My Experience Of Moving To Santo Domingo "STAY FOOLISHLY ORGANIZED "

My motto here in DR is stay FOOLISHLY organized (sorry Steve for changing your quote lol), it says it all…

A few months ago I promised to share with you my experience of moving in Santo Domingo.
On 30th November 2017 I moved here from Italy and I am living with my wife (a Dominican citizen).
Due to marriage to a Dominican citizen, I could start the application process in order to get the temporary residency and the Dominican id (cedula) as well (reagrupación familiar por matrimonio/family reunification with a spouse).

However, the first step is to fill out the visa application form and submit it along with the required documents (Photos, Birth certificate, Marriage certificate, Criminal Records Certificate, etc…) to the Dominican Consulate in your country of origin. Everything must be apostilled or legalized and translated into Spanish. This visa issued for travellers whose intention is to establish in the Dominican Republic permanently. I’ve paid 500 euros (610 US$) for the visa application fees.
This topic has already been sufficiently covered in the Forum.
In my case, I got my Visa approved after almost 2 months….even if the processing time should be 15 days…After having checked my papers and the visa (e.g. name misspelling), I’ve finally booked my flight ticket to DR.

From the date of entry in Dominican Republic, the Visa will expiry in 2 months and it is valid only for one entry, YOU CANNOT RE-ENTRY THE COUNTRY WITH THIS VISA.
Once in Las Americas International Airport, you can go directly through passport control, you do not need to purchase a tourist card.

IMPORTANT: Within 30 days of his/her arrival in the Dominican Republic, the applicant must go to the Immigration Department with his/her passport to sign application forms, register fingerprints and undergo the required medical tests.

TIEMPO (period)    TARIFA VIGENTE (Amount)
DE 1 A 4 MESES    RD$ 5,000.00
DE 4 A 5 MESES    RD$ 6,000.00
DE 5 A 6 MESES    RD$ 7,000.00
DE 6 A 7 MESES    RD$ 8,000.00
DE 7 A 8 MESES    RD$ 9,000.00
DE 8 A 9 MESES    RD$ 10,000.00
DE 9 A 10 MESES    RD$ 11,000.00
DE 10 A 11 MESES    RD$ 12,000.00
DE 11 A 12 MESES    RD$ 13,000.00

I completed the whole process without the aid of an attorney, let’s start from the beginning.
The first thing I did was opening a bank account. This is one of those tasks that needs to be done as soon as you can (remember the visa will expire).
This process took me around 2 weeks. I attempted to open a savings account (with debit card) in Banco Popular (Sambil Mall) with the help of my wife, she also has an account in Popular.
This is what I brought in order to open the account in Popular:
Passport, Italian ID, Driving Licence (originals and copies);
3 months bank statements from my Italian Bank;
1 Reference letter from my Italian Bank;
1 Reference letter from Dominican person and client of the bank (my wife)
Apartment rental receipt (My wife was already renting an apartment before my arrival, however it is enough to show a mobile phone contract or a electricity bill in your name).
Letter from Employer (My ex-employer in Italy)
Proof of income?????

However, I had no proof of income since I was just arrived in Santo Domingo (I went straight to the bank the day after my arrival). After submitting all my papers, the bank consultant told me that he would have called me once my request will be approved… I already knew how it would end LOL
After 2 weeks, as expected, nobody called me. So, I went to Banesco Bank (always in Sambil Mall) and there I could open a bank account in just 4 days. Why did it seem too good to be true?
Because there are few Banesco ATM Points in Santo Domingo (unlike Banreservas, Banco Popular, BHD Leon, etc…). I live near a Banesco Branch, so no problem at all. De todos modos, be always careful and check Google Maps to find nearby ATMs of your Bank before opening a bank account.
Once I had my bank account, I’ve printed a Bank Statement (estado de cuenta, it’s free) and a Reference Letter addressed to Immigration Office (Carta consular, 200 pesos, sounds more official) in order to use them in the Immigration Office. Given that I have no pension (only 31 years old, still have a long way to go LOL), I am not an investor and I do not own a property here in DR, I’ve used the Carta Consular with my savings as a proof of solvency (Minimum balance accepted is 100.000 pesos, around 2057 US$).
The next step is to create an account in the DGM Webiste. … nUrl=%2FMy  (The English version does not work properly LOL).
Once you are on DGM website, click on “SERVICIOS” (Services), then click “SOLICITUDES DE RESIDENCIA” (residency applications). Click “SOLICITUD DE RESIDENCIA TEMPORAL (Application for temporary residence), and in the end click “SOLICITAR EN LINEA (Apply Online). This will bring you to the Account creation page. Click “CREAR UNA CUENTA” (Create an Account). Be careful with all the information such as address, telephone number, passport number, etc… everything must be correct.
If you do not create an account in this website, you cannot request the temporary residency. Do not use strange nicknames like Tony Montana or Captain America LOL just use your own names and surnames.
After your registration, you will upload all your documents that you did previously in the Dominican Consulate in your country of origin plus some documents you will do here (Dominican Bank Reference Letter showing a minimum amount of 100.000 pesos, Dominican Bank Statement, etc…).
Documents MUST BE in JPG format, otherwise you will not be able to upload them in the DGM website. Once you upload everything, in one day the system will check your files and you will receive an email containing the status of your application (complete, incomplete, some documents missing, etc…). However, the website is not very intuitive so do not get desperate, navigate it with a Dominican friend or a person who can understand Spanish (I’ve uploaded my documents 5 times before receiving my receipt LOL).
If your application is complete, the day after your submission you will see a receipt that you have to print and bring with you to Immigration Office along with other documents.

