Case: Citizenship of Dominica via property purchase

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Case description

Clients Konstantin S. is a citizen of Belarus. Most of the time he spends traveling outside the country. His main goal is to enjoy visa-free travels around the world.

 

The programs that were considered

Apart from receiving citizenship, the client wanted to invest funds in some immovable property, so he was considering the most reasonable option in terms of price. When the client turned to Migronis in May 2017, the most affordable way of investing in property was being offered by Dominica’s program, with the minimum investment amount corresponding $200,000. Under all the other Caribbean programs, one had to invest at least:

  • $400,000 in Saint Kitts and Nevis,
  • $350,000 in Grenada,
  • $400,000 in Antigua and Barbuda.

 

IMPORTANT! On April 5, 2018, the Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis reduced the minimum amount of investment in property from $400,000 to $200,000 in case of joint application. Based on the amendments, two investors can purchase one object worth $400,000 and receive citizenship. Unlike under the standard investment procedure, with the object retention term corresponding 5 years, in this situation is extends to 7 years. The next owner of the property can also apply for citizenship.

Antigua and Barbuda also reduced the minimum investment amount to $200,000 under the joint investment. The contribution in the amount of $400,000 which is to be made in a development project approved by the Government can be shared by two investors. Thus, each investor is to contribute $200,000. On October 12, 2018, the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) extended the special offer by one year.

Comparing the Caribbean programs by investment

 Saint Kitts and NevisAntigua and BarbudaDominicaGrenada
Object minimum cost, $200,000200,000200,000350,000
State charges and due diligence, $57,80057,80061,95058,000
Total cost for one applicant, $457,800457,800261,950409,200
Total cost for the family of 4, $566,900470,400305,200428,200

*В разделе “Сравнение программ” Вы можете выбрать разные программы и сравнить их по 14-ти критериям.

IMPORTANT! Unlike with the citizenship program of Cyprus, under which any object worth over €2 million is considered as a ground for getting citizenship, in Caribbean countries only those property objects that have been approved by the Government provide a person with the opportunity to receive citizenship.

Real estate market in the Caribbean

It is not easy to choose property in the Caribbean, since many objects are overpriced due to citizenship programs existence. We recommend one to carefully study developers’ offers.

 

The price of some objects exceeds the market price by 50-100%, at the same time it is hard to sell them in the secondary market. The real situation in the Caribbean real estate market differs from what you see in beautiful brochures and presentations, that is why it is important to take property selection very seriously.

 

At the same time, there a positive grounds for investing in property. According to the report by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, in 2016 the number of tourist to have visited Dominica corresponded 366,000. On average 439,000 people visited the island every year from 2008 to 2015. The majority of tourists were from the USA, Canada, the UK and other Caribbean countries. Regular tourist inflow allows to ensure stable profit from real estate.

The Cabrits Resort Kempinski, Dominica

There are not many decent objects in Dominica, but we offered our client several good options. Konstantin made a choice in favour of the Kempinski project, which is the first object approved by the Government and having a good profit potential. The resort located in Douglas Bay is currently under construction.

Some facts about the project:

  • End of construction: 2nd quarter of 2019;
  • Profitability: 2% before object commissioning and up to 5% after hotel operation start;
  • Investment destination: developer’s stock;
  • Additional benefits: Kempinski loyalty card (25-30% discount on a standard room in a hotel chain, concierge service, opportunity to stay in a hotel up to 2 weeks a year charge free and more, depending on the chain);
  • Minimum cost of share: $220,000;
  • The object is insured against hurricanes and is being built according to local construction norms;
  • One can sell the object if 5 years without losing citizenship.

You can find a detailed description of the project, video from the construction site and other things in this episode.

You can also download the presentation here.

Processing

We prepared the package of documents for getting citizenship in a 20-day period. The client contributed 10% of the share cost (program requirement), paid the due diligence fee and 50% for our services, after which the case was sent to the citizenship agency.

The application was approved in 3.5 months. Konstantin paid the remaining 90% of the object price and 50% for our services.

