12 Feb VISAS AND RESIDENCE’S PERMITS IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Due to a judgment by the Constitutional Court, all aspects regarding visa and immigration status in the Dominican Republic have changed and the scattered immigration regulations have beginning to merge in one single legal body, regulated by one public office: “Dirección General de Migración” the General Immigration Office.
The procedure for obtaining resident status in the Dominican Republic is established by Law 258-04 and article 48 of the Guidelines No. 631-11. This procedure is divided in a two steps process (visa and residence application) and takes approximately 4-5 months to be completed, depending on the workload of the agencies involved.
Taking into consideration all the above, and before any step is taken on any migratory procedure, it is advisable to define which is the purpose of the planed immigration to Dominican Republic. Depending on the last, the procedure shall start accordingly.
Before beginning to describe the overall process, it is important to know that there are many advantages for a foreigner to become a Legal Resident, such as: working legally inside the Dominican Republic, opening bank accounts, enjoy retirement from a special retiree status, apply for a driver’s license and enjoy applicable customs facilities.
Let’s begin with the visa application step.
Once a foreigner is ready to begin the regularization of his migratory status, the applicant needs to obtain at the Dominican Consulate of last jurisdiction a type of visa depending on the residence that will eventually be applied for.
Whether the solicitor got married with a Dominican Citizen, a work contract is reached with a Dominican-based company or there are plans to invest in the Dominican Republic, among other reasons, the person will need to apply for a specific type of visa, depending on the above. A Visa of Residence and a Business Visa for work purposes are the most common visas to start a residence process.
Visa of Residence and Business Visa
The Visa of Residence is valid for one entry within 60 days of issue. Once in the Dominican Republic, the beneficiary of this visa must visit the Immigration Office within the 60 day period to apply for a provisional residence permit and complete additional requirements.
The Business Visa for work purposes is issued to those who by nature of their occupation will remain in the Dominican Republic for a year without necessarily having to leave the country. This visa is usually awarded to individuals who are fulfilling fixed-term contracts in public or private companies established in the country and may be renewed for further periods of one year while the employment contract is still valid.
Since the moment the visa is issued at the Dominican Consulate and the foreigner enters the country, the process must be completed from start to finish at the Immigration Office.
There are two processes in which one foreign applicant should apply for his/her residence permit: the normal application process and the investment residence process. The difference between these two, is that in the first, the applicant must be supported by a Dominican or Foreign Permanent Resident guarantor, and the second, the applicant must be an employee of a company, foreign or domestic, that have invested and registered in the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic an amount of US$200,000.00 or more; have a public or private investment with the Dominican Government; and/or, operations in free zones parks, and the second must present personal economic solvency, among other documents.
Requirements for applying for a Residence’s Permit are among the following:
- Application form.
- Original Birth Certificate with original translation in Spanish by an authorized interpreter. Certified by the Dominican Consul in the last jurisdiction.
- Marriage certificate with original translation in Spanish by an authorized interpreter. Certified by the Dominican Consul in the last jurisdiction.
- 2 x 2 photos.
- A fresh-issued non-delinquency certificate from your country of domicile certified by the Dominican Consul there, with an original translation to Spanish by an authorized interpreter.
- Affidavit regarding the solvency of the guarantor backed by evidence of solvency such as bank deposits, property titles, etc.
- Passport’s stamped visa of each applicant.
- One (1) set of photocopies of the passport. From the first page to the last page.
As stated in the official requirements, a physical examination performed in a designated private clinic, is mandatory as well.
When all the documents are filed, the Immigration Office will send the file to the proper authorities, to investigate is there any criminal background of each applicant.
If the investigation resulted without any anomalies, the file is returned to the Immigration Office and a certification is issued to obtain the Dominican national identity document known as “Cédula” and the residence’s permit card for every applicant, issued for 1 year.
Notwithstanding foreign citizens can perform certain aspects of everyday life inside the Dominican Republic, from the moment a foreigner immerse himself and demand public and private services, a regularization of its legal status must be fulfilled, because there will be situations in which he or she will not be able to receive these services due to its irregular migratory status.
Finally, because Dominican immigration is based on a very complex system of regulations which change often and each person has a different set of circumstances, to complete a stress-free and successful process, the assistance of an experienced and reputable law firm is advisable.