Expats moving to the Dominican Republic will not only find themselves in one of the biggest countries of the Caribbean, but they will also end up in one of the first places where Christopher Columbus’ ships landed in 1492. The Spanish conquerors moving to the Dominican Republic in 1493 laid the foundations for today’s Santo Domingo. In the centuries that followed, the country was subject to annexation, premature declarations of independence, and revolutionary upheavals.
But even after the last long-term occupation, the country did not come to a rest. The Dominican Republic’s 31-year totalitarian rule by Rafael Trujillo was followed by rulers who won by flawed elections, were overthrown by military coups, or had to go into exile. Free elections have only been held since 1996. After Leonel Fernández' several terms in office, Danilo Medina was elected president in May 2012 and took office in August of the same year.
The Dominican Republic is the second-largest country in the Caribbean and is located on the island of Hispaniola. The island, which it shares with Haiti, is situated between Cuba and Puerto Rico. Upon moving to the Dominican Republic, you’ll recognize that the landscape is surprisingly diverse for such a small country. Obviously you shouldn’t miss out on the white sandy beaches, which are so typical for the Caribbean, but the country also boasts tropical rainforests, beautiful valleys, rivers, lakes, and even semi-desert zones.
Upon moving to the Dominican Republic, you should experience a semitropical climate with year-round temperatures of 26°C on average. From May to November, you can expect heavy rain falls, particularly in the country’s north. If you move to the Dominican Republic in August and September, you may experience severe storms and hurricanes.
Before moving to the Dominican Republic, you need to secure either a business visa (Visa de Negocios), which comes in two forms that allow either one entry for 60 days or multiple entries for one year, but only for a maximum of two consecutive months at a time, or a business visa for employment purposes (Visa de Negocios con Fines Laborales), which is issued for one year. The latter is the relevant visa for those who are moving to the Dominican Republic to work on fixed-term contracts for private or public companies; with this visa you can apply for a driver's license, open a bank account, etc. You can renew your visa at the Department of Immigration (Dirección General de Migración) in Santo Domingo as long as you still have a valid work contract.
In order to apply for a business visa for employment purposes, you need to submit the following documents. All foreign documents must be notarized and translated into Spanish; both the original and the translation need to be apostilled:
Moreover, you need a so-called Resolution of the Ministry of Labor of the Dominican Republic. This document is issued by the Labor Department of the Ministry. It legitimizes the applicant's employment contract and, therefore, their reason for moving to the Dominican Republic, and specifies the employee's position within the company, contract length, and salary.
Nationals from certain countries who move to the Dominican Republic for short-term business meetings, site visits, or short training courses may enter the country with a Tourist Card, which is basically a USD 10 tax on visitors; a visa is not required in this case.
It doesn’t matter if you are moving to the Dominican Republic with a Tourist Card or a business visa. If your stay exceeds two months, you need to apply for a residence permit (Visa de Residencia). To do so, you need to submit the application in advance to a consulate of the Dominican Republic with the following. All foreign documents must be notarized and translated into Spanish. Also, both the original and the translation must be apostilled:
You will also need to bring a notarized letter of guarantee signed by a Dominican or a legal resident in the Dominican Republic specifying their relationship to you. This person must guarantee to pay any expenses involved in your move to the Dominican Republic should you be unable to do so. The letter of guarantee must be signed by a notary of the Dominican Republic and legalized by the Attorney General's Office of the Dominican Republic.
Also, you will need a visa application letter from you addressed to the Consular Section containing your name, nationality, place of residence, and occupation, as well as information on your reasons for moving to the Dominican Republic, e.g. employment, retirement, for a Dominican husband or wife, etc.
Last but not least, you need documents showing your financial solvency. All documents must be issued for you and NOT your guarantor. These documents may include:
After submitting all documents to the Dominican consulate or embassy in your country, you need to hand in all paperwork again to the foreign ministry (Cancillerìa) in Santo Domingo upon moving to the Dominican Republic. Please keep in mind that you might have to submit additional documents, e.g. a marriage certificate, if you are moving with your family, if your spouse is a citizen of the Dominican Republic, or if you have relatives in the Dominican Republic.
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