Dominican Republic is one of the easiest countries to immigrate to and become a citizen of. Many people dream of living in the Caribbean and if you look at the pluses and minuses of becoming the citizen of the Dominican Republic, it quickly becomes obvious why it’s the country of choice. This guide will help you understand the process of the Dominican Republic citizenship and will explain in detail what leads to it and what comes after.
Choosing to Become a Citizen of the Dominican Republic
Every year more and more people move to the Dominican Republic and seek to become citizens in order to stay and live in the country. Dominican Republic has been a favorite destination for many foreign investors as well as families who move here from abroad. Main reasons could be summed up in a few points:
- The economy of the Dominican Republic is stable
- Business opportunities are endless and available in all areas, including tourism, services, industrial production, imports and exports
- Beautiful tropical weather all year round
- Friendly and welcoming people
- Low bureaucracy
- Pristine nature with lots to explore
Dominican Republic Residency Application and Work Permit
Once you have determined that Dominican Republic is where you want to move to and ultimately obtain the citizenship of, you will first need to apply for a residency status and a work permit. You will need following documents in order to submit your application:
- Medical Exams Report – must be done by Immigration Doctors appointed to perform these exams by the Dominican Republic government. The exams consist of Blood Test and X-Rays.
- Copy of each page of your passport
- Three sets of photographs, each set to have a front and side view of your face
- Notarized copy of your birth certificate with official translation into Spanish (if in foreign language)
- Guarantor – must a citizen of the Dominican Republic
- Mailing address in the Dominican Republic
The Immigration Process
You can start with the immigration process as soon as you have arrived in the Dominican Republic. That means that you can come to the Dominican Republic as a tourist on Tourist Visa and apply for residency right away. Make sure you get all your paperwork and documents ready (including the Medical Exam) and head over to the Immigration Office. Once your application is submitted, you will be assigned a registration number. This is usually a four digit number and once you have it, you can officially and legally work and/or do business in the Dominican Republic.
That’s how easy it is with immigrating to the Dominican Republic. You can literally just come to the country as a tourist, go through all initial procedures, such as Medical Exam and get all other paperwork as per the above ready, bring it to the Immigration Office to submit the application and from that moment on, you can legally stay and work in the Dominican Republic while you’re waiting for your application to get processed.
While most Immigration Officers speak English, it is advisable to bring someone who speaks Spanish along when you’re submitting your application in order to speed things up. Dominicans are very friendly and eager to help and accommodate, but Spanish is their only official language and if you don’t speak it, having someone who does with you can help smoothen the process of applying for the residency.
The immigration process typically lasts 3 to 4 months.
Getting Settled in the Dominican Republic
Once your immigration application has been submitted, you can find yourself a place to live in and look for work. If this is your first time in the Dominican Republic, finding a local who could help you out with this can prove beneficial. Dominican Republic is a country that’s geographically on the island (Hispaniola) and as such it has its own perks. Certain things that are normal in the Dominican Republic may work way different in the country you are coming from. The supply of water is not the greatest and even locals buy bottled water to drink and brush teeth with as tap water is not very safe and could make you sick. There are also frequent black outs which could disrupt normal operation of electronic devices.
When looking for a place to stay, find out whether there is an alternative source of power available so you have a back up when power cuts out. It is also not uncommon to have places without a water tank. Water tanks are located on top of buildings and use rain and dew water to provide for showers inside. Always enquire whether the place you’re going to rent/buy has a water tank. Having a local helping you finding a place can result in better price and could help avoid surprises.
Starting a Business in the Dominican Republic
While you’re waiting for your immigration application to get processed, you can start your own business in the Dominican Republic. The registration number you will be assigned after you have submitted your application will allow you to open a Business Bank Account in the Dominican Republic and if special license is needed, you can apply for it with that number as well (such as if you’re starting an import/export business or if you’re looking to deal with products which are state controlled). You will need the following in order to open a business in the Dominican Republic:
- 2 people are required in order to start a company (old law required 7 people, but it has been recently changed)
- Copy of your Dominican ID card (Cedula de Identidad) or of your passport
- Company must have a mailing address in the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic Citizenship
You can apply for the Dominican Republic citizenship 2 years after you have become the permanent resident. Unlike most other countries, Dominican Republic citizenship laws are less strict and do not require you to be present in the Dominican Republic for two years in order to qualify for citizenship. Similarly, foreign investors are eligible to obtain the Dominican Republic citizenship after one year from becoming permanent residents.
As citizen of the Dominican Republic you will be entitled to the following:
- Full Dominican Republic Citizenship, not just so called “economy citizenship” which is common in many other Caribbean and Central American countries
- All rights equal to native Dominicans, except from the ability to run for presidency – only native Dominicans can become presidents of the Dominican Republic
- You will get a Dominican Republic ID, same as Dominican natives have (will replace Cedula de Identidad)
- Dominican Republic birth certificate
- Dominican Republic passport
Obtaining the Dominican Republic citizenship is truly very easy. And it’s fast. You could be on your way to living in a nice tropical country without much bureaucracy and need to meet impossible expectations. Dominican Republic welcomes new immigrants and citizens and makes it really easy to become one. I hope this guide has cast some light on whole process from choosing Dominican Republic as your place to live and do business, through process of obtaining residency permits all the way to obtaining the Dominican Republic citizenship. The time to become a citizen of the Dominican Republic is now. While real estate market as well as entire global economy has been on a slow down throughout the globe because of recession, the market and business in the Dominican Republic have been soaring like never before. And it’s only going to get better as more and more investors realize the potential that lies within this Caribbean country. Welcome to the Dominican Republic.