Dominican Republic: New Immigration Law
The Dominican government is instituting tougher entry requirements and a new extension process for temporary workers, as it continues to implement a new immigration law.
Processing delays are expected in the coming months as the new requirements and procedures are implemented.
New Entry Visa Requirements for Temporary Residence Applicants
Beginning June 1, foreign temporary workers will no longer be able to enter the Dominican Republic as business visitors or tourists and apply for a temporary residence permit after arrival. Rather, they will have to obtain a residence visa from a Dominican consular post before entering the country. The residence visa requirement will apply to all foreign temporary workers, including those from countries that are otherwise visa-exempt.
Interim Medical Exam Requirements for Temporary Residence Applicants
Until June 1, foreign nationals will be subject to more stringent entry requirements as a prerequisite to completing the residence permit process. They will not be able to complete the mandatory medical exam for a temporary residence permit unless they enter the country with a consular-issued business visa. Those entering as tourists, whether visa-exempt or with a tourist visa, cannot undergo the medical exam unless they can show at least two prior entries in tourist status, evidenced by notations in their current passport.
At the medical exam, foreign nationals must present a photocopy of their birth certificate; the copy does not have to be legalized. The government has retracted a recent rule change that required foreign nationals to present a legalized original birth certificate at the medical exam.
Temporary Residence Permits Now Renewable
Foreign residents can now renew their temporary residence permit to extend a stay in the Dominican Republic beyond one year. Previously, temporary residents who wanted to stay for more than one year were required to change to permanent status.
Temporary residence permits are valid for one year initially, and are renewable in one-year increments. A renewal application must be filed at least thirty days before the current permit expires. Renewal applicants are required to submit a passport with at least 18 months’ remaining validity, a local Dominican government-issued police clearance, and a medical insurance policy from an insurance company accredited by a local immigration office.
Foreign residents will not be able to apply for permanent status until they have renewed their temporary permit four times, for a total stay of five years. However, the Director of Immigration has the discretion to allow foreign nationals to apply for permanent status earlier if they can show extraordinary professional, scientific or technical expertise.
Immigration procedures in the Dominican Republic will remain fluid until authorities fully implement the new law, and additional requirements and changes are possible. Employers should take the possibility of further changes into account when planning assignments to the Dominican Republic over the coming months.
Date: June 26, 2012
Category: DR Living |