IMPORTANT: DON’T GO TO IMMIGRATION OFFICES WITHOUT THIS RECEIPT. You will wait in line for 3-4 hours for no reason and they will tell you that you cannot start the residency application.
Then, the next step is to buy 1 insurance policy that covers all deportation expenses (Seguro de Garantía Migratoria) in case you come here to import cocaine to the United States LOL, just joking (btw Insurance is one of the requisites). “Law No. 285-04 mandates that residency applicants must obtain local insurance to cover medical and repatriation expenses.”
You can pay it in cash or by credit card. Personally, I went to a Seguro Patria Branch and I’ve paid 5462,50 pesos (112 US$). Remember to ask them to send a scanned copy of the contract to your email. You will need it ;-)
Here is the website of Seguro Patria

Another step is to go Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores or MIREX (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to legalize your Birth Certificate and your Criminal Records Certificate. Obviously, you have to bring your original certificates (e.g. in English) plus the translations into spanish done by the Consulate. The cost of the service is 620 pesos for each certificate (1240 pesos = 25 US$).
I discovered this issue at my own expense. When I was uploading my Birth Certificate and my Criminal Records Certificate the system sent me an email stating that these 2 certificates must to be apostilled by Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MIREX). So, do not waste your time like me and go directly to the MIREX.

Another suggestion: do not just upload the Spanish translation of your documents (only the translated ones by the Consulate). You must upload also the versions in your own language (where applies) otherwise the system will reject your application.

Then, you have to provide to DGM 8 passport photos size (4 Right Side and 4 Frontal Photos with white background). Photographer charged me 200 pesos (4 US$).
IMPORTANT: Even in this case, remember to ask to the photographer to take you 1 frontal photo and 1 right side photo and to send them to your email. My photographer used his mobile and my photos were uploaded successfully LOL
In the DGM website you have to upload 1 frontal photo and 1 right photo to your application. Save the physical ones for the day of the appointment in Immigration Offices.

SUGGESTION: create a folder on your computer where to store all the JPG Files. Moreover, divide the physical copies of your papers (passport copies, visa copies, birth certificate copies from the original ones). Buy some folders and manage your documents accurately, do not expect Immigration Officials to wait for you while you are looking for your passport copy in the middle of 10000 papers LOL
I tell you this because I saw many expats doing this mistake. You know what happened? Officials got impatient and asked them to sit down again and revise their papers…and so they lost their places.

Remember the title of my post: “STAY FOOLISHLY ORGANIZED” and you will be fine. Do not expect employees there to make photocopies for you. If you only forget 1 PHOTOCOPY you have to go out from the building, make the photocopy and stay in line 2 times for nothing.
No, it’s not a joke LOL I saw this happening to some guys there…

So, assuming that you already upload all your documents and that you have your confirmation receipt from the DGM Website, these are the documents (original and copies) that you have to provide in order to apply for your temporary residence (if you just miss a copy you will pay a presidente for all the forum users LOL):

