Everything You Need to Know About Obtaining Residency & Visas in The Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic (DR) has it all even though it is not one of the top countries on the mind of foreigners when they consider relocation for business or retirement. The charm of the beaches in conjunction with the slow-paced life, old-world relaxed lifestyle, and lower cost of living makes the Dominican Republic a hot tourism destination. The white sandy beaches of Punta Cana and resort lifestyle of the coast, versus the hustle and bustle of the capital in Santo Domingo. If you are considering seeking a second residence or a potential full-time move with your family to an island country with lots of sunshine and character, then maybe La República Dominicana could be paradise.

The good news is that the Dominican Republic follows a Territorial Tax System, which means that it only collects income tax from Dominican Republic-sourced income, and all income originating from abroad is exempt from DR taxes, even if it’s received by individuals or companies that are based in the Dominican Republic.

So an American entrepreneur with Puerto Rico-sourced income stream and a Puerto Rican ACT 60 business could live a few weeks or maybe a month or two out of the year at the resorts in Punta Cana, or at a condo in the city in Santo Domingo, while working toward the time and residency requirements toward a Dominican citizenship and passport.

Just like all other nations, Dominican Republic offers a couple of visa options for tourists and residency options for foreigners willing to settle or retire here and establish a residence. Read on to know more about obtaining a visa and residency in this Caribbean country.

Dominican Republic – Visa & Residency Types and Details

Tourist Visa

If you are visiting the DR as a tourist, you need to have the appropriate tourist visa that grants you entry for sixty days into the country. The visa is available on arrival at the airport or at the entry port if you come in by ferry.

Fees to be paid for the Visa are USD $10 and need to be paid in cash only. And obviously, any travelers entering the Dominican Republic need to be sure they have a valid and updated Passport upon arrival.

Visas & Residency Permits

If you wish to reside in the DR, you have three visa options to choose from that will attain your residency status without any waiting period or rigid requirement on spending significant amounts of time in the DR. However, there are certain criteria of eligibility for these visa types. As a foreigner, you are allowed to buy a movable or an immovable property in the country or you have to be capable of showing sufficient passive income like a pension that you can show as stable retirement income when seeking residency in the DR. 

The details are as follows:

  • Pensionado Visa

To be eligible for the Pensionado Visa, you need to be a pensioner and receive a minimum of USD $1,500 as a pension ($1750 for couples) each month from a foreign government or private pension. For every dependent, you need to show proof of receiving about USD $250 each month. The Pensionado Visa is a type of residence permit issued to pensioners and retirees who want to enter the Dominican Republic and reside in the country.

  • Rentista Visa

To be eligible for Rentista Visa, you need to be able to show proof of income of at least USD $2,000 each month. The essential documents that you’ll need to submit along with other Identity documents are – the rental agreement or lease of the property where you’re residing, a bank statement or a Bank letter showing proof of income that you can support yourself living in the DR. You will also need to submit from the Procuraduria Office a Certificado de Buena Conducta, which is a letter attesting to your clean Criminal record and background check. 

  • Inversionista Visa (Investor Visa)

You are eligible for the Inversionista Visa when you invest USD $200,000 in a local business in the DR. You can also invest the capital into securities or buy shares in local companies in the local Dominican Peso.

The Residency Visa needs to be obtained from the Dominican Consulate office in your home country, you can arrange visits to your nearest office or consult with us to coordinate appointments on your behalf. The process is not a long, drawn out drag or anything too tedious, but does involve a lot of paperwork and in-person visits. Once you arrive in the DR, you need to apply for a Provisional Residency Permit within 60 days of your arrival. The Department of Migration, DR is responsible for issuing Provisional Residency Permits to foreigners.

Documents Required for the Application

  • The Application Form for the visa
  • Your original passport (should be valid for at least 18 months)
  • Four photographs of the applicant
  • Applicant’s Birth Certificate
  • Applicant’s Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
  • A medical Certificate from an authorized institution by the DGM is mandatory that should mention that the applicant is fit and healthy and does not suffer from any infectious diseases
  • Police Verification Certificate of No Criminal Record in either the country of natural citizenship or the country of residence of the applicant for the last 5 years
  • Proof of income or monthly rent
  • Proof of financial solvency of the applicant. Some of the documents acceptable in this case are – a bank statement/letter in the DR depicting the account balance of the applicant, proof of pension, tax return certificates, or company registration documents.
  • One Letter of Guarantee that should be signed by a Dominican Republic notary and a legalized resident of the Dominican Republic or a citizen of the country. This letter has to be legalized by the Attorney General’s Office.

All the above documents need to be submitted in original in English and one copy translated into Spanish.


The Temporary Residency Permit has a validity of only a year. And you don’t have to spend a lot of time on the ground in order to renew the residency; you will just need to visit the Dominican Republic once per year to keep your residency active, and then after 2 years you’ll be eligible to apply for naturalization.

The additional document required for a Permanent Residency Card is a signed letter or a sworn statement by two legal citizens of the Dominican Republic validating that they know you and attest that you are a law-abiding individual.

The Permanent Residency Card has a validity of two years. Once you have completed the required two years as a permanent residency cardholder, you can apply for citizenship of the Dominican Republic.

The other essential eligibility criteria for citizenship or naturalization are:

  • You need to be functional in Spanish
  • You also need to attend an interview with an official from the DR Department of Migration and give reasons as to why you are keen to become a citizen of the country
  • Your knowledge of the DR’s history, culture, values, and traditions will also be tested

Standard Program of Permanent Residency in the Dominican Republic

If you are not eligible for none of the three visa types mentioned above – pensionado, rentista, or investor – you can still move to the Caribbean country, although the process is a bit more time-consuming. Here are the details:

  • You need to first apply for temporary residency. Once your application is accepted, you will need to spend about five years as a temporary resident of the country. Every year, you will have to renew the status of the residency.
  • At the end of this period, you can apply for permanent residency. You will need to stay in the DR as a permanent resident for 2 years before you can apply for citizenship.

Advantages of Gaining Residency Status and Citizenship of the Dominican Republic

The residency and visa regulations in the DR are quite friendly and flexible for business-type people, retirees and investors. Its a very reasonably priced residency option, and a quite reasonably priced cost of living around the DR.

Another big advantage of gaining citizenship in the country is that you can be the holder of several citizenships and passports which grants you greater freedom of travel and greater residency options throughout the world. This allows you to work and conduct business, etc., in a place that really benefits you, where you’re paying a reasonable percentage of your income in taxes.

Getting Your Dominican Passport

In the Dominican Republic, you can get your Dominican passport after two years as a permanent resident of the country, but realistically it will probably be a 4 year process becoming a naturalized citizen of the DR. We give the Passport of the Dominican Republic a C rating. Whether you are a temporary resident of the DR for the past 5 years or you are the holder of the pensionado, rentista, or investor visa, you can get your permanent residency status quite smoothly and at a relatively low cost.

For the standard program residents, the citizenship process after obtaining permanent residency can take about two to four years. You can own and rent a condo or property in that time and generate yield on your investment while waiting for your time requirements to be satisfied for your naturalization in the country.

To Finding Freedom in an Unfree World,

Jonathan Braswell