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Dominica Toughens the CBI Program Rules

The authorities of the Commonwealth of Dominica have introduced several amendments to the local economic citizenship program. The amendments were published in the Official Gazette on December 14, 2023 (Commonwealth of Dominica Statutory Rules and Orders / S.R.O.] #14 / 2023) and therefore, they are already in force.

Citizenship of Dominica

Some amendments had been passed earlier and the corresponding letters had been sent to the licensed agents who informed their clients about them. The S.R.O. #14 / 2023 generalizes the amendments introduced earlier and makes a few additional ones. Now there are more reasons why a Dominican passport holder may lose his/ her citizenship. Let us consider the new amendments in some detail.

1. Change of personal information

The economic citizen who changes or tries to change his/ her name within the first 5 years of holding a Dominican passport can be stripped of citizenship of Dominica (change of name due to marriage is an exceptional case that does not lead to loss of citizenship). It does not matter if the foreigner has made a donation or invested in real property in the country. Articles 10 (2) and 10 (3) of the Citizenship of Dominica Act regulate revocation of Dominican citizenship.

2. Imprisonment

An economic citizen of Dominica who is sentenced to 12 months or more in prison after obtaining a passport of the country will lose his/ her citizenship of Dominica. The country where the person is sentenced to prison does not matter: citizenship of Dominica will be lost whatever country it is.

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3. Application forms

The main applicant for citizenship of Dominica is now responsible for ascertaining the truthfulness of the information that all forms carry. This includes the information provided in the main applicant’s forms as well as in the forms filled out by his/ her dependent family members. The following conditions have to be satisfied when the forms are filled out and submitted for consideration:

  • The main applicant has to personally read each form and sign the form in the field confirming its accuracy (including the fingerprints and the photograph forms);
  • Each form also has to be signed and stamped by one of the following officials:
    • A Government officer authorized to take fingerprints;
    • A judge of peace;
    • A public notary;
    • A Government officer authorized to take oaths of allegiance.

4. Exchange of information

The Dominican Citizenship by Investment Unit (CBU) will share the personal information of foreigners whose applications for Dominican citizenship have been rejected with the corresponding Units in other countries.

The information will be supplied to the Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC), a division of the Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime & Security (CARICOM IMPACTS). The JRCC is authorized to share the information with all other Caribbean countries administering citizenship-by-investment programs.

5. Application rejection

An application for a ‘golden passport’ of Dominica can be rejected if it has been previously rejected by another country administering a citizenship-by-investment program.

6. Age of applicant’s parents and grandparents

Foreign applicants for Dominica citizenship by donation/ investment can add their parents and grandparents to their application as well as parents and grandparents of their spouses. However, the minimum age of parents and grandparents has been raised to 65 years. In addition, the main applicant will have to show that the parents (grandparents) are financially dependent on him/ her or his/ her spouse.

7. Discounts and limited-time offers

‘Limited-time offers’ and ‘special discounts’ are not going to be used any longer as an instrument of promoting the Dominican CBI program.

8. Visa denial

An application for citizenship of Dominica by investment will be rejected if the applicant has been denied a visa to one of the following countries:

  • An EU member state;
  • Great Britain;
  • USA;
  • Canada;
  • Any country that has visa-free arrangements with the Commonwealth of Dominica.

The situation can be remedied and the applicant can become eligible for citizenship of Dominica if he/ she is granted a visa to the country that formerly denied a visa to him/ her.

9. Application status

The Dominican CBU now has to inform the licensed immigration agent acting on behalf of a foreign applicant for Dominica citizenship about the status of the application not later than 3 months after the application was submitted. The statuses can be as follows:

  • The application has been provisionally approved;
  • The application is still being processed and processing is delayed for a valid reason;
  • The application has been rejected.

10. Adding relatives to the application for Dominican citizenship after the ‘golden passport’ has already been obtained

If a child is born to an economic citizen of Dominica within the first 5 years, he/ she can be registered as a citizen of Dominica but a registration fee of US$ 2,000 is due. The same applies if an economic citizen adopts a child.

If an economic citizen of Dominica marries a foreign person within 5 years, that person can also be registered as a citizen of the country. However, an additional payment of US$ 75,000 is due plus the due diligence fee, the application processing fee, and the interview fee.

11. Child custody

If the main applicant for citizenship of Dominica or his/ her spouse has sole custody of a child under eighteen years of age, the person has to supply documents that confirm the legality of this status. Sole custody can be ordered by a court of law or an equivalent institution. In this case, the parent has to read and sign all the application forms required for the child.  

12. Interviews

An applicant for Dominica citizenship has to attend an interview virtually or in person. In addition to the main applicant, all dependent family members above the age of 16 have to be present at the interview. If the applicant fails to meet the interview requirements or refuses to have an interview, citizenship of Dominica will be denied to him/ her. There is a fixed interview fee of US$ 1,000.

Reasons for the large-scale amendments

Great Britain has canceled a visa-free regime with the Commonwealth of Dominica and the Schengen zone countries are thinking of following suit. This is the main reason why the authorities of Dominica are toughening the CBI program rules. A large number of visa-free destinations is one of the key factors that attract investors who ‘buy’ foreign passports. Not surprisingly, the countries that administer CBI programs do their best to extend the list of such destinations. Dominica in particular, signed a visa-free access agreement with the Schengen zone in 2015 and with China in 2021. Negotiations with Canada are underway.  

However, visa-free arrangements can also be canceled at times. Many national states criticize the countries that have CBI programs because they believe that their passports can end up in the hands of ‘unreliable persons’.

The UK launched a probe into Dominica’s program in January 2023 and the results of the probe were announced on July 19 of the same year. The British do not grant visa-free access to citizens of Dominica any longer because of the “clear and obvious abuse” of the Dominican CBI program.

Thus, the authorities of the Commonwealth of Dominica have passed new amendments to the legislation governing the country’s citizenship-by-investment program in an attempt to win back London’s favor and not to lose any of the existing visa-free access agreements. 

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