. If you want to sell the property to a local resident or a foreigner who does not apply for Dominican citizenship, you can sell it after three years of ownership.

At the moment when the applicant for citizenship makes the donation or purchases real estate in the country, the final due diligence check is conducted by the National Bank of Dominica.

At this stage, the applicant has to supply a letter of recommendation from the bank where he or she has accounts, audited tax reports for the last two years, or any other confirmation document that the National Bank of Dominica may request. The Government will not issue the final approval of the application for citizenship until the legality of all the investment funds is confirmed.

Dominican citizenship by investment: Step 6 – Granting of citizenship

As soon as the legality of the sources of investment capital is confirmed, be it the donation or the purchase of real estate, the Dominican Government will issue a decree that will grant economic citizenship to the applicant. (By the way, ‘economic citizenship’ is not different from full citizenship in any respect.)

After that, the applicant will be issued the Naturalization Certificate signed by the Minister of Justice, Immigration, and National Security and stamped by the Citizenship by Investment Department of the Dominican Government.

The Naturalization Certificate indicates the fact that citizenship of Dominica has been officially granted to the foreign applicant. This is the most important document that you will obtain after the process of application for citizenship is over.

This document certifies that its holder possesses the same rights and obligations as other citizens of Dominica.

A citizen of the Commonwealth of Dominica can reap the fruit of the friendly relationships that this Caribbean state has established with most countries of the world. In particular, he or she can travel to a great number of countries without a visa or obtaining a visa on arrival to the foreign state.

Dominican citizenship by investment: Step 7 – Issuance of the passport

Obtaining the passport of the Commonwealth of Dominica as the last stage in the process of application for citizenship. This involves paying a visit to the Dominican Passport Office.

The Passport Office will have its own requirements to the documents to be submitted. You will have to fill out the application form and also bring your birth certificate, the Naturalization Certificate, marriage license, passport-size photographs, and change of personal name certificate, if applicable.  

If you require any additional information about obtaining economic citizenship of Dominica, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]. We have already helped quite a number of people become citizens of this little paradise country in the Caribbean basin. We know exactly what it takes to acquire citizenship of the Commonwealth of Dominica. If your mind is already made up, we will be happy to provide top-class services to you!

Can I avoid paying for the services of an immigration agent when applying for citizenship of Dominica?

Unfortunately, you cannot avoid hiring a licensed immigration agency when applying for Dominican citizenship. The country’s legislation requires that only such an agency should submit the application documents on behalf of the client. The Government’s reasons for passing such legislation are quite clear: the immigration agency does a large part of the due diligence job thus saving the time and effort for Government officials.

Does Dominica grant citizenship to anyone who applies for it?

No, it does not. Anyone who has a criminal past or whose sources of income may be illegal will never get to the stage of submitting the application for citizenship to the Dominican authorities. This is because the immigration agent will inform such an applicant about the lack of opportunity to become a citizen of Dominica. The authorities of the country also require that the potential citizens be in good health but this requirement is not so strict.

What does ‘approval in principle’ mean?

When your application for Dominican citizenship receives an ‘approval in principle’, this is very good news, in fact. It means that you have passed all the necessary security checks and you are welcome to become a full citizen of Dominica. The only thing that remains to be done is making the required donation or the investment. Dominica does not practice the ‘money first’ approach: you will not be asked to make the donation or the investment unless the authorities are happy with your ‘character’.