FAQ

Residency:

At Prestige Realty we not only sell condos and villas and oceanfront land, we help you get settled in. The Dominican Republic is one of the most welcoming countries in the world. Applicants for resident status must be in good health, have sufficient means and a clean police record. The application may be filed while the applicant is present in the country under a tourist card or visa. A foreign national who has lived in the Dominican Republic as a permanent resident for two years or in certain cases, six months, may apply for Dominican citizenship (naturalization). Naturalization is not automatic but granted at the discretion of the government. There is no economic citizenship program in the Dominican Republic providing for automatic citizenship upon the investment of certain amount of funds in the country.
Depending on which lawyer you use, fees for your provisional residency are approx. $US 1,800 per person. We have a very good lawyer who will process a couple for $1100 per person. The process to get your provisional residency can take up to 3 months.

At Prestige Realty we help you find the right lawyers and contacts to make this all happen.

The main advantages of having your residency are:

A legal resident can work and conduct a business in the Dominican Republic. Non-residents do work here all the time but there can be complications.
2) A resident is allowed to bring in duty free his household items, ranging from kitchen appliances, to furniture (Article 13 of Law #146-00). A non-resident must pay applicable duties on these goods.
3) A non-resident cannot sue a Dominican national or a legal resident in court without posting a bond, usually quite high. A legal resident is exempt from this requirement.
4) In case of inheritance, a non-resident beneficiary must pay a 50% surcharge on applicable estate taxes; residents are not subject to this surcharge.
5) For many foreigners interested in not paying taxes in their home countries on income earned outside their home country, it is a prerequisite to obtain residency status in another country.
6) A resident can enter the Dominican Republic without having to buy a tourist card; a non-resident must obtain a visa or buy a tourist card.

At Prestige Realty we help you find the right lawyers and contacts to make this all happen.
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Exit Tax Due When You Stay More Than One Month Without Residency:

Time In the DR:

Amount to pay on leaving

30 days and 3 months

$22 USD RD $800.00

90 days and 9 months

$29 USD RD $1,000.00

De 9 months to 1 year

$72 USD RD $2,500.00

1 year to 1 year 6 months

$116 USD RD $4,000.00

1 year 6 months to 2 years

$143 USD RD $5,000.00

2 years to 2 years 6 months

$185 USD RD $6,500.00

2 years 6 months to 3 years

$257 USD RD $9,000.00

3 years to 5 years

$400 USD RD $14,000.00

5 years and more

$485 USD RD $17,000.00

As you can see, many people will choose not to get a residency for $2000 per couple when they can pay less to stay for years at a time. It works out to around $100 per year per person more or less. This opportunity may be changing.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Residence Visa New Law As Of June 2012

DESCRIPTION

This type of visa is granted for foreigners whose purpose is to live in the
Dominican Republic permanently. The visa is valid for 60 days and for one
entry. Once in the Dominican Republic, the beneficiary of this visa must report
to the Department of Migration to formalize the steps of his/her residence, and
must complete the additional requirements established by the Dominican
government.

REQUIREMENTS

1. Visa form duly filled and typed or hand written in clear print. Available at the consular office or on the web site www.consuladord.com, to be filled online.

2. One (1) picture size 4 x 5 inches, front and white background.

3. Original passport valid for a term similar or greater than the duration of the visa requested.

4. Documents to justify or support the reason for requesting the visa, for instance: for being Dominican (s) by origin; or being married to a Dominican citizen or a legal resident in the Dominican Republic; or for having Dominican parents; or for been a retired or beneficiary of a pension, or for being and investor.

5. Medical certificate showing the general health condition of the applicant and indicating if he/she has a contagious disease. The certificate must be issued by health authorities of the last country in which the applicant lived, certified by a Notary Public and authenticated by the Dominican consul.

6. Certificate of good behavior issued by the relevant authorities of the last country in which the applicant lived. Not needed for minors.

7. Authorization granted by the parents or legal custodian, in case of minors when the visa is not requested by the father or mother. In this case, the parents living in a foreign country shall declare his/her agreement for the other parent to take the minor to live in the Dominican Republic.

