Frequently Asked Questions

Immigration

What Do I Need To Reside Legally In DR?


Foreign nationals entering the country as a tourists, will need to pay US$10.00 for a tourist card at the airport which will allow a stay of 30 days. The Immigration Department is no longer allowing extension of tourist cards. All foreigner who remain longer then 30 days, will be charged a penalty at the airport upon departure. All who remain in the country past the 30 day limit are considered illegal. Those who wish to reside in the DR for more than 30 days and obtain legal status in the country, must obtain a Residency Visa via the Dominican Consulate in their country of origin and Provisional Residency via the Immigration Department in the DR. Follow these steps:




How much do I have to pay if I overstay?


It is easy for a tourist to enter the country. Depending on what country you hail from you may requiry either a Tourist Card or a Visa. A select few do not require either, but only a passport. You will receive the form for it in the airplane or upon arrival in the country. You can also obtain them online beforehand here. At passport control you are then required to pay the $10US entrance tax and will receive the card in return. Once you’ve got the card you can stay in the country for 30 days. If you exceed these 30 days, the penalty might get hefty.




What Is An Apostille And Do I Need One?


An apostille specifies the modalities through which a document issued in one of the signatory countries can be certified for legal International purposes in all the other signatory states or another country. Such a certification is called an apostille (French: certification). It is an international certification comparable to a notarization in domestic law. Apostilles are affixed by competent authorities designated by the government of a state which is party to the convention. To be eligible for an apostille, a document must first be issued or certified by an officer recognized by the authority that will issue the apostille (notary public). Later you can apostille your documents in the Secretary of State of your country. Search in google for the nearest Secretary of State. We can apostille your documents, please contact us for details. APOSTILLE Q&A DO I NEED TO APOSTILLE OR NOTARIZED MY DOCUMENTS? If your documents are not from one of these countries (see list below), you must notarize all documents in the Dominican Consulate or Embassy in the country of origin prior to arrival. If your documents DO come from one these countries (see list below), you must apostille all documents prior to arrival. CAN I START THE PROCESS OF RESIDENCY FROM THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC IF I DON’T HAVE THE RESIDENCY VISA? Yes, we can start the process at our office located in Santo Domingo. We will schedule an appointment to provide you with the legal documentation required to obtain the residency visa. Upon your return home and prior to arriving to the D.R. you can obtain your visa in the Dominican Consulate or Embassy located in your country of origin. Once the visa is issued another appointment will be scheduled to initiate the process for provisional residency. List of Countries whose legal documents require an “Apostille” A Albania Argentina Australia Andorra Antigua and Barbuda Armenia Azerbaijan B Belarus Belgium Bosnia and Herzegovina Brazil Bulgaria Bahamas Barbados Belize Botswana Brunei Darussalam C China, People’s Republic of Costa Rica Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Cape Verde Colombia Cook Islands D Denmark Dominica Dominican Republic E Ecuador Estonia El Salvador F Finland Fiji France G Georgia Greece Grenada H Hungary Honduras I Iceland India Ireland Israel Italy J Japan K Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan L Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Lesotho Liberia Liechtenstein M Malta Mauritius Mexico Monaco Montenegro Morocco Malawi Marshall Islands Moldova, Republic of Mongolia N New Zealand Namibia Niue Norway O Oman P Panama Peru Poland Portugal R Romania Russian Federation S Serbia Slovakia Slovenia South Africa Spain Suriname Sweden Switzerland Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Seychelles Swaziland T The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Turkey Tonga Trinidad and Tobago U Ukraine United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland United States of America Uzbekistan V Venezuela Vanuatu




What are the entry requirements for visiting the Dominican Republic?


Most foreign visitors must have a passport and purchase a Tourist card at the airport for $10.00 USD when they arrive. Citizens of certain countries may need a visa. To confirm your individual situation, it is best to contact the Dominican Republic Embassy or Consulate in your country.




How long am I allowed to stay as a visitor?


Each country usually has an individual agreement with the Dominican Republic on this issue, and the necessary documents. Generally, most individuals are permitted to stay 60-90 days with a Tourist card or visa.




Are there any fees for my arrival or departure?


As mentioned before, for those requiring a Tourist card, that is purchased on arrival at the airport for $10.00 USD presently. There is a $20.00 USD departure tax that must be paid prior to leaving. Some airlines include this tax in their ticket prices. It’s wise to check with your airline.




Do I need a return flight ticket?


All non-residents should purchase a round trip ticket to indicate that they intend to depart the country.




