Expats' Corner October 27, 2022 | 11:19 am

Past convictions hanging over your present Dominican residency chances

The DR takes crime seriously, which is why it is such a safe place to live compared to other countries. However, the DR is also a pragmatic country, viewing and solving issues in a sensible way appropriate for the situation and conditions at hand. This pragmatism transcends all aspects of Dominican society, and in particular immigration authorities take a sensible approach to granting residency to applicants who have previous convictions in their country.

There are four important factors that residency applicants must consider when applying for DR residency if their police check (also colloquially known as a police record or a police clearance) is not clean: the type of offence, the time of the offence, the severity of the offence, and the frequency of the offence.

Speaking to Maria Abreu, a local attorney specializing in immigration law, Dominican Today learned about a client who was concerned about a misdemeanor that had happened in the USA decades prior to his residency application yet was nonetheless continuing to show up on his US police check. Her client was worried that the misdemeanor would thwart his chances of obtaining DR residency despite him having been married to a DR citizen for nineteen years and simply wishing to retire on the Caribbean island. Depending on their severity, offenses that happened five or more years prior to the residency application do not usually hinder the application. The incident had taken place decades prior to his residency application and was for a minor misdemeanor, so the authorities would take a pragmatic approach and deem it irrelevant considering the grander scheme of the gentleman having been happily married to a DR citizen for such a long time.

If the applicant committed a major felony and had consequently served time, irrespective of how long ago the incident took place, the immigration authorities in the DR would most likely refuse his residency application. Likewise, if the candidate had continually been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances, the authorities would probably reject the residency application due to the frequency of the offense as the person could not prove that he would not be a danger or burden to society.


Maria Abreu is the CEO and Managing Attorney of Abreu & Associates, a law firm practicing exclusively in Dominican Republic Immigration and Nationality law. She is also the founder of Retire and Invest DR. This organization hosts conference events for foreigners interested in living, retiring, and investing in the DR. You can contact Maria at: mabreu@abreuimmigration.com.

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October 28, 2022 11:00 am

driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances – what a joke…. I see daily ppl walking out of there cars with beers (the driver)?

November 5, 2022 8:21 pm
Reply to  there

Everyone is trippin’ here…few more degenerates wouldn’t tip the scale…!!!