A New Hotel in Dominica Offers Something Its Caribbean Rivals Can’t: Citizenship

Welcome to Haiti’s next-door neighbor, the land of baseball and mofongo, an evergreen destination for American spring breakers …

[Record scratch.] Waaaait a second.

Let’s establish right now: this piece is about Dominica. Not the Dominican Republic. 

You may not have heard of it, but Dominica, a tiny island in the Lesser Antilles, is well worth a look, especially in light of the slated-for-2019-opening of Anichi Resort & Spa, the latest addition to Marriot’s Autograph Collection. The resort is beautiful, eco-chic and rainforest-inspired (you know, all the usual stuff), with one rather provocative caveat. 

Thanks to a partnership with the government’s Citizenship by Investment Programme, a timeshare at Anichi will also earn you a second passport … with less of a headache than it takes to update your license photo. All in exchange for laying claim to your own private getaway on a sleepy Caribbean island.

As for why the heck you would want to be a dominiquais national in the first place? Let’s review.

The Deal
The Anichi Resort & Spa opens in late 2019 on Picard Beach, near Portsmouth, which is along Dominica’s northwest coastline. Its properties, pools and panoramas all look absolutely epic. The hotel is part of Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Programme, which means putting down some change on a property now  will put you on the fast-track for a Dominican passport. You have two purchasing options: 1) Preferred Shares for $220K or 2) Freehold Suites for $300-320K, both of which guarantee two weeks of annual living. You can also sell your property down the road (five years into your citizenship, and at a profit) with the help of the resort. 

Where does the Dominican passport come in? And who needs one of those anyway?
Acquiring a second passport in three months is relatively unheard of. And this is a good passport, too, with visa-free access to 130 different countries. No interview, no English-speaking requirement … you don’t even have to live in Dominica (hence the two weeks/year setup). Not to mention: citizenship’s for life (even if you sell your timeshare) and totally inclusive. Your spouse and kids, your folks? They can all piggyback on the process. The fees’ll jump up a notch, but that’s small change compared to how expensive/tiresome getting a second passport usually is.  

I was never great at geography, where is this place?
In the Caribbean, just a good deal closer to South America than Florida. It’s part of the Lesser Antilles (below the likes of Montserrat and Guadeloupe and right above Martinique and St. Lucia, on a map).

Does they speak English on the island?
Indeed. Dominica was actually an English colony for about 200 years, before its independence in 1978. Older Dominiquaises are likely to speak Dominican Creole French.

Can I, like, save some money in all this?
Dominica is a well-noted tax haven. In short: no capital gains tax, no estate duty, no income tax payable on overseas income and no national property tax. So, yes. 

Caribbean holiday. No shirt, no shoes, no problem. Settle in at Portsmouth beach, or head down-island to Rouseau to nurse a rum punch and give the noggin a break at Hi-Rise Beach Bar.

What’s the temp?
Convenient. Dominica’s dry season runs from December through May, when the island enjoys temps in the low-to-mid 80s Fahrenheit. The wet season takes up the rest of the year; the hottest month is August.

The Great Outdoors
Who needs Iceland? Dominica is its own bubbling pot of geothermal activity, home to the world’s second largest hot spring in Boiling Lake. (Kiwis stole the gold with Frying Pan Lake.) And the island’s covered in tropical rainforest, including Cabrits National Park, just 15 minutes up the road from Portsmouth.

Is that a parrot on the national flag?
Good catch. That’s the “imperial amazon,” also known as the sisserou. The species is endemic to Dominica. 

And no, you cannot wear one on your shoulder.