What are the requirements for longer stays or relocating to the Dominican Republic?


For those who intend to stay longer than is allowed by their Tourist card or visa, residency status should be obtained through the Immigration Authority in the Capital of Santo Domingo. The first step is to obtain temporary residency that is valid for one year. At the end of that first year, a second procedure will convert that to permanent residency status which will be renewable every four years. The associated procedures are handled by lawyers in the country.





General Information

What Are Dominican Holidays?


Holidays in the D.R. are relative. That means that some stores may be closed and some may not. It is often up to each individual business. However, most public businesses such as banks do close on most of these days. In all cases expect an interruption in services and schedules.




What type of currency should I bring?


The local currency is the Dominican Republic Peso or RD. U.S. dollars are the most easily exchangeable; however British Pounds, Euros, Canadian dollars, and others can be exchanged for pesos at the applicable daily rate. Currency exchange and banking transactions are available at a number of local banks within walking distance.




What is the local time zone of the Dominican Republic?


The entire country lies in the Atlantic Standard Time zone (AST) which is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT/UTC) minus 4 hours. The country does not follow any Daylight Savings time shift. Therefore in the spring and summer when the east coast of North America is on Daylight Savings Time (EDT), the time is the same. During the fall and winter when that area reverts back to Eastern Standard Time (EST), it is one hour later in the Dominican Republic than it is there.




Is medical insurance available?


Yes. There are reputable professionals in the area that can provide information about global health insurance policies for coverage both in the country and elsewhere throughout the world including the U.S.




Are vaccinations required to move to the Dominican Republic?


Presently, there are no necessary vaccinations prior to moving to the Dominican Republic.




Can I bring my pet to the Dominican Republic?


Yes, there are procedures that are fairly straight forward for the transport of dogs and cats into the country. Birds require a quarantine period and are not recommended for shorter stays. Pets are generally allowed, however there are some guidelines regarding containment and walking in common areas.




Do I need to speak/understand Spanish?


You can get by without since many people working in the tourism related businesses whether Dominican or foreign understand some English, and possibly other languages such as German, French, Italian, etc. Usually with a little kind effort on the part of both parties, you will get by just fine. Learning a few key words and phrases can be fun. It can also provide extra enjoyment in your experience by providing a better opportunity to communicate with local people. Dominicans definitely appreciate those who make an attempt to speak their language and are generally helpful in assisting with your efforts.




What are the bilingual educational options in the area?


Schools in the Dominican Republic range from free public schools, to private institutions teaching a U.S. curriculum in English. Classes in private schools are normally taught in English but are bilingual and usually attended by children of many nationalities. Students must meet a certain level of English fluency for entrance. Tuition varies considerably with the maximum between $2100-$5300 USD per academic year depending on the age of the student. Additional charges may apply for lunches, uniforms, books, and materials. Schools that are accredited by the Dominican Ministry of Education offer certificates that are valid for entrance to Dominican, European, and U.S. universities. However, those planning to attend higher education in the U.S. may wish to attend a school that has been accredited by the U.S. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Those interested in studying in Europe should consider a school where the International Baccalaureate curriculum is used.




Is the Dominican Republic safe?


Yes, but there can be dangerous areas in every town, city, and country in the world. International statistics have shown that many other areas of the world in the Caribbean, U.S. and Europe have crime statistics that exceed those in the Dominican Republic. Poverty is a predominant cause of criminal activity throughout the world. Common sense goes a long way in contributing to your safety. This means not leaving valuables unattended, wearing flashy articles, visibly displaying large quantities of cash and avoiding more isolated areas especially at night.




What activities are available in the area?


