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Dominican Republic Citizenship

Dominican
Nationality

Citizenship law in the Dominican Republic reflects its people: warm and open. Nearly everyone is welcome, whether for business or pleasure, and many can obtain residency or citizenship.
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The Dominican Republic, sharing the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, was the first landmass of the Americas that Christopher Columbus landed on in 1492. Though originally settled by Spaniards, the Dominican Republic, or “DR,” is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nation with European, African and Taíno (indigenous tribe of people originating from South America) roots. There is also a large Haitian minority living in the DR. The majority of the population carries Hispanic characteristics, however, with the national language being Spanish.

As a foreign national, you are either a “nonresident” or “resident.” Nonresidents are those who intend to stay in the country for a limited time for a particular purpose such as business or pleasure. A resident is a foreign national who is staying in the country for an extended period and has obtained legal residency status, which affords the foreign national legal status in the country entitling the person to an identification card (Cédula de Identidad Personal) and access to a more favorable tax structure. Foreign nationals must properly register with the Registry of Foreigners (Registro de Extranjeros).

Anyone eighteen or older may apply for citizenship. The three most common avenues are birth, marriage or residence. Article 20 of the Dominican Constitution permits dual nationalities (and a Dominican may acquire a foreign nationality without the risk of losing Dominican nationality).

Under Article 25 of the Dominican Constitution, Foreign nationals own the same rights (and responsibilities) as Dominican nationals. There is one exception – a foreign national may not participate in political activities except voting in elections. If you face legal problems while being in the country, you can request diplomatic protection. This is only possible if you have tried every other possible solution.

TIMELINE

3 Step Process

First step: temporary (provisional) residence

The application for temporary residence is submitted to the Dominican Migration Department. Once granted, it will be valid for one year. It will entitle you to live and work legally in the Dominican Republic and you won’t be required to purchase a tourist card to enter the country. After one year, you will renew your temporary permit for one more year, which will be easier to arrange than the first application.

After five years as a temporary resident you will be able to change your status to permanent. Normally, you will obtain your visa in three months but it can take up to six months in order to get a temporary resident, so do make sure that you arrange this in time! So what do you need?

First of all you will need to send a letter of application addressed to the consul or the Minister of Foreign Relations. Which should contain your name, nationality, place of residence, and the activity that you will perform in the country. If it is filled in by a company, the manager in charge should sign the form. Besides that, you should explain your connection with the country. You could be a Dominican by origin, married to a Dominican, have a work contract or finally, you could have proof of economic solvency.

Second step: permanent residence

Foreigners have to live in the Dominican Republic with a temporary residence permit for 5 years, before obtaining permanent residency, which you will need for at least 2 years. This means that after 7 years of legal residence foreigners can apply for citizenship.

The residency visa is good for only one entry into the Dominican Republic and you have to enter the Dominican Republic within 60 days. The costs are US$ 90,-.

Within 30 days of arrival in the Dominican Republic, you must visit the Immigration Department with your passport to sign application forms, register fingerprints and undergo the required medical tests.

Permanent residents must renew their residency card after one year; subsequent cards will be renewable every four years, except for retirees and people supporting themselves financially who must renew their residency cards every two years.

After ten years, permanent residents will be issued a definitive residency card, not subject to renewal. Unfortunately, you will still have to pay an annual residency fee.

Last step: The citizenship procedure

The application for citizenship is filed with the Department of Interior and the procedure continues as follows:

  • the interview. Two weeks after filling in all the proper documents, you will be called to appear at the Home Office for an interview, in Spanish. The questions (and answers) can be reviewed before the interview.
  • the oath. Within five months after the interview, you will be summoned to take the oath of citizenship.
  • Birth certificate and identification. Approximately two months after taking the oath, the foreign national will be issued a Dominican birth certificate, and be permitted to obtain a Dominican identification card (Cédula de Identidad Personal). You must appear personally to obtain the identification card from the issuing government office. You are now entitled to apply for a Dominican passport (a separate but relatively simple process).
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Requirements for obtaining Residence in the Dominican Republic:

PASSPORT
This document must have at least eighteen (18) months of validity.

VISA OF RESIDENCE (VISA RS)
The interested party should initially go to the Dominican consulate in their country, and obtain from them a Residency Visa (VISA RS), which will be granted based on the fulfillment of some requirements that this Dominican Consulate will require.

CERTIFICATE OF NO CRIMINAL RECORDS
This document must be issued by the competent authority in your country, and whose document must be translated into Spanish, legalized and apostilled, so that it may have validity in Dominican territory.

BIRTH CERTIFICATE
This document must be issued by the competent authority in your country, and whose document must be translated into Spanish, legalized and apostilled, so that it may have validity in Dominican territory.

DOCUMENT TESTING THE ECONOMIC SOLVENCY
This document must be a justification of the economic situation, pension, retirement, or possession of bank accounts, businesses, companies, etc.

NOTE: After obtaining these documents in hand, you can come to the Dominican Republic and start the Residency process with the Lawyers, who will proceed to request other documents together with the foreign citizen, and upon completing this last process, proceed to deposit the file Before the General Directorate of Migration (DGM) of the Dominican Republic, and there will be capture of signatures, fingerprints, medical examinations and internal investigation regarding each applicant. Once the file is deposited in the DGM, the file will last between two (2) and five (5) months approximately, to deliver the provisional Residency card and the corresponding Dominican Identity Card for foreigners, or otherwise to reject The Residence application.

WORKAROUND

Adoption

Dominican law allows to adult foreign citizens to be adopted by Dominican citizens.

This process is ideal for all who doesn’t want to wait a couple years to get Residency and then Citizenship. The whole process can be done in 6 months. In compare with residency, the adopted individual doesn’t need to provide the criminal record a process can be started remotely without personal presence.

Adoptee can be as old as 60, but must be at least 15 years older than the adopted person. Price for whole process is US $35.000.