The truth about getting Dominican citizenship through marriage
By: Maria Abreu
Foreigners often ask, “Can I get citizenship in the DR if I marry a Dominican citizen?” First, you need to understand the difference between residency and citizenship.
Residency means you are an official resident and have the right to stay in that country for whatever period your type of residency allows. It could be temporary and for a set period, or it could be permanent. And, of course, as a resident, you can open a bank account and buy property.
On the other hand, there’s citizenship. You can apply for a national ID card and then a passport. Plus, you’d get to vote in local and national elections.
Many people want a second passport as their “Plan B” if things get rough back home. A passport may not be what you want, but if it is, then your goal is citizenship.
And here’s how you can get there…
Fast-track residency gives you permanent residency. After six months of having permanent residency, you can apply for citizenship. Once granted, you get a naturalization certificate, and with that, you can apply for your local ID card and, finally, a passport. To get fast-track residency, you must have US$1,500 a month as a pensioner, US$2,000 a month of passive income, or an investment in the DR of US$200,000. As you can see, the speed at which you can get citizenship is excellent, but you must meet at least one of the three requirements mentioned above.
Temporary residency is an alternative. After five years of having a temporary residency, you can apply for a permanent residency. Two years after that, you can apply for citizenship. This process is slower, but you don’t need to invest US$200,000, for example.
Citizenship through marriage is another way of getting a Dominican passport. You can enter the DR as a temporary resident, and after six months, if you have been married to a Dominican for two years, you can apply straight for citizenship. This is a far quicker route to the end goal, and again, you’re avoiding that US$200,000 investment requirement.
Residency and citizenship are not things you should decide overnight, though. I’d advise you to take a step back, get an idea of your end goal, and then determine how you’ll get there.
Maria Abreu is the CEO and Managing Attorney of Abreu & Associates, a law firm practicing exclusively in the area of Dominican Republic Immigration and Nationality law. She is also the founder of Retire and Invest DR, an organization that hosts conference events for foreigners interested in living, retiring, and investing in the DR. You can contact Maria at [email protected].