Dominican Residency: Since June 2012, residency status in the Dominican Republic is governed by Immigration Law No. 285-04 and Immigration Regulation No. 631-11.
According to statute, foreign nationals are prohibited from entering The Dominican Republic for residency purposes in the following cases:
- Contagious illness threatening to public health, except, under certain requirements, when sponsored by relatives living in The DR.
- Physical disabilities or mental illness, with certain exceptions.
- Guilty of serious crimes such as drugs, human trafficking, prostitution, terrorism, and other offences of such nature.
- Previous deportation without reentry permit or prevention from entering The Dominican Republic.
Foreigners seeking residency in The Dominican Republic fall into two tiers:
I) Immediate applicants for permanent residency.
II) Applicants for temporary residency.
If you fall under the following categoris, you may apply immediately for permanent residency, without having to obtain temporary residency first.
- Investors of a minimum of US$200,000 in local businesses or in local financial instruments.
- Retirees with a monthly pension of at least US$1,500 plus US$250 per dependent.
- Applicants with a fixed monthly income of at least US$2,000 for 5 or more years.
- Applicants related to Dominican Nationals or to foreigners with permanent residency in The DR, children or spouses.
There is little difference in the application process between permanent and temporary residency, although some additional documentation may be required for permanent residency. The first step is to apply for a residency visa at the Dominican Consulate nearest to the applicant’s current legal domicile. It is no longer the case to be able to apply for residency from inside The Dominican Republic as was possible before. Requirements for the visa application are the following:
- Pictures of the applicant.
- Original passport valid for at least a stay of 60 days in The DR.
- Documents justifying the granting of the visa. For example, work contract with a Dominican company.
- Medical certificate from the health authorities of the country of domicile of the applicant.
- Criminal record certificate from the authorities of the country of domicile of the applicant.
- Photocopy of the national I.D. of the applicant, and, if the applicant resides in a third country, photocopy of his/her residency card in the third country.
- Birth certificate. If in a language other than Spanish, the certificate must be translated by a legal translator and authenticated at the consulate. Both the original and the translation into Spanish must be filed with the application.
- Marriage certificate, if applicable. If in a foreign language, the same requirements for birth certificates apply.
- Letter of guarantee signed by a Dominican or a permanent resident of The DR.
- Documents justifying the applicant’s solvency.
Foreign documents must be apostilled or legalized at the Dominican Consulate depending on the jurisdiction. Documents in a language other than Spanish must be translated by the Consulate.
Law No. 285-04 states that residency applicants must purchase local insurance to cover medical and repatriation costs. However, this requirement has been temporarily suspended by the Immigration Department. Applications may include dependents such as a spouse and children, provided that the proper documentation is attached (birth certificates, marriage certificate, passports, pictures, etc.).
Criminal record certificates are necessary for dependents of legal age.
The residency visa is good for only one entry into the Dominican Republic for an initial period of 60 days. The cost of the application is US$90 or equivalent.
Residency visas are approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Santo Domingo. If the visa is approved, the consulate will stamp the residency visa on the applicant’s passport. The application file will then be forwarded to the Immigration Department for processing. It is highly advisable that applicants keep a copy of the complete visa application file, including translations and authentications.
Inside 30 days of arrival in The Dominican Republic, the applicant must go to the Immigration Department with their passport to sign application, register fingerprints and partake in the required medical tests.
The approximate waiting time is between four and six months from the date the applicant signs the application at the Immigration Department.
Upon approval of their application as a resident, the applicant will receive a temporary or permanent residency card and a cédula de identidad (National ID card). In both cases, residents must hold current passports.
Temporary residency is granted for one year. Applications for renewal must be made in person within thirty days before the expiration date. Temporary residents may apply for permanent residency after 5 years, within 45 days before the expiration date of their temporary residency card.
Permanent residents must renew their residency card after one year; subsequent cards will be renewable every four years, except for retirees and workers with guaranteed incomes who must renew every two years.
After ten years, permanent residents may be issued with a definitive residency card, not subject to renewal. An annual residency fee, however, will still have to be paid.
An applicant wishing to renew their temporary or permanent residency must provide the Immigration Department with a passport valid for at least 18 months, residency card, cédula, pictures, local police certificate, letter of guarantee, etc. To renew their permanent residency, the applicant must also undergo a new medical exam, and justify that the conditions under which residency was originally granted have not varied.
Residents must obtain a special re-entry permit if their Dominican residency cards will expire while they are out of The Dominican Republic. Residents must also inform the Immigration Department of any change of domicile.
Permanent residents may apply for citizenship after two years as permanent residents, investors and spouses of Dominican nationals may apply after six months.
It is illegal for nonresidents to work in The Dominican Republic. Employers of nonresident workers will be subject to fines. Illegal workers are subject to deportation.
We at DR Property Guys are not immigration experts, we can however refer you to professionals dedicated in this area.