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SOVEREIGN MAN

Acquiring Citizenship in the Dominican Republic

April 26, 2010
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

For most people, there are really only three reasons for going to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic:

The first is to transit to some other, ‘nice’, part of the country.

The second is for sex tourism, which is in incalculable abundance here for both men and women.

The third is to establish residency in the hopes of eventually obtaining a passport from the Dominican Republic.

I’ve spent the last few days here investigating the third.

Local law states that a foreign person may become a naturalized citizen of the Dominican Republic after continuous residence for two years. Obtaining residency, the first requirement, is a fairly straightforward process which the local bureaucrats have been dealing with for years.

Applicants must fill out several forms, provide a letter of guarantee (usually from your immigration lawyer), a police record, health certificate, evidence of financial health, and a few other odds and ends.

3-4 months after filing the application, a provisional residence is granted that lasts for one year. After the first year, the applicant may request permanent residence… which isn’t exactly ‘permanent’ since it must be renewed every three years.

The fast-track investment program to obtain residency in the Dominican Republic is to contribute a minimum of US $200,000 towards certain real estate, financial assets, or local companies.

Officially, once initial residency is approved, it takes two-years of residency in the country before you can apply for naturalization.

While the law is technically unclear, most people are granted citizenship without actually being present in the country for that two-year period. In fact, many applicants only show up twice– first to apply for provisional residency, and second to apply for permanent residency.

After the two year timeline, it can take up to another two years to obtain the President’s signature for naturalization, get published in the ‘Gaceta Oficial’, and be issued a passport.

Unofficially, there is no shortage of bureaucrats working within the government offices that, for a fee, is willing to backdate residency permits and issue a passport within 3-6 months.

This practice has become so widespread and without any discretion whatsoever that the value of Dominican Republic citizenship has eroded substantially.

Passport holders now have heavy visa requirements all over the world, even including countries like Aruba, Jamaica, (oooo I wanna take you), Bermuda, Bahamas… seriously, it’s not just the song. Dominicans care barely go see their Caribbean neighbors, so forget about Mexico, Brazil, the US and EU.

I wanted to address this issue because so many people have asked me about the Dominican Republic; here’s the bottom line:

Taking steps towards Dominican Republic citizenship would not be a terrible idea… frankly, I think second citizenships should be on everyone’s mind, and there are definitely cost effective ways (in some cases nearly free ways) to go about it.

However, since the clean, ‘official’ route in the Dominican Republic can take over 4-years, not to mention possibly tie up $200,000 in a banking system that I wouldn’t want any part of, I believe that there are far better alternatives out there that I’ll be discussing with you soon.

About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mark

    Simon

    Do you accept solicitation for investing opportunities from your readers?If so, how does one go about contacting you?

    Thanks for your time.

    Mark

  • Marquelle

    It may be rubbish for travel purposes, but would it not have a role in the arsenal as a passport for banking purposes?

  • James O’Connor

    Simon,
    You and your readers might be interested in reading this NYT article discussing the substantial increase in U.S. citizens that are renouncing their citizenship. The reasons cited are the heavy penalty of double taxation for those who live abroad and receive few U.S. services and changes in banking regulations resulting from the Patriot Act requiring U.S. banks to close the accounts of Americans with oversees addresses.

    It was interesting that the article cites examples of several citizens that had served in the military, loved their country and had been paying double taxation for many years before coming to the difficult decision to renounce their citizenship.

    The article concludes “we are now seeing only the tip of the iceberg”.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/26/us/26expat.html?src=me&ref=general

    James

  • Bob

    How much should one budget in obtaining a DR passport (total costs including all the residency visas)? Can you recommend someone to fo this through?

  • kevin

    i would also appreciate the name of a recommended atty who can arrange for the backdated residency for a reasonable fee…….or perhaps the right bureaucrat to contact. thanks!

  • Mike

    Simon,

    I was unclear about how the backchannels in the DR you referred to work. You mentioned 3-6 months for the passport, but if these channels exist, then can’t you just go down to the DR, pay money and get the citizenship and passport?

  • jerry

    Simon,

    I was unclear about how the backchannels in the DR you referred to work. You mentioned 3-6 months for the passport, but if these channels exist, then can’t you just go down to the DR, pay money and get the citizenship and passport?

  • Jay

    I would like to have some info on local attorneys or immigration advisory firms that can process the aforementioned steps fairly quickly.

  • RK

    Simon,

    Thanks a lot for your very useful opinion about DR.
    I am Russian Citizen but live in US now because of my 3 kids education. I am looking for 2 Passport & place where I can live but not too far from US, because my kids have to be here at least another 10 years. Would you, please, advice the most attractive places?

    Thank you for your help!
    RK

  • Ignacio

    Overall you dont recomend to visit DR, you sound like you did not had a good time there

  • LoanAudits

    What if you have Dominican heritage? My mother was born in the Dominican Republic but almost everyone I’m related to are here and are citizens. How would you go about it if you have a Dominican parent?

    • tom

      Am looking to obtain a passport for a person who was born in Veniulia and lives in the dominican the mother is dominican

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