Okay, so you have been seduced by the sun and sand in Punta Cana and have decided to relocate permanently to the Dominican Republic.
There are several advantages to being a resident: you can import vehicles and household goods tax-free, and a residential drivers license is valid longer than those issued to tourists.
As with everything else here, you’ll receive a warm Caribbean welcome: citizenship law in the Dominican is open and friendly, and there are few barriers to obtaining residency or citizenship.
That said, there are still a few hoops you’ll have to jump through.
How to become a Dominican resident
- Foreign nationals who wish to live and work in the Dominican must apply for a temporary, or provisional, residence visa at Dominican Consulate closest to your country of origin.
- Processing times can take up to 2 weeks once you have obtained all the documents. Once granted, the visa is valid for 60 days during which you must travel to the DR to complete you application at the Immigration Department.
- The application fee is currently US$125.
- Besides copies of your passport, you will have to provide an original of your birth certificate and a police report. You will also have to prove your links to the Dominican Republic (job offer, investment in real estate, proof of your pension... An attorney can help you to figure out how to apply). You must complete a medical exam as part of the process.
- You can choose to remain a provisional resident (renewable annually), or opt to apply for permament residence after five years. Applications for permanent residence are processed by the Immigration Department (Dirección General de Migración)
- After seven years of residency in the Dominican (i.e. five years as a provisional resident and two as a permanent resident), you will be eligible to apply for citizenship, which will give you access to opportunities to sheltering US income, and enable you to legally invest in offshore unit trusts and mutual funds as well as purchase and lease property without subjecting yourself to punitive taxation.
As any expat knows, immigration and visas can be a nightmare. Each country has different legislation and the requirements can change regularly. We recommend you use a professional lawyer so you don’t get caught out filling out the wrong forms or paying the wrong fees.
For additional information we advise you to contact a reputable law firm such as:
Guzman Ariza Attorneys at Law
Palma Real Shopping Village, Bavaro