1)    Original Passport and 2 copies of the data page (not one, I said 2 copies LOL)
2)    Two copies of the Visa issued by the Dominican Consulate
3)    Birth Certificate (with Mirex Legalization) and two copies
4)    Criminal Records Certificate (with Mirex Legalization) and two copies
5)    Medical certificate and 1 copy
6)    8 passport size photos
7)    Original and 1 copy of the Poliza de Garantia Migratoria
8)    1 Copy of the Receipt of the DGM Webiste
9)    2 copies of your last entry in the DR
10)    A full copy of your passport pages, yes until the last  page LOL (excluding the data page, the visa and the last entry that you have to keep separately)
11)    Marriage Certificate and 1 copy of spouse cedula (I am married to a Dominican citizen remember? LOL)
12)    Bank Statement with at least 100.000 pesos (estado de cuenta) and 1 copy
13)    Bank Reference Letter addressed to Immigration Office (Carta consular) and 1 copy
14)    You have to pay exactly 14500 pesos in cash (4500 pesos are for the medical exams) for the immigration services (around 298 US$)

Here you can check the fees


RD$ 10,000.00
RD$ 4,500.00
RD$ 3,000.00
RD$ 5,000.00
PAGO DE ESTADÍA                                           
RD$ 500.00
RD$ 5,000.00

Of course, depending on the situation, you may be required to support your application with more documents…Fortunately for me these were enough for them LOL and please do not use the VIP service with the hope to receive sooner your residency…it does not work here aahahahaha

After 4 hours of waiting LOL they called me and they gave me a printed confirmation signed by an Official listing all the documents I’ve submitted (Formulario de expedientes para proceso de evaluacion), keep this receipt in a safe place as it is the only proof you have to show to authorities or prospective employers or whatever that you had already apply for the temporary residence. Once you will receive your Dominican ID (Cedula) you can trash it.

Upon approval of application as a resident, the applicant will receive a temporary residency card and a cédula de identidad (national I.D.). However you must hold current passports at all times.
They told me that I have to wait until 90 days before seeing any sign of life of my application LOL anyway, you can check your application status by entering your account in the DGM Website, click mi pagina (my page) and then click aplicaciones (applications). If everything goes smoothly, my residency will be ready around March…

However, after this process, I went out from the building and I walked straight to the clinic which is very near to the Immigration Office. Once there, you will show them the 14500 pesos receipt along with your passport and you will undergo the required medical tests (urine, chest x-ray, blood test including HIV Test).

I completed the whole process alone in 28 days, 2 days before the limit LOL Currently I am waiting for my cedula to be processed, but I can confirm that it is possible to find a job without it but you have to prove your legal status in DR (for this reason keep the receipt of the submitted documents in a safe place and also make some photocopies).

IMPORTANT: It is illegal for non-residents to work in the DR. Employers of non-resident workers will be subject to fines. Illegal workers are subject to deportation. Be careful…
Anyway, after 1 month here I have found a job. Currently I prepare and revise inventories for an important Dominican E-commerce importing good from the US to DR.

Well, that’s all Folks! LoL I hope that my post will be useful for you and I apologise for any mistakes in my English.

Que tengan un buen día!!

Stay FOOLISHLY organized my Friends!!


Elia86 this is a great post, thank you so much. I am about to apply for my visa before moving to DR and your post is very very helpful.
I am afraid of the whole process but you have laid eveything out very clearly so thank you.

@aimeegrace You are welcome! Be careful to obtain all documents as described in the checklist. Do not expect any kind of support (e.g. asking for a photocopy) and always think ahead. Suerte!  :)

That is the most in depth post I have ever seen about the process.

Thank you.

Read this and decide if you are prepared to do all of this alone or hire a lawyer! You will still do some of it, but the lawyer will do the bulk of it.

Hi Planner, thank you so much for your comment. Here in DR small details make the difference and help foreigners like us to overcome the labyrinth of the local government offices and bureaucracy. You always need documents to obtain other documents and the laws are frequently incomprehensible. At offices and banks, there are often long lines of confused dominicans and foreigners hoping that they’re in the right place and the right line for the document required :lol:
However, I got my dominican ID and soon I will prepare another post about my nightmare time trying to open a savings account (with Popular).
Like before, I will provide as much details as possible.
Saludos :D

A good lawyer, is costly, however,    can prevent mucho dolor in cualo (pain in the ass.) I can't spell in Spanish either. Using a good one will allelviate much of the line standing you would endure. Still not a rapid or easy thing to do.  ALL the documents Must be perfect & complete. Pay the tolls & avoid the mental drain that the process shall incur. Twenty years ago the process was simpler, faster & much cheaper.  The price is worth the peace of mind. Welcome to the life here.  Most of my typos & spelling errors are due to my handicao..........'t see shit!  If I could control it, I would apologize,  I can't. so won't............

No worries on the spelling, we understand.

A lawyer does not have to be expensive to be good. And often the most expensive are not good at all!