Swimming
Ocean swells can be much larger in the winter months of December through March creating bigger waves, a larger shore break and stronger undertow. The summer months tend to have smaller swells resulting in calmer and safer ocean conditions. Many water sport activities can be enjoyed or arranged right from those beaches; snorkeling, sailing, water skiing, body boarding, wind surfing, ocean kayaking and others.
Glass Bottom Boat
Boat tours are available in the area to allow the entire family to view the underwater habitat through the crystal clear water. Ocean Kayaking
Many opportunities enjoy kayaking the gorgeous tropical coastline when conditions allow. Scuba Diving
A short walk from any Hotel, are excellent dive centers. Please visit web sites for additional information. Surfing and Boogie Boarding
Most of the traditional surfing and boogie boarding is enjoyable in the Dominican Republic. Kite Boarding
One of the kite boarding capitals of the world is Cabarete Beach. Cabarete is a 15 minute drive from Sosua. Kite boarding is an exciting sport which requires the proper training and is available right there on the beach. Wakeboarding and Water Skiing
These activities are available on rivers and ocean areas where the conditions have been deemed safe for these sports. Horseback Riding
Riding the local trails and beaches can be a pleasurable activity for the entire family. Many of the operators Creole horses are known for their tame good nature. Mountain Biking
Mountain biking and bike rentals are easy to arrange. The Dominican Republic is a paradise for this activity due to its miles of dirt tracks and mule trails. Golfing Options
Golfing enthusiasts have a number of available options. The Dominican Republic is known for a large varity of Golf courses. Waterfall Exploration
The Damajagua area is located 30 km to the west and has an area consisting of 27 waterfalls ranging from .5 to 15 meters in height. A 30 minute hike will take you to the first of the waterfalls you may climb. The ability to proceed from there is dependent upon one’s skill and fitness level. It is advisable to arrange your trip to the area with a tour operator. Whale Watching
From late January through March of each year, thousands of North Atlantic Humpback Whales migrate to the Samana Bay region of the North Coast of the Dominican Republic. Boat tour operators will take you out into the bay to get as close as is safe to watch these incredible large marine mammals frolic in the sea. Despite their size, Humpbacks are one of the most active and acrobatic of the whale species.




How is the communication system in the Dominican Republic?


Cellular phones in the Dominican Republic operate on international GSM standard.




What is the electricity voltage in the Dominican Republic?


Generally, the electricity operates at 110 volts like in North America. However, voltage irregularities are quite common sometimes providing less or surges of far more. It is recommended to use surge protectors or voltage regulators for expensive electronics and computers. Most residences provide both 110 and 220 volts with two independently operating 400 KW power plants with full voltage regulation.




Can I rent a vehicle in the Dominican Republic?


Yes, there are a variety of rental agencies to choose from at the airport or in the City. You can find more information in the “Yellow Pages”. To rent a car; you need your passport, and driver’s license. As a permanent resident you would need a local driver’s license which is easy to obtain. There are also local taxis and busses that can provide transportation should you desire not to drive.




What is the area code for the Dominican Republic?


There are three area codes. Most of the telephones use the 809 code and others use 829 or 849. The Dominican country code is 1.




What is the legal drinking age?


In the Dominican Republic, you can purchase and consume alcoholic beverages from the age of 18. This means that many bars will not admit the under 18s, even when accompanied by their parents or an adult.




When is the Hurricane Season?


The Atlantic Basin Hurricane season begins on 1 June, and extends to 30 November. In the Dominican Republic, this is the summer and early fall season when the weather is sunny with some cloudiness and occasional rain showers, which tend to fall in the late afternoon or at night. Historically, most hurricanes have occurred in the month of September. Take note that the Dominican Republic is a large country. This means that while one coast may be affected, another may be completely unscathed by the storm. Follow local weather forecasts in English, especially in the hurricane season, at www.dr1.com/forums/weather-beyond




How much is sales tax?


ITBIS (the value-added tax for transferring industrial goods and services) is 18% and is applied to most of the purchases you will make. In restaurants, bars and hotels a further 10% is added as a service charge.





Investments

Are There Special Tax Incentives for Retirees and Investors?


1. Introduction In recent years, the Dominican Republic has grown significantly in the flow of foreign investments, mainly due lo tourism development and the consequent entry into the country of foreigners interested in settling permanently in the Dominican territory. The law No. 171-07 on Special Incentives for pensioners and foreign source Annuitants dated July 13. 2007. has joined the rules that encourage the flow of foreigners and foreign investments in the Dominican Republic. 2. Object of the law The main purpose of Law No. 171-07 is to promote the appropriate legal framework for foreign retirees and annuitants who choose to reside in the Dominican Republic can enjoy special benefits. For these purposes. Pensioners or retirees are ‘”foreigners or Dominican citizens who are beneficiaries of a corresponding monthly pension or retirement plan of an official government or agency or private company of foreign origin, who are interested in transferring their permanent residence into the country and receive their pension or retirement benefits in the Dominican Republic.” (Article 1, Law No. 171-07). The annuitants are those people Who enjoy stable and permanent income, Whose capital comes from abroad, due to one of the following reasons:

