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Dominican Republic Information:  Residency - Real Estate - Banking - Investing - Citizenship  




The Ultimate Guide to . . . . .

The Dominican Republic

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    Dominican Republic Information & News...... 2014






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Residency, Dual Citizenship & Expatriation
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About The Author:  This article was written by John Schroder.  John has been living in the Dominican Republic for 15 years to date, and during that time has been helping clients with residency, citizenship, incorporation and banking assistance services as well.  You can contact him via the information mentioned at the bottom of this page.
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Possibly you have made up your mind to live in another country - to expatriate as it were.  Maybe you are just thinking about it.  Regardless, there certainly are some myths and falsehoods floating around - especially among Americans principally when it comes to matters related to Expatriation, Residency in your new country and Dual Citizenship as well.
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First off, the topic of expatriation - The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as follows:  Medieval Latin expatriatus, past participle of expatriare to leave one's own country - 1: to withdraw (oneself) from residence in or allegiance to one's native country, 2: to leave one's native country to live elsewhere; also to renounce allegiance to one's native country. 
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In other words, the term expatriate could refer to someone that simply has decided to live in another country or it could refer to someone that has decided to renounce previous citizenship as well.  Both definitions apply.  So, for example, you are an expatriate if you are an American that decided to retire to say Ecuador, or where-ever else for that matter, but of course maintain your existing citizenship as well.  Simply moving to another country does not mean you loose your existing citizenship, just as obtaining legal residency status in your new country does not jeopardize your existing nationality or citizenship either (more on this in a moment).  So, becoming an expatriate does not mean you are a criminal or some kind of anti-patriotic malcontent - nor does it mean that you have necessarily renounced or relinquished your previous citizenship either (although this is something you could do as well).  It simply could be that you decided to live in Thailand or the Dominican Republic, for example, because in such places you can live very well on your US$2,000 per month pension (whereas this is near impossible in many parts of the US or Europe).  Some people do of course take it a step further, and seek to become a citizen of their new country as well.  But again, dual citizenship is recognized and perfectly legal in many countries around the world.  However, choosing a country because of residency and or citizenship requirements can be just as important of a factor as climate, real estate prices, and so on.  Important because perhaps the requirements are too restrictive for you, too costly in terms of real estate purchase or other kinds of investment - or perhaps not - as the case may be.
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So, let us discuss residency first and then move on to dual citizenship as the next progression thereafter.  It is important to note that in your new country, one should obey the local laws and adhere to whatever legal requirements might exist.  In terms of immigration or residency matters, each country of course has their own set of rules and requirements.  In fact, this alone may be an important point to decide where you wish to live as well.  For example, in places such as the Turks and Ciacos Islands, in order to qualify for residency status, one must demonstrate a fairly expensive home purchase and or investment.  This is true also for the Bahamas, and a number of other destinations as well.  So, as an illustration, if you are not prepared to spend say US$300,000 for a second home - then that may eliminate such jurisdictions from the list of consideration.  Also, keep in mind that in can be almost impossible to obtain naturalization (ability to become a citizen) in the Turks and Caicos, so you must remain with residency status alone (and are subject to the whims of local government if they want to renew your residency status or not, and if not - you have a problem, especially after spending a considerable amount of money on a home purchase).  This was the very recent case in the Turks and Caicos, whereby many foreigners were forced to leave simply because the local political tide turned against them (and renewal of residency status refused).
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In contrast, countries such as the Dominican Republic have a fairly straight-forward process for obtaining residency, and should you wish to learn about the options in the Dominican Republic Specifically, we encourage you to read the information about that topic in one of the other articles on this web site (see list of articles on the main section).
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Naturalization in your new country, whether you decide to maintain dual citizenship (have two citizenships and thus two passports) or relinquish your previous one is often a natural progression for some people, but certainly not all.  However, in today's climate both in Europe and in the US, many people decide to obtain another citizenship out of investment necessity.  To explain further, any American that has attempted to open a banking or investment account in Switzerland and a host of other jurisdictions, will find the door closed to them simply because they are American.  Is it somehow illegal for an American to open a bank or investment account abroad?  Not at all, and neither is there any law or regulation prohibiting a bank in say Ireland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, etc. to accept an American client either.  They simply will not do so, because they feel it is more hassle than worthwhile (hassle and aggravation from the American IRS to name just one).  It is interesting to note that for Americans, as just stated, a foreign account is perfectly legal - IF you can find a bank or broker to take you on as a customer (which is actually the latest problem).
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Europeans also have a problem in countries such as Switzerland now that the European Union has gone into full force, and has recently started pressuring tax reporting (and tax collection) when a citizen from one EU nation has an account in another.  Switzerland is not a member of the EU, but they have certainly been feeling the heat.  So, many Europeans as well are interested to become a citizen of Brazil, Costa Rica, where ever - simply for banking purposes also.  But banking or investing is not the only reason one might consider a dual nationality.  Travel is another concern, all depending upon what former country you come from.  To be sure, I know of many people that would prefer to travel as a Dominican, or a Costa Rican, etc. rather than their previous nation of citizenship (always better to be from some peaceful country not involved in politics or war elsewhere).  Of course the reasons for seeking dual nationality or dual citizenship do not stop there.  Some countries for example have more favorable tax legislation when it comes to inheritance matters.  Many others do NOT tax its citizens on interest or earnings from outside the country as well, so there are indeed many reasons on a personal level for someone to have an interest in this topic.
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One of the most troublesome things about the topic of dual citizenship (and residency also) is the lack of knowledge most people have.  Which is to say, they often rely upon rumor, innuendo or simply bad information to formulate an opinion.  Many Americans especially are ill informed.  However, as the so-called wealthy, industrialized welfare states find themselves mired in banking problems that have resulted in tax-payer funded bailouts, national or government debt surpassing 100 percent of annual GDP, and probably worse of all - unfunded or underfunded social welfare obligations (including national government run pension programs, such as Social Security in the US) - - - The result of all that has been a growing number of middle class people that are leaving (with their money if possible).  The political backlash to this phenomena of course has been tirades and legislation aimed at either taxing such persons before they leave with their cash (they could care less if you leave, they just want your money), or threats against citizenship status as well.  So, it may very well be the case that your hand is forced to renounce your previous (or current) citizenship not because you want to, but because you are left with no other choice (for survival).   
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In any event, the question remains: Do you become a legal resident of your new country or do you eventually become a citizen?  That is entirely up to you, and certainly a very personal decision for each individual.  But, the important point is, investigate the TRUTH and know the facts regardless of what you decide.


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