Elia I relate to everything you post. One day I will find the time to post about opening a corporation!!! Or opening a corporate account at banco popular!

One more point, the rules and laws we read today may in fact have changed by tomorrow. OR may not be written at all?!!  Not sure how anyone is supposed to keep up!   :/

Moreover, when it comes to opening a bank account here, foreigners often get frustrated. For example, Popular requires several documents and when you submit all, the application is subject to evaluation by the bank (fase de depuración). In Popular it takes around 10 business days (usually more) to get a response that can be also negative (wasted time...). On Friday 31th August I applied for a savings account and I am still waiting to hear back in regard to my application. Do not rely on bank's call center, chat assistance, email or whatever...they are not trained properly (Once they told me that I can open a bank account with just my passport...maybe before but not now for sure) and they cannot access your application to check the status. So, you have to go to your bank personally and stand in line for hours just to know what is happening with your application :mad: If you have a friend working at a bank branch, he/she can help you faster. I already have a savings account in Banesco but my current employer deals only with well-known banks like Banreservas, BHD León, Popular, etc... I still do not understand this kind of discrimination among banks here :D
As always, being well-connected people makes the difference ;)

It helps to be connected. My company does work for Banco Popular. One day they said we HAD to have a Banco Popular account as they would not longer be issuing checks to pay us.

Its easy the guy said!  Really.  Clearly he has never opened a corporate bank account. It took every corporate document I have,  plus all my personal info. THEN I had to justify opening it.... really people????   Then this guy thinks it will take  3 days. The lady helping us laughed in his face!  She called him an idiot in front of us and said it  was MINIMUM 15 working days. 

Well it took  5 weeks to get that account open!

Any easier opening a DBA account?

Nope same process same hassle same pain in the....

We'll, my wife and I are at the very beginning of this process.  Our Resident Visa applications were FedEx'd to the Consulate in Toronto.  Strangely, the Embassy in Ottawa offers this service, but more than double the processing fee for the application itself.  $90 US at the Consulate, and $200 US at the Embassy, even though we are in Canada.  What a world we live in!  We are told things should go smoothly, and have a reputable lawyer in Sosua who is assisting us in this, and our property purchase.  Less than a month till we move, so needless to say, we are excited.

I imagine you are excited. Keep us posted on your progress! Fingers crossed all goes smooth.

None too soon Uncle, you & Aunty have been away for too long. Meet up time!

Can't wait...

Hi Elia,
Thank you for this detail information
But it seems so complicated... how many years can you stay in the country with the temporary resident? is worthy to pass through that long process? I thought it was better to get ¨la nacionalidad¨ by being married.

I'm Dominican, but my husband is Spanish and we want to go next year for 1 year... OMG  I don´t know why everything there is so complicated :(

Hi Carmen, thanks for your comment. Unless your husband qualifies as a pensionado, a rentista, or an investor, he'll have to complete the application for temporary residency and renew this residency each year for five years before he can apply for permanent residency. After two years of permanent residency here, he can apply for citizenship. Is it worthy or not passing through this process? It my case I would say it was worthy because I am planning to live here permanently. As you wrote, you just want to stay here 1, I would not opt for the residency because definitely it has no sense to start this time-consuming procedure for living here only 1 year. If I am not wrong, your husband can stay here until 30 days and then pay a fee at Immigration and renew the tourist visa for an additional 30 days (this is how it works for Italian citizens). Anyway, try to seek advice from an attorney or a more experienced and reliable expat in order to avoid the residency process. Suerte!

Thank you so much for your advice!!! I really appreciate it :)
Best of lucks for you too!!!!

That info is incorrect...  he qualifies by marriage. You still do residency but it is family reunification.

Once he has residency he can apply for citizenship after 6 months.

planner :

That info is incorrect...  he qualifies by marriage. You still do residency but it is family reunification.

Once he has residency he can apply for citizenship after 6 months.

Oh! Ok, and if my husband earns 2.000 USD a month he can also apply for residency as well? do you know this process? We are just leaving for 1 year, and all seems to be so complicated, I don´t want to do anything like illegal... Thank you Planner

He can apply for residency either way but must start the process before he leaves.  There is a pinned thread regarding residencia, make sure to read it.

Thank you Planner, Do you know the process to open a company (a lil one) in DR? I read you had information about it :) it can help me a lot, no matter if it is specifically for the recovery centres as some of the information can be valid for all kind of business I guess

Yes honey I do. I will send you a private message.

planner :

Yes honey I do. I will send you a private message.

Thank you very much!!!! :)

You are welcome.

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