Dominica’s Stringent Due Diligence Process Holds Strong
NEWS | 22.10.2020
The Commonwealth of Dominica has once again topped the list as the most attractive Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme. For the fourth consecutive year in a row, it has retained top rank in being the Programme with the most stringent due diligence measures.
Dominica has one of the fastest-growing economies in the Caribbean region, thanks to the country’s highly respected CBI Programme which allows well-vetted investors and their families to contribute to a government fund or pre-approved real estate on the island in exchange for citizenship. Much of the Programmes’ outstanding reputation is owed to its strict due diligence process and the intense vetting of potential investors, which ensures that only reputable and credible applicants are accepted.
As there are many international concerns regarding the various citizenship programmes, Dominica executes all background checks internally, as well as through external parties to protect the integrity of the Programme. It is also essential to know that due diligence is a mandatory requirement for all applicants above the age of 18.
Often seen merely as a background check, efficient due diligence in the realm of CBI is paramount. This rigorous process of evaluating an applicant’s legitimacy to acquire citizenship from a country is the cornerstone of Dominica’s CBI Programme. It is this process that validates the integrity of the country’s particular Programme, and most significantly, the perception held of that country in the eyes of the international investor market. Not only is a country’s reputation imperative in influencing its diplomatic relations with the rest of the world, but it also directly impacts the strength of the country’s passport as well. As a first step, applicants to Dominica are screened by the Citizenship by Investment Unit and are obligated to submit a range of documentation including police clearances, from their current country of residence. These documents are verified, and potential applications are then sent to the Joint Regional Communication Center (JRCC), who then vet the applicants against their internal databases, and forward their results to the CBIU.
Following this initial screening, the CBIU forwards the verified documents to one of their subcontracted investigative agencies that specialise in identifying corruption, terrorism, and money laundering. These highly reputable agencies assess the risk of the applicant by employing a range of tactics to mine for information. These include one-on-ones with former business partners, local law enforcement, employees, and friends. The aim is to assess the applicant’s reputation, and once that has been established, a more intensive screening process ensues to confirm the applicant’s suitability for citizenship.
This process is further supported with information acquired from databases, such as terrorist watch lists as well as political, litigation and criminal databases. A report summarising its findings is then generated, identifying the individual’s type and source of wealth. It also provides a grade for the level of risk the applicant may pose – very low, low, medium, or high risk.
In Dominica, an island with the second oldest Citizenship by Investment Programme in the region, the due diligence process is one that can take anywhere from three weeks to three months, depending on the complexity of the application. The due diligence for a straightforward application can differ vastly from that of an applicant who has worked in many different cities, where due diligence would then be required on all the different locations.
Once due diligence reports are issued to Dominica’s CBIU, a committee determines the decision on whether to grant or deny citizenship to an applicant. Official notification is then delivered to the applicant’s local agent.