8. Readable copy of the identity card from the country of origin of the applicant and readable copy of the residency card from the country in which the applicant lives.

9. Birth certificate, translated to Spanish by an official translator.

Steps Involved in a Real Estate Transaction

Preliminary Steps: Real estate purchases in the Dominican Republic do not always follow the North American pattern of a written offer tendered by the buyer to the seller, followed by the seller's written acceptance. At Prestige Realty we follow the North American pattern. Instead, after verbal agreement is reached by the buyer and seller on the price, a binding Promise of Sale is prepared by an attorney (solicitor) or notary public which is signed by both parties. Notaries in the Dominican Republic are required to have a law degree. At Prestige Realty we follow the North American pattern and we start with a written offer and a signed acceptance before we move on to the Promise Of Sale. This is for the protection of buyer and seller.

It is recommended that the prospective buyer retain a real estate attorney (solicitor) before signing any documents or making a deposit. Depending on the wishes of the parties, the attorney (solicitor) may proceed with the due diligence first, before preparing the Promise of Sale, or alternatively, prepare the Promise of Sale first, conditioning the purchase to the results of the due diligence to be done in a specified term. At Prestige Realty we work only with the best of lawyers.

Promise of Sale:

This a formal document, binding on both parties, and signed by them in the presence of a Notary Public. From a practical point of view, it is more important than the Deed of Sale, since it generally contains a complete and detailed description of the entire transaction up to the time when the purchase price has been paid in full and the property is ready to be conveyed to the buyer. A well-drafted Promise of Sale should contain at least the following provisions:


(a) Full name and particulars of the parties. If the seller is married, the spouse must also sign.

(b) Legal description of the property to be purchased.

(c) Purchase price and payment terms.

(d) Default clause.

(e) Date of delivery of the property.

(f) Due diligence required or done.

(g) Representations by the seller and remedies in case of misrepresentation.

(h) Obligation by seller of signing the Deed of Sale upon receipt of final payment.


Many attorneys (solicitors) and notaries in the Dominican Republic do not protect the buyer adequately in the Promise of Sale. Among the most common deficiencies are the following:


(a) The buyer is allowed to pay a large percentage of the price of sale without any security or direct interest over the property. In case of misuse of these funds, the buyer's remedies may be limited to suing the seller personally. Many condo buyers in Santo Domingo have suffered through this experience in the last few years. Generally, the developer uses the buyers' funds, along with a bank loan, to finance the construction. The bank collaterizes the loan with a mortgage on the property. If the developer runs into financial difficulties or misappropriates the funds, the bank forecloses and the buyers lose both their money and "their" property. At Prestige Realty we make sure you are protected.

(b) Payments are not conditioned on the availability of clear title or the adequate progress of construction. Sellers, therefore, may demand payment or place the buyer in default without performing their own basic obligations.

(c) Escrow agents are rarely used. The seller, therefore, has control over the funds as they are paid. At Prestige Realty we make sure you are protected by keeping the fund in YOUR lawyers escrow account until the project is completed. We also do hold-backs until the Title is cleared.

Deed of Sale ("Contrato de Venta"): This is also a formal document binding on both parties, and signed by them in the presence of a Notary Public. It is used primarily for the purpose of conveying the property from the seller to the buyer.

In case of a cash purchase, it is simpler and cheaper to go directly from verbal negotiations to the signing of a "Contrato de Venta", instead of taking the preliminary step of signing a Promise of Sale.

Determination and Payment of Transfer and Registry Taxes: The authenticated Deed of Sale is taken to the nearest Internal Revenue Office where a request is made for the appraisal of the property. The Internal Revenue Office checks if the seller is in compliance with his tax obligations and selects an inspector to do the appraisal. The determination of the amount of taxes to be paid may take a few days or weeks, depending on the availability of the property inspector.

Filing at the Registry of Title: Once the property has been appraised and taxes paid, the Deed of Sale and the Certificate of Title of the seller are deposited, along with the documentation provided by Internal Revenue, at the Title Registry Office for the jurisdiction where the property is located.

