More about the fast track path to residency and naturalization. Based on some questions and comments we have received about our earlier immigration post, I think we should delve a little deeper into the whole question about the new fast track program. We have seen one question pop up several times. “Is that 6 month thing really correct”?
Barry: Would you take a moment and remind us about the NEW fast track immigration program open to real estate investors just so we are all on the same page.
Attorney: Sure Barry. As I described, the fast track immigration path is open only to certain foreign nationals meeting certain qualifications. In general these foreign nationals are rewarded for their investment in the country through a much faster path to citizenship. This fast track program is administered through the Investment Department of the Immigration Department of the government.
Barry: I recall that one of the big benefits of participating in the fast track program is that a foreign national can short cut the process from up to 7 years all the way down to only a little over 6 months.
Attorney: That is correct. If a foreign national qualifies as an investor or retiree with a pension of 1,500 per month or other foreign income of 2,000 per month. As an investor the foreign national has two options. The traditional way is to invest at least $200,000 in a new or existing DR corporation which works out well for someone starting a moderate to large size business in the DR. Or, the NEW path is to simply invest at least $200,000 in real estate, either land or a home. This NEW provision opens up the fast track to many more expats.
Barry: I know one of the questions we have received after the last post is whether there was a mistake in the 6 month timeline that you mentioned…
Attorney: That is understandable. I mentioned that those who obtain residency as retirees, foreign or domestic investors can qualify for naturalization within six months of being issued their residency cards. A good number of people have contacted me to ascertain the veracity of this information as all research conducted by them on the net has revealed that only foreign nationals who hold residency status for two years qualify for naturalization.
Barry: Yes, that is what I was referring to. Would you mind setting us straight on that.
Attorney: Ok, Please allow me to set the record straight.
The requirement remains that foreign nationals only qualify for naturalization after holding permanent residency status for two consecutive years IN THE CASE OF THOSE WHO GO THROUGH ORDINARY RESIDENCY.
Ordinary residency is the form of residency that the majority of foreigners apply for, which involves four years of provisional residency and then applying for permanent residency. In those cases, foreigners can apply for permanent residency after holding provisional residency status for four consecutive years and can apply for naturalization after holding two years of permanent residency.
Barry: So you are saying that a foreign national that goes through the normal residency process will probably not qualify for citizenship and a second passport for 6 to 7 years.
Attorney: That’s correct. That is why the fast track system is so beneficial.
The concession of applying for naturalization six months after being issued a residency card is only grated to foreign nationals WHO OBTAIN PERMANENT RESIDENCY THROUGH THE INVESTMENT DEPARTMENT IN THE IMMIGRATION. Keep in mind these folks never go through provisional residency but because of their status as investors and/or retirees are granted permanent residency from the outset. As an added incentive these foreign nationals are permitted the option of applying for naturalization in a relatively short period of time. This is an incentive programs set forth by the Dominican government to attract foreign investors and retirees.
Barry: Thanks for clearing that up. I am looking forward to future discussions about other incentive programs and how to best take advantage of the fact that the Dominican government wants to welcome foreign nationals.
If you would like to ask more questions about immigration or explore how you can best take advantage of these new incentive programs, I suggest you click on the blue PassportDR box on the DR Escapes website to qualify for your own FREE consultation with one of our immigration specialists.