The Dominican Republic, not to be confused with the Caribbean island Commonwealth of Dominica, offers an extremely affordable resident by investment program which can quickly lead to a second passport in under a year. A passport to the Dominican Republic can be useful in improving your asset protection and diversifying your citizenship portfolio.
Investing in a second citizenship from the Dominican Republic is a sound option if you’re concerned with the current state of your home country, and want to hedge against the risk of having to suddenly leave. Similar to an insurance policy, a second passport will give you a safe haven in the event of an emergency. It is important to remember that holding a passport is not a right. Passports belong to the government that issues them, and is a privilege for citizens. This unfortunately means that governments can revoke passports should they feel it necessary to do so, at which point having a backup passport is indispensable.
A second passport to the Dominican Republic is not the best option for investors looking to improve the strength of their current passport in terms of travel freedom. A passport to the Dominican Republic only affords its holders visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 54 countries. Comparing the number of countries with hassle-free access of Dominican Republic’s passport to some of those in the Middle East (Jordan: 47, Egypt: 49, Saudi Arabia: 69), it is clear that there is little benefit to people from these countries to invest in a second passport from the Dominican Republic. For those looking to upgrade the strength of their passport by investment in the Caribbean, there are several other options, including Antigua and Barbuda with visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 134 countries.
While the Dominican Republic does not have any direct citizenship by investment options, the residence by investment options can get you a passport within one year of becoming a permanent resident. There are two program options: the investor program and the retiree/foreign passive income program.
The investment option requires applicants to invest a minimum of USD $200,000 in the Dominican Republic. Any sector is acceptable for investment, and the total amount must be held for a minimum of three years. However, failing to meet this requirement can lead to the cancellation of residence or citizenship.
The application for permanent residency is processed within 2 to 4 months. Once permanent residency documents are obtained, applicants must wait 6 months prior to filing a citizenship application, which is generally processed within 2 to 3 months.
Retiree/foreign passive income option
Foreign nationals who receive consistent passive income from abroad, and have been earning this income over the past five years consecutively, can qualify for this option. Examples of passive income include retirement income, rent from rental properties, dividends, or other investment returns.
Those using retirement income must show a minimum of USD $1,500 per month in addition to USD $250 per month for each dependent on the application. Those using other forms of passive income must show a minimum of USD $2,000 per month in addition to USD $250 per month for each dependent on the application. For example, a retiree who is applying with his/her spouse and two dependent children will have to prove a monthly payment of USD $2,250 in order to qualify.
The above-mentioned options are apart from government processing fees for residence and citizenship.
Benefits of the Dominican Republic
First, prices of real estate as well as the general cost of living are extremely affordable in the Dominican Republic. Properties can be purchased for approximately USD $100,000, which is relatively cheaper than elsewhere in the Caribbean. Infrastructure improvements across the country, including upgraded airports and new highways, have cut travel times for tourists and residents alike. Improved accessibility helped reduce daily living cost, including the cost of food.
The government of the Dominican Republic encourages foreign investors to establish businesses to help boost local economy. Foreign nationals who start up a business in a free trade zone qualify for a 15-year exemption on all income taxes and corporate taxes, as well as export taxes and duties among other incentives. Further, with the government’s strong commitment to sustainable tourism, foreign investors who start a business in the tourism sector are exempt from income taxes and other tax breaks over the next 10 years.
The Dominican Republic’s economy has been steadily increasing, with a reported growth of 6.6% in 2016. This Caribbean nation is an affordable option for both investors and retirees in search of a safe, stable, picturesque, warm-climate haven to call home.
For more information on Dominican Republic’s residence by investment program, please click here.
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