Certificate of Title: At the Title Registry Office, the sale is recorded and a new Certificate of Title is issued in the name of the buyer. The property belongs to the buyer from the time the sale is recorded at the Registry. The time for the issuance of the new Certificate of Title may vary from a few days to a few months depending on the Title Registry Office where the sale was recorded.

Due Diligence

Many attorneys (solicitors) in the Dominican Republic do not perform the required due diligence on real estate transactions, limiting themselves in many cases to obtaining a certification on the status of the property from the Title Registry Office. It often happens that the real estate agent and/or the seller pressure the buyer into a hurried closing despite the advice of legal counsel.

To start the due diligence, the seller should provide the buyer or the attorney with the following documents:

Copy of the Certificate of Title to the property.

Copy of the official survey to the property or plat plan. Under the new Property Registry Law, the sale of properties without a government-approved plat ("deslinde") cannot be recorded at the Registry, the sale of properties without a government-approved plot (Deslinde) cannot be recorded at the Registry, except in the following cases: (1) Sales executed before April 4, 2007, which may be recorded during a two-year period ending on April 4, 2009, and (2) Sales of the entire property executed after April 4, 2007 (sales of portions are not allowed), for just one time.

  • Copy of his or her identification card (C├ędula) or Passport and that of the spouse, if married.
  • Copy of the receipt showing the last property tax payment (IPI) or copy of the certificate stating that the property is exempt from property tax, and certification from the Internal Revenue Office (DGII) showing the seller is current with his or her tax obligations.
  • If the seller is a corporation:

  • Copy of the corporate documentation, including bylaws, up-to-date registration at the Mercantile Registry and resolution authorizing the sale.
  • Certification from the Internal Revenue Office (DGII) showing the corporation is current with its tax obligations, specially Income Tax and Tax on Assets.
  • If the property is part of a condominium:

  • Copy of the condominium declaration.
  • Copy of the condominium regulations.
  • Copy of the approved construction plans.
  • Certification from the condominium administration showing the seller is current with his or her condo dues.
  • Copies of the minutes of the last three condominium meetings.
  • _

    If the property is a house:
    • Copy of the approved construction plans.
    • Inventory of furniture, etc.
    • Copies of the utilities contracts and receipts showing that the seller is current.
    • Once the documentation listed above is obtained, the attorney should address every item on the following checklist:

    • Title Search: A certification should be obtained from the appropriate Title Registry Office regarding the status of the property, stating who the owner is and whether any mortgages, liens or encumbrances affect it. The buyer should insist that his or her attorney confirm the results of the Registrar=s search by investigating the pertinent files at the Title Registry Office.
    • Survey: An independent surveyor should verify that the property to be sold coincides with the one shown on the survey presented by the seller except when the property is located in a previously inspected subdivision. Cases have occurred in which a buyer acquires title over a property some distance away from the one he or she believes to be purchasing due to careless work by a previous surveyor or to fraud by the seller. The survey should be checked even when the seller provides a government-approved plat.
    • Inspection of Improvements: A qualified builder or architect should examine any improvements to be sold (house, condo) to confirm that the plans presented are correct and that the improvements are in good condition.
    • Permits: The attorney should confirm that the property to be purchased may be used for the purposes sought by the buyer. There are many legal restrictions which should be taken into account before purchasing. For example, Law 305 of 1968 establishes a 60-meter Amaritime zone@ along the entire Dominican coastline, measured from the high tide mark inland, which in effect converts all beaches into public property. No building is allowed within the maritime zone without a special permit from the Executive Branch. Also, in tourist areas, there are building restrictions administered by the Ministry of Tourism.
    • Possession: The attorney should check that the seller is in possession of the property. It should be ensured that no squatters= rights of any kind exist. Special precautions should be taken with unfenced properties outside known subdivisions. Fencing them before closing is advisable. If there are tenants on the property, the buyer should be informed that Dominican law is protective of a tenant=s rights and that evicting a recalcitrant tenant is time-consuming and expensive.
    • Employees: The seller should pay any employees working on the property their legal severance, otherwise the buyer may find himself liable for the payment later.
    • Utilities: The attorney or buyer should check that the seller does not have any utility bills pending by enquiring at the appropriate power distributor, water, cable and telephone companies.