Visas for the Dominican Republic

Updated 2022-04-22 12:19

When thinking of moving to the Dominican Republic, there are plenty of different types of visas depending on your personal circumstances, how long you plan on staying, and the purpose of your visit. The visa type you need, the requirements, and the costs can change from time to time, so it is recommended to check before you head to the DR.

Most expats come to the Dominican Republic first to carry out due diligence and later decide if this really is a country for them to live in. If so, in what corner of the DR do they want to set up their tent? First-time visitors usually stay for a couple of weeks and this does not require a visa for most people, but only a tourist card that you can get upon arrival at the airport.

Tourist card

The tourist card costs US$10. The majority of people will need a tourist card on top of their passport unless their country of origin is Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Israel, Japan, Peru, South Korea, or Uruguay, in which case you can enter without one. As long as you can legally enter the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, or Canada, among others, you can enter the Dominican Republic with just a tourist card and a passport.

The tourist card can be used up to a year after purchase and is valid for stays of up to 30 days as a tourist but does not allow working. The most common way to buy it is at the airport or port when entering the country, but it is also available at Dominican embassies and consulates abroad. The Dominican government is currently trying to ensure the tourist card is always included in the airline ticket or holiday price, but this hasn't yet been implemented.

When you leave the country, you will be charged an exit fee if you remain longer than 30 days. Usually, the amount is determined by the length of time overstayed, and it is paid at the departure airport or port's Immigration counter. Click here for the tariff list. There is no question that many people come to the Dominican Republic knowing they will stay much longer and simply pay the overstay fee. However, there are signs that this is being cracked down on, and those planning to stay significantly longer should look into acquiring residency prior to arrival.

If you come from one of the countries which do not qualify for a tourist card, a list of which can be found here, you will need to apply for a Tourist Visa which is issued by the local Dominican consulate.

Residency Visa

The Dominican Republic requires you to apply for residency if you decide to live there. There was a time when people could live in the country without becoming a permanent residents, but new immigration policies have made residency more or less mandatory for the following reasons:

  • Without residency, you cannot obtain a Dominican identity card, called a cedula.
  • You need a cedula to apply for a Dominican driving license ' foreign or international permits are only valid for 90 days.
  • You need a cedula to be able to have a mobile phone contract, open a bank account, have car insurance, and in some cases, purchase health insurance.
  • If you are found working in the country without residency, you can be deported.

You will need to begin in your home country at the Dominican Consulate for the residency application process. To begin, you must apply for a resident visa in your country. Following its issue by your local consulate, you have 60 days to apply for your initial residency in the Dominican Republic at the Migration office there. A residency visa is not granted to just anyone, and if you want one, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a link to the Dominican Republic. This will include having a home in the DR, being Dominican, having Dominican children, or being married to a Dominican.
  • Receive a pension of at least US$1,500 a month
  • Receive a rental income of at least USD$2,000 a month
  • Be prepared to invest at least US$200,000 in the Dominican Republic, which could be buying a business or a property
  • Have a work contract for a job in the Dominican Republic

If you cannot satisfy one of the above, it is unlikely you will be able to obtain a Residency Visa and become a resident of the Dominican Republic.

However, there are other visas for those wishing to come to the Dominican Republic if you do not qualify for a residency visa. These include a Business Visa for those wishing to come and conduct business in the country, and they last for 60 days but can be extended for up to a year with multiple entries up to two months at a time. The government also offers student visas, which last for a year and can be renewed for the study duration. For those coming to the Dominican Republic to work, work visas last a year, and these are renewable. Diplomats can obtain diplomatic visas for entry into the country. The Dependent Visa is available for spouses and dependents of students, workers, diplomats, and business travelers.

Visas for all of these countries are available at your local Dominican Consulate.


Applicants for visas from the Dominican Republic, excluding the Tourist Card, must submit several pieces of documentation. These are listed on the Consulate websites detailed at the end of this article. The requirements do change from time to time and vary depending on the visa required, so they are worth checking before you apply. The general requirements are as follows:

  • Your passport should be valid at least up to the date you are expecting to return home.
  • Passport-size color photo with a white background, hair off the face, and not wearing earrings.
  • Birth and marriage certificates. These should be the long-form in countries where they also issue abridged versions, should be issued within the previous six months, apostilled, or legalized in those countries which are not signatories to the Hague Convention (such as Canada) and translated into Spanish. The translation should also be legalized.
  • Your General Practitioner can issue a medical certificate and must certify that you have no contagious diseases. This should also be translated into Spanish.
  • A Criminal Record Check from your home country should be apostilled and translated into Spanish.
  • Proof of income can be bank statements or a letter from the bank, rental agreements, or a pension letter.
  • A copy of your local identity cards such as passport, driving license, or residency card.
  • If any visa request involves minors traveling alone, the authorizations of both parents or legal guardians must be provided in a notarized document with their signatures. It should also be translated into Spanish.
  • Most visa requests require a letter in Spanish, addressed to the Consular Section, including your name, address, nationality, occupation, and reason for visiting the Dominican Republic.
  • If you request work or student visa, you will also need a letter from the employer or university confirming your position.
  • You will need a guarantee letter for those asking for a residency visa. This must be written and signed by a Dominican or a foreigner who has Dominican Republic residency. The letter must specify your relationship and the willingness of the guarantor to meet any deportation expenses should you violate the Dominican law. It must also be signed and stamped by a Dominican notary.

Getting a Dominican residency visa can be complicated, especially if you don't speak Spanish, so most people hire a Dominican immigration lawyer to make the process easier. Consulates will always offer to translate documents into Spanish for you, but be aware that they are substantially more expensive than having them done by someone other than the Consulate.

Useful links:

Ministry of Tourism

Embassy of the Dominican Republic in the UK

Embassy of the Dominican Republic in the US

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