How (and why) to get your residency status in the Dominican Republic

Foreigners can fast-track their residency and qualify for big financial benefits.


Incentives & Benefits

Even if you don’t live in the country full time, you can easily get your residency status and enjoy the many benefits that come with it.

If you’re looking for an affordable island lifestyle, it’s hard to beat the Dominican Republic.

First off, it’s one of the best places in the world to invest in an income property. Not only is demand growing, the property market is undervalued.

And another reason?

The DR’s fantastic approach to residency for foreigners.

The government wants to attract foreigners and foreign investment, so has laid out the red carpet.

The DR has laid out the red carpet for foreigners in order to attract new investment and encourage growth.

The Many Benefits to Getting Your Residency Status

As a foreign national staying in the country for an extended period, you can get your legal residency status.

And when you have your residency status, you get access to a number of benefits.

  • A more favorable tax structure
  • Enter the country without the need to buy a $10 tourist visa upon arrival.
  • Avoid the 50% surcharge on estate taxes.
  • Bring in your household items tax free. So kitchen appliances, furniture, etc.
  • Don’t pay an import tax if you bring in a vehicle.
  • Residents can travel without a round-trip ticket
  • Get a full Dominican driver’s license (foreign driver’s licenses are only valid for 90 days). With a full DR license, your insurance plan will cover you after a traffic accident.
  • Attend any Dominican school or university and pay in pesos instead of dollars (International students pay tuition fees in dollars).
  • Work and do business in the Dominican Republic
  • Facilitate many business transactions in the DR, including geting bank loans and applying for credit.

Fast Track Your Residency Status as a Foreign Investor

If you qualify as a foreign investor, you can skip the temporary residency stage (see below) and instead apply directly for pemanent residency.

This means you don’t have to wait the usual five years!

So what’s a foreign investor?

The Dominican Republic is looking for 3 different types of investors:

  • Pensioner or Retiree: With a fixed monthly retirement income, pension or annuity of at least $1,500 monthly. For each additonal applicant per family, you’ll need an additional US$250.
  • Independent Rental Investor: If you’ve got at least US$2,000 of monthly income from any investment abroad or non salaried source abroad (so bank account interest, brokerage accounts, rental income, royalties, etc.).
  • Lump Sum Investor: Prove you’ve made a local investment in the DR of at least US$200,000 in local financial instruments, real estate, business enterprise, etc.

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Getting Your Residency Status

Step 1: Get Your Temporary Residency

Typically, the first step is to apply for temporary residency status. After some initial paperwork, you’ll get yoru status in 6 to 8 months.

With your temporary residency status, you can legally live and work in the Dominican Republic. As a bonus, you don’t need to purchase a tourist card to enter the country.

Once granted, your temporary residency is valid for one year.

Step 2: Renew Your Temporary Residency Annually for Up to 5 Years

After a year, you can renew your temporary permit for another year. The process is easier this time around than for the first application.

Step 3: Get Your Permanent Residency

After five years as a temporary resident you’ll be able to change your status to permanent.

Step 4: Apply for Naturalization

After 2 years as a permanent resident, you can apply for naturalization. The naturalization process can take less than a year.

Maintaining Your Residency Status

If you’ve got permanent residency status, you need to return to the DR every 4 years to renew.

For temporary residency, you need to renew each year for the first four years. If you don’t renew on time, you can still renew, but will need to pay a fine when you do.

Check out these other useful resources

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Guide: Healthcare
Guide: Buying Property