  • Deposits or investments in banks established abroad;
  • Remittances from Banks or financial institutions established abroad;
  • Investments of entities established abroad;
  • Remittances originated by real estate properties;
  • Interests received of titles issued in foreign currency generated abroad;
  • Profits on investments in securities issued in foreign or national currency with the State or its Institutions, provided that the capital has been generated abroad and the currency exchange is made in the country;
  • Interest, income and dividends from real estate investments made in the country, whose principal has been generated abroad. (Artice 1, Law No. 171-07).
An Indispensable condition to take advantage of the benefits established in Law No. 171-07 is that the retiree receives a monthly income of not less than US S 1,500.00. and that the annuitant. meanwhile, receives no less than US S 2,000.00 or its equivalent in Dominican pesos. For each additional dependent, a monthly income of US $ 250.00 per person is required. These amounts declared as income are exempt from income tax. Those who receive the income described in the preceding paragraph may obtain a residence for investors, under the conditions that were set out in Decree 950-01 and Law 98-03 which creates the CEI-RD. 3. Benefits and Scope of the Law Law No. 171-07 benefits those foreigner pensioners and annuitants wishing to permanently reside in the country. subject to their compliance with certain requirements. The benefits and exemptions that qualified applicants are entitled to are as follows:
  • Possibility of rapidly obtaining residence through the process called “residence due investment”;
  • Tax exemption on home furnishings and personal property, under Law No. 14-93, as amended by Law No. 146-00 on Tax exemption
  • Partial tax exemption on used motor vehicles. The law allows each applicant to import a vehicle. In addition, vehicles purchased in the country will be exempt from tax transfer of industrialized goods and services (ITBIS) and excise tax (ISC);
  • Exemption from payment of taxes on real estate transfers (3% of the value of the property transferred) on the first property acquired;
  • 50% exemption of taxes on mortgages, when the creditors are financial institutions duly regulated by the Monetary and Financial Law (mortgages are taxed with a unified tax of 2% ad valorem on the value of the mortgage);
  • Exemption of 50% of Real Estate Property Tax (tax on real property is 1% of the value of the property when the value exceeds RD $ 7,019,383.00 This amount is adjusted annually for inflation.);
  • Exemption from taxes on the payment of dividends and interest generated in the country or abroad;
  • Exemption of 50% tax on capital gains, subject to the annuitant being the major shareholder of the company that has to pay this tax and that this company is not engaged in commercial or industrial activities (the gain is determined by deducting the price or value disposal of a respective good, the acquisition or production cost adjusted for inflation).
The benefits of this law applies equally to Dominican citizens pensioned or retired by institutions of foreign governments , and those who do not have that characteristics, evidencing perceiving incomes on the conditions laid down in Article 1 of the Law. Articles 45 and 46 of Law No. 253-12 for Strengthening Tax Collection Capacity of the Sate for Fiscal Sustainability and Sustainable Development (Fiscal Reform) provide that government institutions that administer laws that provide for waivers or exemptions for certain sectors or social groups must submit to the Ministry of Finance, prior knowledge of classification application, the feasibility study having to identify the source of compensation of the tax expenditures that would represent the exemption. On this basis, the Ministry prepares a cost-benefit analysis of the incentives awarded. In this connection the Ministry of Finance will grant a no objection to the classification of the beneficiaries of incentives. 4. Sanctions Persons who request the benefits of Law No 171-07 and that consciously provide false information to take advantage of the concessions granted by this legislation will be subject to penalties and be fined an amount equal to twice the corresponding amount of taxes that they must have to pay to the Dominican treasury.





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Land of opportunity

The Dominican Republic is among the best places to buy real estate in 2016, and certain areas in this country are the absolute best places to be shopping for affordable beachfront retirement. In addition, for a CD with a bank in this country to earn as much as 5% for U.S. dollars and double digits on a Dominican Republic peso deposit.

World Bank review

The Dominican Republic has the largest economy of Central America and the Caribbean. The country has weathered the global economic crisis well and in 2010 experienced one of the highest growth rates in the region. The DR remains the most rapid economy in the region in 2014 and 2015, with a GDP hovering at 7 percent.

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Our primary objective is to use our knowledge, experience and expertise regarding life in the Dominican Republic along with safe and sound business practices to assist all of our clients in creating the life they desire in the Dominican Republic.

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The Dominican Republic is fast becoming a popular destination for expats. Each year, more and more people from Europe and the US are lured to this part of Hispaniola by the tropical climate, inexpensive properties and high rates of return on investments. Locals, who are known for their friendliness, curiosity and warm hospitality.

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