Avoid pitfalls in your medical exam for Dominican Republic residency
When foreign nationals apply for residency, they go through various steps. First, they process a visa with the DR consulate in their country of origin. Once the visa is issued, they have 60 days to enter the DR in order to apply for residency via the immigration department. One of the requirements for obtaining residency is a medical exam that must be performed by a medical facility that is authorized by the immigration department.
Once the foreign national enters the country, the entry stamp that is placed on the passport must be sent to the immigration authorities along with a complete file. Upon receiving the file and entry stamp, the authorities make sure that everything is in order and that applicable government taxes have been paid. The authorities then authorize a medical exam.
Here is what you should know:
The exam is purely for residency purposes and as such the foreign national and their attorney do not receive the results of the exam. The exam results are sent by the medical facility straight to the immigration authorities.
The exam consists of a blood and urine test as well as a chest x-ray. There is also an interview regarding the foreign national’s medical history and whether they are taking medication. The exam ascertains whether the foreign national suffers from communicable diseases, information that is essential for such a small island. Not requiring a medical exam would leave the country open to diseases that could quickly become an epidemic. Additionally, the exams identify drug abuse. Naturally, habitual drug abuse and/or communicable diseases could cause a residency application to be denied.
If the foreign national is taking regular medication, local lawyer and immigration expert Maria Abreu recommends that they take their prescription and medication to the exam in order to be totally transparent with the authorities. Ms. Abreu argues that the prescription not only demonstrates that the medication is legally prescribed, but it also shows the quantity of the medication and the reason for taking it. This is particularly important for pain-control medication due to traces of opiates that could be detected in the medical exam. Likewise, the lawyer advises that the foreign national mentions having had hepatitis even if they have been subsequently treated for it and have it fully under control. The hepatitis antibodies may show up in the exam so transparency in the interview is essential. If possible, medical records and letters from doctors in the country of origin should be translated and brought to the interview as supporting evidence.
If the foreign national fails the medical exam, the immigration authorities allow the foreign national to retake the exam. Immigration usually acknowledges that human error can happen and that sometimes situations are beyond the foreign national’s control; for example, second-hand smoke may be unavoidable. Depending on the results of the retake, the decision to deny residency due to the medical results is either upheld or overruled.
The medical exam is an important step in the residency process and the residency applicant should be prepared in _____________________________
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: [email protected].