Dominican Republic: Several new rules affecting foreign workers’ residency applications

The Dominican Republic has announced several changes affecting companies sponsoring foreign workers for temporary residency permits.

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What does the change mean? The changes include a new rule on insurance coverage of residency applicants, a 30-day deadline for foreign workers to apply for residency (previously 60 days), and an optional VIP service providing expedited 40-day processing of residency applications for an additional government fee.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Temporary residency permits.
  • Who is affected: Foreign employees applying for temporary residency.
  • Impact on processing times: The optional VIP service will significantly reduce processing from 90 business days to 40.
  • Business impact: Businesses should pay attention to the new mandatory insurance coverage program and the shorter deadline for foreign employees to apply for residency, as monetary penalties will be imposed on late filers. The temporary residency card issued to the employee will no longer be tied to the employer, allowing the employee to change employers more easily.

Key changes:

Insurance. Employers sponsoring foreign employees and family members for residency applications must purchase insurance coverage for 5,000 Dominican pesos (about US$109) per individual, and present proof of coverage when applying for residency. The insurance covers foreign nationals in the event of death, criminality, repatriation and other situations. Previously, a guarantor was required, but this program replaces the need for a guarantor in the residency process.

New deadline. Foreign nationals entering the Dominican Republic with an NM1 work permit now have 30 days to submit their residency application, and late filers will be fined 5,000 pesos. RS visa holders with a 60-day duration who do not file the residence application within 30 days will be fined 5,000 pesos and those who do not file within 60 days will be fined 10,000 pesos per person.

Expedited service. For an additional government fee of 5,000 pesos per individual, foreign nationals may apply for expedited 40-day processing of their residency applications, allowing them to obtain their residence card faster. The residence card is useful for withdrawing household shipments exempt from customs taxes and for traveling in and out of the country without incurring penalties for staying in the country without an approved residence permit.

BAL Analysis: Companies sponsoring foreign employees and dependents should note the new insurance requirement and deadline for filing residency applications to avoid delays and penalties. The VIP service provides several benefits that will save time and hassles for foreign nationals relocating to the Dominican Republic.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in the Dominican Republic. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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