Are you planning to retire in the Dominican Republic? Here are some tips to guide you with related procedures.
If the time has come for you to retire, you might be considering to move to a foreign country like many other have done before. Over the years, the Dominican Republic has proved to be an ideal destination for expatriates worldwide for various reasons. Some of these are the warm and pleasant climate and the rich and colorful environment along with a peaceful lifestyle and a stable economy. As a foreign retiree, you can also enjoy various benefits, provided you meet the conditions set by local authorities and you fill all related formalities.
Good to know:
To retire in the Dominican Republic, it is not necessary for foreign nationals to have reached retirement age in their home country, as per the 171-07 Law regarding retirement.
To be eligible to retirement in the country, you should be financially stable regularly, that is:
- receiving a government or private pension or
- an independent investment income (dividends or interest) of at least US$ 2, 000 (or the equivalent) per month.
As regards the benefits available for foreign retirees, these are as follows:
- tax exemptions on importing your household goods
- tax exemptions on real estate transfers
- tax exemption on motor vehicles
- 50% reduction on annual property taxes.
On the other hand, the cost of living in the Dominican Republic is quite low compared to that of many European countries. Moreover, the country remains very accessible worldwide thanks to its seven international airports. Finally, the country enjoys a warm climate all year long, expect from May to June and from October to November which are the two rainy months.
Become a resident
Until now, you do not require a resident permit to be allowed to retire in the Dominican Republic. But local authorities are currently addressing this issue and the outcome should be made public in due time. In the meantime, you can inquire on related procedures with the Dominican embassy or consulate in your home country or refer to the article “Visas for the Dominican Republic”.
Once you are in the country, you are required to report to the Immigration Office which is found in Santo Domingo where a temporary resident permit will be issued to you. This permit will be valid for a year and can be renewed three times. Thereafter, you will obtain a permanent resident permit which will have to be renewed every four years, as well as a resident card, known as the Cedula.
In case you do not want to get involved in these procedures, you can purchase a tourist card for US$ 10. This card is valid for a maximum of 30 days. Once it has expired, it can be renewed for a maximum of 60 days. You can as well renew it for a 90 days additional period. Note, however, that you will have to pay a fine on your departure at the airport.
You are advised to learn Spanish before moving to the Dominican Republic as you are less likely to find English speakers, unless you come across expats. Learning Spanish will therefore help you adapt to the society and better communicate with people around you.
Most expatriates in the Dominican Republic have settled in the North. In fact, Puerto Plata, Sosua and Cabarete are the most popular cities with foreigners. There, you will find many international restaurants, as well as supermarkets which provide imported products. Bavaro and Punta Cana, which are in the East, are deemed to be tourist regions thanks to the presence of the Punta Cana International Airport. From there, you can easily travel to the North as well.
Santo Domingo, which is the country's capital city, and Santiago, the second biggest city, also host a large number of expatriates. However, you are more likely to find foreign professionals than retirees there. Santiago, for its part, is close to quality medical infrastructures. You can as well turn to Samana, Las Terranas, which are in the North-east and famous for their beautiful beaches, and Jarabacao, nearer to the center and surrounded by mountains.
Once you have moved to the country, you can start by renting a housing unit. Make sure to choose the one which best suits your needs according to your family situation and your budget. Note that you are required to pay a deposit which is equal to three months rent, as well as the first month's rent, in case you haven't gone through a real estate agency.
In case you are searching for accommodation from abroad, it is best to hire a real estate agent in order to get an appropriate housing unit, even if it involves additional charges.
Good to know:
It is recommended that you subscribe to a health insurance before moving to the Dominican Republic. This will help you, particularly in case you need health care which can be quite expensive for foreigners.
Moreover, consider purchasing a generator before moving in your new home as the local power supply is known for being capricious.
Finally, you are advised to be very careful on Dominican roads, whether you are driving or walking, during the day or at night.