In the realm of citizenship by investment programs (CIPs), which includes the Caribbean 5, Malta, Vanuatu, Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, and Cambodia, perhaps we should consider a 12th program: the Dominican Republic’s Investor Visa.
General Requirements for the Dominican Republic Investor Visa
The General Law on Migration No. 285-04 and its corresponding regulation No. 613-11 state that foreign investors who invest $200,000 or the equivalent in another recognized currency are eligible for immediate permanent residency. Although termed "permanent residency," the permit is initially valid for just one year, renewable in four-year increments.
The law does not impose limitations on asset classes, allowing the applicant to invest in local businesses, stocks, securities, real estate, among other options. Moreover, if the applicant invests in a Designated Investment Project, the minimum investment amount is to be set by the Dominican Republic Export and Investment Center (CEI-RD).
This means that, theoretically, the minimum investment amount could be even lower than $200,000, providing an opportunity for negotiations with the government on structuring a Designated Investment Project at the right price point.
Why it’s Effectively a Citizenship by Investment Program
While, in principle, it is a residence by investment program, Law No. 1683 on Naturalization also provides for the expedited naturalization of individuals who can demonstrate "at least six months of uninterrupted residency in the country, if he has founded and sustained urban or rural industries, or if he is the owner of real estate located in the Republic."
In other words, if you own real estate in the Dominican Republic and live there full-time for at least six months, you are eligible for naturalization.
This is not a direct CIP like those in the Caribbean, and you need to live in the country for at least six months. But it is still faster than Malta’s MEIN, considered a CIP even though it takes a minimum of 12 months to obtain citizenship in Malta under that policy.
An additional advantage of the Dominican Republic’s program is that you only really need to hold on to the asset for a short while if you intend to get citizenship. If you just want permanent residency, it may be necessary to maintain the investment indefinitely. But if you become a citizen, you are free to divest as soon as you have your passport since citizenship is not conditional.
Benefits of Dominican Republic Citizenship
While it doesn't offer visa-free travel to Schengen, it doesn't rank among the top-tier passports. According to the Passport Index, the country’s passport offers visa-free access to 74 destinations globally. Nonetheless, this passport provides visa-free travel to several attractive destinations, including Russia, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Turkey, and Singapore. In other words, it’s a Tier 3 passport.
As far as we know, the program also remains open to Russians and other discriminated-against nationalities.
Moreover, since the Dominican Republic is part of the Ibero-American community, its citizens are considered to have “preferred nationalities” in many Latin-American countries, giving them shortened naturalization periods in the following countries (even those who are not naturally-born Dominicans):
El Salvador: 1 year (normally 5)
Honduras: 2 years (normally 3)
Mexico: 2 years (normally 5)
Panama: 1 year (normally 5)
This article has been adapted and enriched by our team of experts. If you are interested in exploring investment and citizenship opportunities in the Dominican Republic, feel free to contact us for personalized advice.
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