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Dominican Republic - Citizenship

In order to become a Dominican citizen it is necessary to be a child of a Dominican citizen; be married to a Dominican; or to have lived in the country for at least 6 months after acquiring residency, with a total time in the country of at least two years and have a business, have bought real estate or have served in the Dominican Armed Forces. The advantages of being a citizen are that it is no longer necessary to renew residency or a foreign cedula which currently have to be renewed for a minimum of two years and a maximum of ten years. There are also fines imposed for renewing late, currently the cedula is fined at 500 pesos a month which is around US$13. The citizen will receive a Dominican cedula, with full voting rights, a Dominican birth certificate and a Dominican passport. As well as being able to vote, the citizen can also hold public office at all levels apart from that of President of the Republic.

In order to apply for citizenship once again it is best to use a lawyer. On paper the process should only take a few months, but in practise it can take several years. At various stages over the last few years there has been a backlog and no new citizenships were issued for a period of several months. The applicant has to submit birth certificate, colour copy of their passport, photographs, residency card, and an affidavit by a lawyer. Once all of the documentation has been received, an interview by the Department of the Interior will follow, all in Spanish with questions relating to the Dominican Republic, its geography, history, culture and institutions. Subsequently there is the swearing of the oath of allegiance to the Dominican Republic, followed by ratification by the President.

Having Dominican citizenship does not normally mean the renunciation of your home country’s citizenship, and most countries will allow you to be a citizen of both countries. However each individual should check before proceeding. However, if you have dual citizenship then you should be aware that the country you are in will take precedence, hence if you are a US or UK citizen as well as a Dominican citizen then the appropriate embassy will not assist you if you need it, whilst you are in the DR.

Useful Resources

Government immigration department

This guide was compiled with the help of Lindsay de Feliz, a British expat blogger living in the Dominican Republic. Visit her blog at yoursaucepans.blogspot.com.

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