Moving to and living in the Dominican Republic - Relocation, residency and visas
For those considering relocating to the Caribbean, and particularly the Dominican Republic, it is best to be prepared with certain useful facts. When planning to move, it is wise to find out about residency and visa procedures and important aspects of relocation, whether you intend to invest in Dominican realty immediately or to rent first and buy later. At West Indies Real Estate we can help with basic information and point you to those who can advise in more depth on some of the finer points when you have made your decision to relocate.
Quality of life here in the Dominican Republic - Advantages:
- It's a good place to live and raise a family.
- Great weather.
- Well organized business community.
- Geographically located near major trade markets in the center of the Americas.
- Abundant non-skilled work force, keen to learn and progress.
- Abundant, qualified managerial staff available.
- Large domestic market.
- Largest tourism industry in the Caribbean which is a large export market within the country.
- Excellent telecommunications service.
- Diversity of investment opportunities.
- Preferential trade agreements signed with Europe, the United States, the Caribbean and Central America.
- Positive attitude towards foreigners and foreign investors.
- One of the fastest growing economies in Central America and the Caribbean.
- Political stability.
- Relatively low crime rate.
- A true melting pot with few racial tensions.
Yes, you will be able to find American styled supermarkets in the DR. Also, you will also be able to find American foods as well as a large selection of international foods.
Relocation and living in the Dominican Republic - Security
For the most part, life around the north coast and its towns is fairly safe. However, with any developing country it is always wise to ensure you give some thought to the security of your family and possessions. Gated developments are always popular, not least because of good security. For those who wish to live in the countryside, it is not unusual to take on a security guard, who can be engaged via a Security Company, or whom you can employ privately at reasonable cost.
Relocation and living in the Dominican Republic - Banking and Currency
The Dominican banking system is controlled by the Central Bank, based in Santo Domingo and the currency used is the Dominican peso. At the time of writing the exchange rate was around RD$43 to US$1, RD$58 to EUR1 and RD$73 to GBP1.
The best exchange rates are paid in either US traveler’s checks or US dollars. It is generally considered that the best exchange rates will be found at one of the Dominican banks rather than on the street or hotels, etc. ATM machines are plentiful at most banks throughout the Dominican Republic, although the amount you will be able to withdraw will vary from bank to bank.
Relocation and living in the Dominican Republic - Opening a Bank Account
There are some myths here; firstly you do not need to be a resident, you will however need all of the following:
- Your passport.
- Letter of recommendation from your own bank.
- Personal recommendation from a person known to the bank.
You may then open a bank account in dollars or pesos or both.
Transfer of funds into and out of your dollar account may be by wire transfer, check or cash. You should be aware that the banking system here takes up to 30 days to clear checks, including cashiers checks or bank drafts.
Residency and Living in the Dominican Republic - Residency & Visas
The process for applying for Residency is currently undergoing some changes, but reliable information can be found here. There are moves to simplify some aspects of this process and we will update this page as new information becomes available.
Residency in the Dominican Republic - The main advantages for you:
- A legal resident can work and conduct a business in the Dominican Republic.
- A resident is allowed to bring in tax free his household items, ranging from kitchen appliances, to furniture (Article 13 of Law #146-00). A non-resident must pay applicable duties on these goods.
- A non-resident cannot sue a Dominican national or a legal resident in court without posting a bond, usually quite high. A legal resident is exempt from this requirement.
- In case of inheritance, a non-resident beneficiary must pay a 50% surcharge on applicable estate taxes; residents are not subject to this surcharge.
- For many foreigners interested in not paying taxes in their home countries on income earned outside their home country, it is a pre-requisite to obtain residency status in another country.
- A resident can enter the Dominican Republic without having to buy a tourist card; a non-resident must obtain a visa or buy a tourist card.