Do you have a minute to learn about an exciting new timeshare opportunity?
Before you run for the hills, don't worry. I'm not going to try to sell you anything or make you sit through a two-hour presentation.
Instead, this is about a timeshare for sale in the Caribbean that comes with an unusual extra feature: citizenship and a second passport. (Or a third one, I suppose, if you already have two passports. But I digress.)
We'll get to why someone might want an additional passport in a minute. First, the details on the Anichi Resort & Spa in the country of Dominica.
The development, set to open next year, is associated with the Autograph Collection hotel chain owned by Marriott International. It looks nice, but the real draw seems to be that if you buy a timeshare, as the development's publicity materials trumpet, you'll become eligible for Dominican citizenship.
The country has a citizenship by investment program, and in a nutshell, it means you can buy a passport--either with a $100,000 contribution to the country's general fund, or by purchasing more than $200,000 worth of real estate.
Conveniently--I say that with a wink--a timeshare at the Anichi Resort and Spa just happens to go for $220,000. (You'd also be on the hook for government fees that can run between $35,000 and $55,000 or more for a family.)
So, why would you want another passport from a tiny country like Dominica?
Well, if you're an American citizen, the advantages might not be super-obvious, but for citizens of some countries it could be very appealing.
For one thing, Dominca's passport allows visa free entry to 120+ other countries, as the travel site One Mile at a Time pointed out, including a few that require visas from Americans (Brazil, Cuba, Iran, and Venuzuela, to name them).
"Financial reasons motivate most [ultra high net worth individuals] ... but another motivating factor is ease of travel," said Nuri Katz, founder of Apex Capital Partners. "Most of our applicants come from China, Vietnam, the Middle East and Russia and the ability to travel the world on business or for pleasure without any barriers is important."
Alexander Lowry, Professor and Director of Master of Science in the Financial Analysis program at Gordon College explained further:
"The wealthy (and not so wealthy) have long gotten second passports by spending time in another country and eventually qualifying for citizenship Then in the 1980s St. Kitts and Nevis introduced a citizenship by investment program.
Since then, various countries have proactively made citizenship available to people based on investment. Such arrangements are available in the U.S., U.K., Singapore, Portugal, Spain, Malta and many other places. There's now a burgeoning market in investment-based citizenship programs for wealthy individuals who make a suitable financial commitment."
The difference here for Dominica is that the process is really fast--just a few months--and the level of investment is comparatively low. To apply for the U.S. EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program for example, requires a minimum of $500,000--and that just gets you a Green Card residency permit, not citizenship.
So no, it's not for everyone, but the Dominica program allows your investment to be in real estate that you could theoretically later sell at a profit--and that somebody else who later buys it from you could also use to fulfill the $200,000 purchase requirement.
Plus, you two weeks at the beach every year--although you don't even have to use them. There are no residency or language requirements for Dominica, and you don't even have to set foot in the country to apply.