What does the new regulation involve?
As of October 11, 2011 the President of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernandez Reyna signed a regulation which adds force to the pre-existing immigration laws. This regulation monitors the transit of foreign nationals in the country by requiring documents of entry and residency. It requires for foreign nationals to enter the country under two basic categories, either as tourists or residents.
Those who enter the country as tourists are only required to purchase a tourist card at the airport which will allows a stay of thirty days. Once this period is up, the foreigner will be required to leave the country. For those who stay beyond the time allotted by the government, penalties will be applied at the airport upon leaving the country.
The Regulation stipulates that the foreign national that wishes to reside permanently in the country or stay for a period of up to a year, must obtain a residency visa via the Dominican Consulate in their country of origin. Residency visas are issued to those who fall under one of the following categories:
- Marriage to a citizen
- Investors or retirees
- Those who come under work contracts
- Members of a religious organization coming to the country carry out activities of a religious nature (see Needgreaters)
Once the visa is issued it is good for sixty days and valid for one entry into the country. The foreigner will be required to make an appearance at the Immigration office within the sixty day period in order to initiate the process for provisional residency. Other types of visas include diplomatic visa, tourist visa, work visa and student visa. Requirements for the different types of visas are listed in the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs www.serex.gov.do.
In the case of those who have resided in the Dominican Republic as tourists for a long period of time and can prove same (by means of title to properties, vehicle, rental agreements, and utility bills) a residency visa can be processed in the Dominican Republic via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Those cases are analyzed on an individual basis and in case of approval; the foreigner will not have to travel back to his/her home country to petition a residency visa.
Provisional residency is granted for a period of one year. The foreign national must renew provisional residency annually for a period of four years until the fifth year when they will qualify for permanent residency. Once permanent residency is granted it must be renewed every four years.
Migracion is now requiring that all who apply for residency do so with the aid of legal representation. The lawyers must be registered and their identification numbers and legal I.D. must appear in the legal paperwork filed with Migracion, also when appearing at Migracion accompanied by their client.
Does the Dominican Republic Deport Foreigners?
The Immigration laws have always stipulated that foreigners who don’t adhere to the laws of the land are subject to deportation. The following are some of the reasons that will result in the deportation of a foreigner:
- Entry into Dominican territory illegally
- Residing in Dominican territory illegally
- Using false documentation in the residency process
- Having communicable diseases
- Involvement in illegal activities (drug trafficking, prostitution etc)
The Director of Migration has been adamant about implementing this regulation to the foot of the letter. This new regulation serves the purpose of establishing order among the foreign community and also serves as a deterrent for criminals coming to the country under false pretenses to carry illicit business practices. The Director and the Minister of Foreign Affairs have been working jointly to enforce the regulation with no exceptions.
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