Legal Framework Applicable to Foreigners
ENTRY AND DEPARTURE
Foreign investors whose businesses or activities require them to visit the Dominican Republic or to move their residence to the country will find in this chapter information about the most important laws and regulations that will apply to their entry and stay in the country.
In general, foreigners need a visa to enter the Dominican country, except for nationals of countries with which the Dominican Republic has signed agreements to exonerate this requirement. In such cases, foreigners may enter the country for a period of sixty (60) days solely with the purchase of a tourist card, which can be purchased at the airport of arrival. However, for cases in which the foreigner wishes to enter the country for residency purposes, he or she must apply for an immigrant visa or business visa.
In general terms, visas are classified in Diplomatic, Official, Courtesy, Business, Dependents, Tourist, and Student Residence and are issued by the Foreign Service of the Dominican Republic. A foreigner cannot visit the country with a tourist visa and process another visa during their stay, having necessarily to return to their country of origin.
Foreigners may acquire the right to reside in the country by requesting Dominican residency. The process varies depending on the category of foreigner as investor, financier, retiree or worker. Usually there will be a period of temporary residence that will require annual renewal, culminating, if desired in the obtainment of Dominican nationality.
ACQUISITION OF DOMINICAN NATIONALITY
The process of attaining the Dominican citizenship is dictated by Law 1,683 of April 21st,1948, and last approximately a year. It allows Dominican citizenship to be awarded to foreign individuals under the following circumstances:
• Individuals with Dominican parents;
• Those who have resided for six (6) months in the country, if married to a Dominican citizen;
• Those that can justify an uninterrupted residence of at least two (2) years in the country; and,
• Those who have obtained a special concession from the Dominican President (also called (“Privileged Nationality”), normally granted to foreigners that have served meritoriously to the country.