How to get citizenship in the Dominican Republic

Citizenship in the Dominican Republic
shutterstock.com
Updated 2024-04-15 14:14

Suppose you got tired of renewing your residence permit. In that case, you simply want to commit to the Dominican Republic on a more substantial level, or their citizenship gives you benefits over the one you already hold. Applying for it could become your next goal. In this article, we have been focusing on the advantages, disadvantages, and the necessary steps to take to obtain it. Of course, we have gathered some helpful tips and insights to make it easier for you. 

Although obtaining citizenship in the Dominican Republic has the significant advantage of not needing to renew your residence permit, there are also some disadvantages. Firstly, you must be a national of a country that allows dual citizenship.

The UK, USA, and Canada all do, but many don't, such as Austria, Japan, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, India, Poland, Chile, Netherlands, and Norway, to name a few.

Secondly, if you are a dual citizen and you get into trouble in the Dominican Republic, your home embassy won't help you. If you end up in jail in the Dominican Republic (DR) for whatever reason, you will be considered a Dominican citizen. Also, if you are not in your home country or the DR, you will be assumed to be a citizen of the closest country. So, if you go to Haiti and need help, you will have to go to the Dominican embassy and not the embassy of your home country, but if you are in Canada and you have American/Dominican citizenship, then you will be considered to be an American while in Canada.

Advantages of being a DR citizen

The advantages are that it is a one-off process, considerably cheaper than acquiring or renewing residency. As a citizen, you can vote and even hold political office, although you cannot become President or Vice President. You also pay lower tax rates, such as capital gains and inheritance tax; you can pay the Dominican rate for entering museums and other places of interest and get lower rates at hotels.

You can register with SeNaSa (Seguro Nacional de Salud) in order to get medical insurance, which is especially important for people over 60, as they might find it very troublesome to be accepted by an insurance company. Additionally, if you live in the Dominican Republic and do not have an employer, you can also benefit from the options given by SeNaSa. The insurance plan is called Larimar. With this plan, Senasa offers its voluntary members (individuals and families) an excellent quality/price ratio, with a wide catalog of more than 3,000 health services provided through a national network of nearly 8,000 doctors, clinics, laboratories, and private diagnosis centers.

Another perk that comes with having a country's citizenship is your right to participate actively in political things. More precisely, you have to right to vote. If you really want to be part of a country and its culture, this might be a pretty important detail for some, but as we have already mentioned before, you cannot become the next Dominican Republic president. Still, there are plenty of other political positions you can apply for. Mayor, maybe?

Also, you cannot be deported anymore after holding your Dominican citizenship for more than five years after you have committed a crime. Before that, you are always one step away from getting sent back to your home country if you fail in society – not that we want to encourage committing crimes here, but just as a bit of a side note.

Disadvantages of being a DR citizen

You might still be subject to taxation in your country of origin, as is the case in the United States. If you want to free yourself from this double burden, you would have to renounce your US citizenship. This would be a big step, though, as the passport's strength could negatively affect your freedom to move and travel worldwide. The Dominican passport definitely offers fewer travel options without requiring a specified visa than, for example, a European passport or one from the United States can open up for you.

The health system in the Dominican Republic likely won't be as good as in the United States or Europe, and getting insurance that provides you with first-class medical service can come at a costly rate, depending on what services you want and how old you are.

Who can become a Dominican Republic citizen?

There are different routes to citizenship:

  • If your father or mother is Dominican, even if you were born elsewhere;
  • If you have been married to a Dominican for 6 months and have had a residency for six months;
  • If you have had residence in the country for 2 years;
  • If you are an investor in the country (more than USD 200,000) and have had a residency for 6 months;
  • Citizenship by investment;
  • Adoptees of Dominican parents;
  • Foreign wives and minor children obtain automatic naturalization through the naturalization of their spouse without meeting residency requirements;
  • Persons who, at the discretion of the President, are deemed to have provided exceptional services to the nation.

How much does it cost?

Presently, the registration fee per applicant stands at USD 1,000. Additionally, there is a naturalization fee of USD 250, a passport fee of USD 60, and, in some cases, a stamp fee of USD 15 per applicant. It is a one-off process that never needs to be repeated.

What do I need to provide?

You need to provide the following list of items with four copies of each of them and hand them all to the Ministry of Interior and the Police in Santo Domingo. Please be aware that the list of requirements changes all the time, so you should check the Ministry website regularly. Also, on the website, you can find the application form to be downloaded and completed:

