DEFINITIVE OR PERMANENT RESIDENCY AS A SPECIAL QUALIFIED INVESTOR

Prior to 2007, President Fernandez (who was the President of the Dominican Republic at that time) wanted to offer a program for retirees or pensioners as existed in places such as Panama or Costa Rica.  Seeing the interest and success in such programs, a decree was issued creating such a program in the Dominican Republic – albeit with a number of improvements in terms of requirements over the other countries mentioned.  However, in 2007 a formal law was created making this program an official codified process, but with some additional categories as well.  These categories falling under the same special law are:

A. Pensioner or Retiree – With a fixed Monthly Retirement Income, Pension or Annuity.  B. Independent Investor – With Proof of Monthly Income coming from any investment or non-salaried source (meaning bank account interest, brokerage accounts, rental income, royalties, etc.).  C. Lump Sum Investor – With Proof of a local investment of US$200,000 (or equivalent in another currency) in local financial instruments, real estate, business enterprise, etc.

In order to qualify for this special status regardless of A, B or C, there is NO age requirement (as is the case in some other jurisdiction if applying as a pensioner or retiree), with obviously the time line of eligibility for naturalized citizenship application shortened down to 6 months from the date your investor residency card is issued.  Over the past few years roughly 90 percent of our clients have been able to participate in this program and we would be glad to assist you as well. One of the positive aspects however is that unlike in some other jurisdictions, there is NO requirement for the applicant to invest in real estate, although you are welcome to do so should you wish – and keep in mind that this will allow you to file for naturalized citizenship under that qualifier.  Also, the Dominican Republic has been and still is a real estate investor's paradise because per square foot, you will get more for your money in the Dominican Republic compared to just about any place else in all of the Caribbean (from basic properties up to luxury condominiums or homes).  In fact, over the past 10 years, many of our clients have already doubled their money in some cases with regards to real estate investments – and are still buying now in 2014 because real estate holdings are a hedge against inflation and possible devaluation of the US Dollar – AND is still reasonably priced compared to similar properties elsewhere (compared to St. Martin, Bahamas, etc.).

But not only that.  Persons applying under the above mentioned special investor residency process also can obtain a reduction on title transfer taxes for their first real estate purchase, AND annual real estate taxes are quite low in general compared to the US, Europe, etc.  In terms of annual real estate taxes in the Dominican Republic : You can expect to pay one (1) percent of the property value, calculated for the amount over and above US$100,000 (real estate valued at the Peso Equivalent of US$100,000 and below is tax-free in terms of any annual real estate taxes).

In terms of some general real estate information and how it relates to the application process (for residency and citizenship) - there is no specific or fixed amount they are looking for or  requiring in terms of a real estate purchase, so it is up to you what  you might consider.  Real estate in Santo Domingo or Santiago will be less expensive than property in a tourist area such as Juan Dolio or Punta Cana.  With  regards to Santo Domingo, you can find a higher end 3 bedroom condo  (in an upper middle class area) ranging from say US$145,000 for a  1,400 square foot property up to US$250,000 for maybe a 2,400 square  foot property - and everything and anything in between.  Outside of Santo Domingo, there is a builder doing Swiss chalet style vacation properties in the mountain area of Jarabacoa (new construction) for about US$125,000.  In addition, you can get a 2 or 3 bedroom townhouse condo in Punta Cana – Bavaro for about US$125,000 but it will be smaller (about 1,200 square feet or so). 

Regardless of which of the above application scenarios may be best applicable for yourself, our office can assist with the initial residency application all the way through to the citizenship process and passport.  Over the last 16 years we have assisted many families and individuals, and would be glad to be of service to you as well.