On the 19th of December 2023, the Government of Dominica took a significant step to strengthen the Citizenship by Investment Programme by publishing new rules, standards, and conditions in a unified document on the official government website. All new and substantial changes are aimed at reinforcing the citizenship programme and enhancing its appeal to potential investors. Key points will be highlighted, providing additional assurances of the programme’s reliability for those seeking Dominican citizenship through real estate investments.
Investing in real estate under the Dominica Citizenship Programme is only allowed in meticulously vetted and government-approved projects. Since 2014, when the option of obtaining citizenship through real estate investments was first introduced, the number of approved projects has not exceeded ten. Stringent standards in project selection and their limited quantity ensure the preservation of invested capital for investors, serving as an additional safeguard that all projects will be operational and profitable.
The minimum investment amounts in real estate and government fees remain unchanged, attracting the attention of serious investors and ensuring a substantial and long-term contribution from each participant to the sustainable development of the island.
In order to protect the interests of responsible investors and bolster trust in the programme, additional measures have been implemented. These initiatives aimed not only at a more rigorous selection of citizenship candidates but also at creating an attractive and competitive investment environment.
A committee has been established to review applications and conduct mandatory interviews with citizenship candidates, who must attend the interview either virtually or in person. This significant step allows for a detailed examination of the applicant’s motivations and goals, ensuring that investments are supported by legitimate and transparent intentions. The cost of conducting interviews is borne by the investor, amounting to 1,000 US dollars.
The selection criteria for citizenship applicants have been refined: applications are not approved if the candidate has been denied a visa from a country with which Dominica has a visa-free arrangement, as well as from the United Kingdom, the United States, the European Union, and Canada. Before applying for Dominican citizenship through investment, the applicant must reapply for the relevant visa and obtain its approval. This rule is introduced to strengthen favourable international relations with all countries providing visa-free access to Dominican citizens.
Over the 30 years of operation, the Dominica Citizenship Programme has perfected its due diligence process to ensure the safety and security of candidates. It includes thorough background checks and document submissions and eliminates applicants with criminal convictions or ties to suspicious criminal activities.
Last year, the Government of Dominica introduced mandatory enhanced comprehensive screening for citizenship candidates from specific countries and regions, in light of potential risks to national security and the country’s interests. As part of this procedure, principal applicants and their dependents undergo additional scrutiny, such as mandatory interviews for individuals aged sixteen and above and commissioning professional firms to conduct in-depth documentary investigations for individuals aged twelve and above. Additional fees for enhanced screening were implemented in accordance with established rates, thereby ensuring financial coverage for the execution of this supplementary procedure.
The Dominica Citizenship by Investment Programme continues to evolve, mitigating potential risks and ensuring safety, responsibility, and attractiveness for investors seeking to become citizens of this Caribbean nation.
To ensure the reliable and effective functioning of the programme, stringent penalties have been implemented for those who violate the established rules.
If an applicant provides false information or withholds important details at any stage of document submission, their application may be rejected. In the event that false or misleading information is discovered later, the applicant may face revocation of citizenship, with the annulment and confiscation of their passport. Additionally, there is the possibility of criminal prosecution in accordance with perjury laws.
Citizenship revocation and fines may be imposed in the event of non-compliance with property retention deadlines or attempts to resell real estate before a specified period has elapsed.
An individual who acquires Dominican citizenship through naturalization may be deprived of citizenship if, within five years of obtaining the naturalization certificate, they change their name or attempt to do so, except in cases of name change due to marriage.
Deprivation of citizenship also applies to individuals who, after naturalization, have been sentenced in any country to a term of imprisonment of no less than 12 months.
These measures are introduced to ensure that citizens adhere to high standards of lawfulness and integrity. Simultaneously, to ensure transparency and preserve the reputation, there is accountability for spreading false information about the citizenship programme.
Information, advertising, promotion, or publications related to citizenship by investment should not be publicly released or disseminated on behalf of a registered agent, licensed promoter, or approved developer using mass media or on behalf of other individuals. Exceptions apply when such publication complies with the guidelines set by the Government of Dominica.
Penalties for violation:
A fine of one thousand dollars;
For a registered agent – inclusion in the list on the government of Dominica’s website as an unauthorized person to submit citizenship applications on their own behalf or on behalf of others, as well as revocation of the authorization to act as a registered agent;
For a licensed promoter – inclusion in the list on the government of Dominica’s website as an unauthorized person to act as a promoter for the Citizenship by Investment Programme;
For an approved developer – any of their approved projects will be suspended or withdrawn from participation in the programme.
The imposition of strict sanctions in the Dominica Citizenship by Investment Programme is aimed at establishing stability, transparency, and integrity. Citizenship revocation, imposition of fines, programme exclusion, and accountability for false information set unwavering standards. All these measures are designed to ensure adherence to established norms and create fair conditions for citizenship candidates.
The Dominica Citizenship Programme is considered one of the most attractive on the global stage. Stringent selection criteria, high verification standards, and the implementation of advanced control measures make this programme appealing to serious investors seeking to secure citizenship status for themselves and their families in a country with not only breathtaking natural resources but also a stable economy.
The recent changes introduced by the Government of Dominica signal a commitment to enhancing and strengthening the Citizenship by Investment Programme. High standards in project selection, intensified candidate screenings, and the imposition of stringent penalties for rule violations ensure not only safety and reliability but also affirm a responsible approach to the implementation of this programme.
Based on these changes, it can be confidently asserted that Dominica remains competitive in the market of citizenship by investment programmes, offering its citizens and investors privileges worthy of attention. The programme continues to attract those seeking not only a high citizenship status but also prospects for successful and sustainable investments.