Residency and Citizenship in the Dominican Republic.

There are many advantages to getting residency in the Dominican Republic. A resident can work and do business in the Dominican Republic, whereas a non-resident cannot do so legally. Being a resident also facilitates a number of business transactions in the DR, including obtaining bank loans and applying for credit. Additionally, residents don’t have to post a bond (usually quite high) in court when they decide to sue in the Dominican Republic, while a non-resident is required to do so.

A resident can enter the Dominican Republic without having to buy a tourist card; a non-resident must obtain a visa or buy a tourist card that costs US$10.

Residency also affects inheritances. Non-resident beneficiaries must pay a 50% surcharge on estate taxes.

A resident is allowed to bring in their household items, ranging from kitchen appliances to furniture, tax-free and can import a vehicle with tax exemption.

In addition, residents don’t need to purchase a return ticket when traveling to the DR.

As a resident you can obtain a valid Dominican driver’s license so that your insurance plan will cover you if you are involved in a traffic accident, as foreign driver’s licenses are only valid for the first 90 days.

Educationally, being a resident has great advantages. As a resident you can go to any Dominican school or university and pay in pesos, greatly reducing the cost of a quality education. International students pay tuition fees in dollars, while residents and citizens pay in pesos.

There are a few disadvantages to becoming a Dominican Resident. As a resident you are subject to income tax on worldwide income from investments abroad after the third year of residency in the country. However, this applies only to income from financial investments, not to income from other sources such as personal work. Of course, the resident will also pay income tax on Dominican income.

As for those inquiring about Dominican citizenship, you are entitled to citizenship by being the child of a Dominican citizen or through marriage. A foreign woman who marries a Dominican has the right to Dominican citizenship, though this does not work in reverse. A foreign man who marries a Dominican woman does not have an automatic right to Dominican citizenship.

For those who are not offspring of Dominicans or married to one, Law 1683 (dated 1948) and its modifications establishes that a person is eligible to obtain Dominican nationality after having resided in the country for at least six months after having obtained legal domicile (permanent residence card), having resided continually in the country for at least two years, having resided continually in the country for at least six months and having formed a business or purchased real estate, or having served in the Dominican Armed Forces. Also, a person can be granted citizenship if they’ve obtained a special concession from the President, which may be granted for having served the DR with merit.

Both the US and the Dominican Republic recognize dual citizenship. US jurisprudence establishes that US citizenship is only lost if the citizen expressly renounces his US citizenship. A Dominican who is also an American may vote in the US without fear of losing his/her Dominican citizenship.

US-born children who have a Dominican parent have the option of acquiring Dominican citizenship once they are 18 years old. The person would then be both an American and a Dominican.

Some restrictions do apply. For example a Dominican with another nationality cannot hold certain offices. Dominicans with an American passport are not eligible to be President or Vice President. Likewise, the US government will not recognize Dominicans with US citizenship as diplomats or consuls.