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Visas And Residency in the Dominican Republic

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Information on Visas and Residency in the Dominican Republic

All visitors need a tourist card to enter the Dominican Republic for a maximum of 60 days. These are generally acquired at the airport on arrival for a fee of US$10 (cash only). For tourists entering the Dominican Republic, passports must be valid at least until the date of departure; for all others, passports must be valid for at least six months.

Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic. iStock/ukayacan

Las Terrenas, DR can be a great option when choosing a second home.

Obtaining a Residency Visa in the Dominican Republic

Obtaining a residency permit in the Dominican Republic is a relatively straightforward process but requires a significant amount of paperwork. Travelers who intend to relocate to the Dominican Republic should obtain a residence visa from a Dominican consulate abroad and then apply for a provisional residence permit with the Department of Migration in the country within 60 days of arriving. Documents, all of which must be translated into Spanish and both the originals and translations must be notarized, required include:

  • A visa form
  • Two photographs
  • A valid, original passport
  • A medical certificate showing that the applicant in overall good health and free from any contagious diseases.
  • A criminal background check
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Documents showing the applicant’s financial solvency. They can include a letter from a bank showing account balances, company registrations, latest tax returns or proof of pension
  • A notarized letter of guarantee signed by a Dominican citizen of legal resident alien the Dominican Republic. This letter must be signed by a notary in the DR and legalized by the Attorney General’s office.

The provisional permits is valid for one year. After one year as a provisional resident, eligible applicants may apply for a permanent residency card. You’ll resubmit much of the same documentation as you did for the provisional card, plus sworn statements by two people who attest to knowing you in the Dominican Republic and that you’re a law-abiding person.

Types Of Visas In The Dominican Republic

The Pensionado Visa

The three types of visas that you should look at in the DR are its pensionado, rentista, and investor visas. The pensionado visa requires you to have a pension of at least US$1,500 per month plus US$250 per dependent.

The Rentista Visa

For the rentista visa, the requirement is US$2,000 per month from any investment-derived income for the past five years.

The Investor Visa

The investor visa option requires a minimum US$200,000 investment (real estate purchases don’t count, unless done through a registered company).

The permanent residency permit is valid for two years. After two years of holding the permanent residency permit, you may apply for Dominican citizenship.

The DR has some of the laxest in-country requirements around. If you do not return to the DR after four years, you only have to pay a fine, and will still be able to renew your residency status. Other perks include the right to work in the country as well as the ability to hold not one, but two other citizenships, meaning you could have a total of three citizenships (and three passports).

Obtaining a Second Passport in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic offers a naturalization-through-residency program that comes with one of the shortest times to a second passport of any such programs currently available.

Obtaining a second passport through residency can take up to 10 years or longer some places, but in the Dominican Republic you can apply for citizenship after just two years of permanent residency. You have to be a temporary resident for five years before you’re able to apply for permanent residency unless you qualify as a pensionado, a rentista, or an investor, in which case you can obtain permanent residency status right away under a fast-track program.

The income threshold for a retiree with a pension is US$1,500 per month plus another US$250 per month for each dependent under the fast-track program. You can qualify as a rentista with proof of income of at least US$2,000 a month. The investor option requires an investment of US$200,000, which can be in the form of a bank CD deposit, an operating company, or property purchase (through a company).

The Fast-Track Options

If you qualify under one of the fast-track options, you’re granted permanent residency straightaway. Under the regular residency application, you have to renew your status every year for the first four years. With fast-track residency, you avoid the annual renewal. You renew your status every four years. And you don’t have to spend any specific amount of time in the country on an ongoing or annual basis. You need only return for the every-four-years renewal.

Residency in the Dominican Republic can lead to citizenship within three years. But under the fast-track residency option, you can start your naturalization process six months after receiving your permanent residency card. After you’ve completed the required residency time, the application and approval process will take another six months or so. You’ll have to sit for an interview in Spanish, which you’ll need to prepare for, but, overall, the process is straightforward and less hassled than in many other jurisdictions.

Dominican Republic citizenship can be applied for after six months of legal residency, provided that the applicant has invested in a business or in real estate. Another way to receive DR citizenship is to prove uninterrupted residence in the country for at least two years.

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