Dominica is a single-island state located in the Caribbean, where, surrounded by azure seas and dominated by lush vegetation, it could well have chosen to exist in splendid isolation. Instead, the country continues to place itself at centre stage, making global headlines with its vision to become the world’s first climate-resilient nation, and setting a framework for dynamic international and regional relations.
The Prime Minister Dr Roosevelt Skerrit and the Hon. Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs Francine Baron are spearheading this movement, which has, among other things, resulted in Dominica’s stellar performance on global passport and citizenship by investment rankings.
Enabling travel to more than 135 countries and territories without needing to pre-apply for a visa, the Dominican passport is one of the most prestigious in the world. Dominican citizens can access most of Europe and South America, major business hubs such as Hong Kong and Singapore, and countless leisure spots across the world.
Significantly, in May 2015 Dominica signed a visa waiver agreement with Europe, which, after the agreement’s ratification in December that year, enabled Dominican citizens to travel across the Schengen countries for 90 days within any 180-day period. This bolstered ties with Europe and improved people-to-people relations, something that was exemplified by the European Union pledging substantial funds for Dominica’s post-hurricane recovery at the High-Level Donor Conference for the Caribbean held in New York in November 2017.
Just this September, Foreign Minister Baron met with her Russian counterpart, Sergey Levrov, when they both attended the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly. It was there that Minister Baron sealed a visa-free travel agreement with Russia, due to come into force in January 2019 and applicable to all persons holding diplomatic, service, and regular passports from Dominica. Bilateral cooperation in the form of increased trade and the formation of deeper economic and cultural ties was also discussed.
Unsurprisingly, expectations are high for Dominica’s future. In April 2018, Prime Minister Skerrit highlighted that his country was in “advanced stages of negotiations with the authority of the United Arab Emirates” and that a visa waiver agreement with the UAE had been given approval in principle. In August, it was announced that Dominica was in the process of instituting an Embassy in Abu Dhabi and a Consulate General in Dubai. The Prime Minister has also noted that Dominica is negotiating visa-free travel with China.
Closer to home, this June Prime Minister Skerrit visited Suriname, a trip that saw the two countries discuss collaboration and tighter relations, all to be sealed by an official Memorandum of Understanding.
All this bodes well for Dominica’s reputation in the investor immigration sector – an area where, already, the country can boast one of today’s most highly-regarded and longstanding citizenship by investment programmes. Indeed, in an index issued by the Financial Times’ Professional Wealth Management magazine in 2017 and 2018, Dominica was ranked for two years in a row as the world’s best citizenship by investment destination. One of the factors in this evaluation was freedom of movement, but the index also looked at standard of living, minimum investment outlay, citizenship timeline, mandatory travel or residence, ease of processing, and due diligence.