As a result, the cost of obtaining citizenship totaled $281,950 (without Migronis services fee), including:

  • $220,000 — object cost,
  • $50,000 — state charge,
  • $7,500 — due diligence,
  • $3,000 — application processing charge,
  • $1,200 — passport charge,
  • $250 — certificate of naturalization charge.

Important note! On average, the real term of application consideration in Dominica is from 3 to 8 months. Sometimes the citizenship agency can request for additional documents: about funds source, utility bills, affidavits (notarized explanations of disputes), confirmation of financial self-sufficiency, consent by the second parent for citizenship issuance to the child, etc.

The information about funds sources and applicant’s business undergoes thorough check. That is why it is important to provide only the credible information.

The document requirements differ depending on the program. For example, Dominica more rarely requests for additional documents, and the program of Vanuatu is more loyal to the applicants, with the main criterion for the case approval is absence of an unexpired conviction for a grave crime and the person not being in any sanction lists, Interpol’s base or wanted. However, there is no option of investing in real estate in Vanuatu.

Bullet points

 

Having analyzed various objects, the client decided to purchase real estate in Dominica for the following reasons:

  • Reliable developer that has already executed a series of projects in the Caribbean, including Park Hyatt hotel in Saint Kitts;
  • Investment threshold — $220,000 — it was the best offer in the Caribbean at that moment;
  • Opportunity to receive profit;
  • Additional benefits due to owning a share.

dominica-passport

Expert opinion

Khrystyna Ruzhilo: “It is crucially important to choose real estate in the Caribbean very carefully, since in the majority of cases objects are way overpriced. Beautiful presentations often do not reflect the reality, and some objects are not even finished at all or their commission is delayed (up to 5-7 years). In these cases one can forget about profit.

We recommend only those developers who can demonstrate successful portfolios and we give options to our clients after analyzing legal documentation of the developer. In order to estimate the developer’s reliability, it is important to have an office in the Caribbean and know local realities.”

Conclusion

 

When choosing a real estate object in the Caribbean, one should pay attention to the following factors:

  • If the object has been built in accordance with the local construction norms;
  • If the object has been insured against hurricanes;
  • The object cost in the secondary market;
  • The level of tourism infrastructure development, etc.

When buying a hotel share (popular option in the Caribbean), one should:

  • Find out hotel average occupancy rate using open sources like booking.com, tripadvisor and others, since it influences the profit which is further shared between shareholders (this refers to the majority of projects);
  • Check the developer’s portfolio for the existence of successfully finished projects in it;
  • Find out since when the profit is paid and the profit amount (with respect to some projects, the investor can receive the profit up to 2% per year before the hotel commissioning);
  • Check if there are additional benefits related to owning a share. In some cases when the investor becomes the hotel co-owner, he/she receives discounts of up to 25% throughout the whole hotel chain, concierge service, opportunity to stay in a hotel up to 2 weeks a year charge free and more, depending on the chain;
  • Find out the terms of object retention without losing citizenship;
  • Get to know the conditions of exiting the investment: if the next property owner can receive citizenship having purchased the object after you. As long as the secondary market is less developed, one should analyze in advance if it will be possible to sell the object in 5 years at a reasonable price (without object value loss). Not all programs can offer this possibility;
  • Receive comparison of options regarding object costs in different countries. The costs depend on the family composition. In some cases it is more beneficial to obtain citizenship by donation, that is why we recommend one to compare options first. You can choose different programs and compare them with respect to 14 criteria in the section “programs comparison”. Find presentations containing detailed objects description in the section “real estate”.

Apart from the issues related to real estate, one is recommended to consider the following:

  • Complexity of the procedure of receiving the status and the guarantees (rejection rates, requirements to provide the documents related to funds source, etc.);
  • Effectiveness of program operation at the particular moment. Find more details about the importance of the mentioned factor in this article.

Only cooperation with the experts having extensive experience in dealing with various programs allows one to find the best option.

 

Krisitna

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