  • A letter asking to be a citizen to the government's Executive Committee via the Ministry of Interior and Police. This must be in Spanish;
  • Four recent photos 2×2 (inches);
  • Certificate of good conduct from the Procuraduria General. This can be obtained online at the cost of around USD 12;
  • Original birth certificate, translated into Spanish by a legal translator and apostilled, no more than six months old;
  • Original marriage certificate, if applied as married to a Dominican, legalized no more than 6 months prior. If married overseas, it needs to be apostilled and translated. You need to have been married for at least 6 months;
  • Receipt from a national newspaper for advertisement saying you are applying for citizenship. The cost is around USD 20;
  • A receipt for the application for naturalization (RD$1,500.00) plus the application form;
  • Color copy of all pages of the applicant's passport;
  • If you have a different nationality than that you were born with, a note as to why;
  • A copy of your residency card and a letter from the Migration office to say you have had a residency for 6 months if applying under the marriage route and two years for ordinary naturalization;
  • A report from the Migration department with all of your entries to and exits from the country;
  • A police report from your home country was apostilled and translated;
  • Notarized document signed by three Dominicans to state you live in the country;
  • Bank reference and statement of account;
  • Details of employment and/or pension;
  • For those applying under the marriage route:
    • Identity card (cedula) of husband/wife,
    • Bank and employment details of husband/wife,
    • Dominican police report for husband/wife;
  • For those applying under the investor/regular route:
    • Letter of guarantee from a Dominican national or resident,
    • Full details of the investment/company.

What is the process?

You hand in all of your documentation, and then checks are carried out with Interpol, the Drug Department (DNCD), and the National Investigation Department (DNI). Assuming there are no issues, you are then given a date for an interview, which will be in Spanish. Some 40 questions are provided beforehand, and around 15 are asked at the interview.

Finally, you are given the date to be sworn in as a citizen, after which you obtain a Dominican birth certificate, a Dominican identity card (cedula), and, should you require it, a Dominican passport.

Citizenship by investment in the DR

You can apply from outside the country and, if accepted, obtain your Dominican residency within 4 months or, the most extended, half a year.

You do not need physical residency in the country, nor will your language skills be examined. There are no restrictions on age, your education level, or your business and work experience. You do not even have to pass any sort of interview.

It is by far the cheapest program to obtain citizenship by investment anywhere in the world. The current costs are 100,000 USD. So, if you are thinking of applying, now might be the best time to avoid higher costs.

Who is eligible for citizenship by investment?

The investor program is defined by law in Section 101 of the Dominican Constitution and further in Section 8 and Amendment 20(1) of the Citizenship Act. People who are eligible according to the definition by law will be granted instant citizenship of the Dominican Republic. This act is called “naturalization” and is made official with a certification.

All regulations for this program are enforced by the CBIU (Citizenship by Investment Unit), which is part of the Ministry of Finances. They also decide who is eligible and who is not.

Requirements:

  • Applicant must be at least 18 years old;
  • Immigration requirements must be met;
  • Clean background check: You will only be accepted if you have outstanding character. To make sure only the most impeccable people are granted Dominican citizenship, the government has partnered up with a private investigating firm that follows a strict due diligence strategy to guarantee the new citizens' uprightness. So, people with a criminal record will not be granted citizenship. Also, your necessary funds must be in the country,
  • Sufficiently healthy: Possible future Dominican citizens should not have any contagious diseases or suffer from poor health conditions. You might want to get a doctor's examination done before applying,
  • Donation to a government fund or purchase of real estate: You are required to make a financial commitment of at least USD 100,000 as a government donation.

In order to get approval for a visa based on investment, you have two options in the Dominican Republic.

The first one is pretty obvious – buying property in the Dominican Republic. The property acquisition process for foreigners typically involves following the country's real estate laws and regulations, which may vary depending on the type and location of the property. Also, the property you are buying cannot just be any house, and it has to be governmentally approved! Another interesting fact is that you can sell the house through the citizenship by investment program if you have been the owner for at least five years. Additionally, fees for citizenship by investment programs in the Dominican Republic. The actual fees may vary depending on the specific program, and the number of family members included in the application.

It's crucial to verify the latest requirements and regulations related to property ownership and citizenship by investment in the Dominican Republic through official government sources or qualified legal advisors. Regulations may change over time, so it's essential to ensure that the information is up-to-date before making any decisions regarding property purchase or citizenship acquisition.

You can choose from many different real estate developments to invest in. Still, this one seems to be an exceptional opportunity, and CBIU-approved Cabrits Resort Kempinski by Range Developments.

Your second option is to make a donation of at least 100,000 USD to the Economic Diversification Fund. The obvious advantage over the real estate option is that you have to pay only half the price, and this comes with a downside as you will not see any returns on this investment, which really is only a payment. If your spouse also requires citizenship, you have to pay 150,000 USD, and with up to two children, 175,000 USD. Among the citizenship programs in the Caribbean, this is by far the cheapest option if you think about getting a new passport!

How to apply

  • Access the DGM services portal;
  • If you haven't registered yet, sign up for an account. If you've already registered, log in using your username and password;
  • Navigate to the "list of certifications" option among the available services. Select the specific certification you require and fill out the necessary information on the provided forms;
  • Ensure that any scanned documents you upload are in .jpg format, as required by the web application;
  • Make sure to bring the original documentation along with a complete set of photocopies when you present yourself to the DGM.

Useful links:

Ministry of Interior and Police

ARS SeNaSa – Seguro Nacional de Salud

Migration in the Dominican Republic

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.