Dominican Republic Citizenship:
What Are The Different Kinds Of Citizenship Applications ?
regards to filing for citizenship in the Dominican Republic,
there are basically two types of applications: one for
naturalized citizenship and another for children born abroad
to Dominican Citizens, and spouses of Dominican Citizens
(these last two are in essence similar applications in how
they are processed). The difference between these two
categories basically is that the first (naturalized
citizenship) is granted via Presidential Decree and this the
legal department of the executive branch is involved in the
process along with the legal department of the Interior
Ministry. The latter category (spouse and children) do
not require Presidential Decree and thus are handled by the
legal department of the Interior Ministry alone. As a
result of that, the spouse and children applications tend to
be processed much quicker than the naturalized citizenship
applications. However, just as with the naturalized
citizenship application process, all applicants (except young
children) will be required to participate in an interview done
in Spanish whereby applicants are required to answer questions
about the country (date of independence, date the constitution
was ratified, name of the current President and other similar
Dominican Republic Naturalized Citizenship Application
In terms of the naturalized citizenship process, clients would reach this point by either completing two years of definitive or permanent residency of ordinary residency status (5 years of provisional residency and then 2 years of definitive or permanent residency, for a total of 7 years) or after completing 6 months of definitive or permanent residency under the investor residency status (see our other section regarding application for residency).
The documents required for the naturalized citizenship application process include an original or official abstract of the applicants birth certificate from the birth country with apostille, police good conduct report or letter with apostille from the clients passport issuing country (the country of the passport they currently hold and or where they held previous legal residence prior to the Dominican Republic), and of course local documents such as copies of existing residency and Cedula cards.
Depending upon the type of application (application based upon holding investor residency versus ordinary residency) will also determine the additional documents deposited. Clients applying under the investor paradigm must also include documentation regarding pension, income or investment along with the other documents already mentioned.
These applications are initially handled by the Interior Ministry, but such applicants will be granted naturalized citizenship via Presidential Decree. For this reason, after the Interior Ministry has completed their own revue and diligence, the file is passed onto the legal department of the executive branch awaiting inclusion on the respective citizenship decree to be issued by the President's office. Such decrees are normally done once a month and may contain up to about 30 names of individuals being granted citizenship. Such files are sent over in batch to the executive branch by the Interior Ministry and applicant files are placed into a cue, with names added onto respective degrees based upon cue position. For this reason, it may take a few months for an applicant's name to appear on the respective Presidential Decree granting citizenship.
Once the Presidential Decree is issued, the next step for the applicant is registration for the swearing in ceremony administered by the Interior Ministry. These swearing in ceremonies are usually held once a month at the end of the month and there also is a limit to the number of applicants at each ceremony. So once a list for one month is filled up with the number of names, remaining names are added onto the proceeding month, and so on. It is certainly possible that if there is a large back log of people awaiting to attend the swearing in ceremony, and because of restraints on space, it could take a few months for an applicant to be able to participate in the swearing in ceremony for themselves.
It is at this swearing in ceremony that persons are given their respective documents regarding completion of the citizenship process including the naturalization certificate, copy of the Presidential Decree granting citizenship and other related documents.
Citizenship For Spouse and Children of Dominican Citizens Born Abroad
1. Citizenship For Spouse
The regulations or requirements for this category were recent changed (in late 2015) so that ALL spouses of Dominican Citizens, regardless if husband or wife, MUST apply for and acquire Dominican Republic Residency as the first step (previously wives could apply directly for citizenship without the residency requirement whereas husbands always needed to apply for residency as part of the requirement).
In this regard, all such applicants would apply for the residency visa first at the Dominican Consulate in their home country, and then apply for residency with the Department of Immigration in the Dominican Republic upon physical arrival.
Once persons have completed 6 months as holders of residency status, regardless of which category, and providing such persons have been married at least 6 months to the Dominican Citizen, then at that time they may apply for citizenship based upon the marriage as the qualifier. All of the other documents and processes are the same as for the ordinary naturalized citizenship process with the exception that such applications are NOT required to be sent to the legal department of the President's office. This of course means that these kinds of applications are usually processed quicker than the ordinary naturalized citizenship applications.
2. Children Born Abroad To Dominican Citizenship
Children born abroad to Dominican Citizens may certainly apply for and acquire Dominican Citizenship based upon the fact they are children of existing Dominican Citizens. However, the age of the child will determine some of the preliminary steps in completing this kind of application.
Applications for children 12 years and younger are usually not required to take the question and answer interview mentioned above, but children aged 13 and older will be required to do so (as all adults).
At least one of the parents MUST be a natural born or naturalized citizen and related citizenship and identity documents regarding the parents will be deposited along with documentation for the child.
Our office assists with all aspects of the citizenship filing process including preparation of the citizenship application, preparation of our clients for the question and answer interview, attendance with the client for the swearing in ceremony and assistance with procurement of passport (and other related documents).
One interesting facet of the citizenship process in the Dominican Republic is the registration of a birth certificate for the new citizen along with a naturalization certificate. In such cases, the information on the existing client's birth certificate will be used and extracted, and a Dominican Birth Certificate document recorded in the civil registry. This is quite unique and different from what is often done in other countries for new citizens but the various government bureaucracies in the country function off of or use the birth certificate document. Therefore, ALL new naturalized citizens and natural born citizens have a Dominican Birth Certificate. As an example of this, the passport office in the Dominican Republic will NOT issue a passport unless the applicant can present their Dominican Birth Certificate along with other related documents.
John Schroder is the author of this article and his firm, Ascot Advisory Services, has been assisting clients for 17 years in The Dominican Republic with residency applications, citizenship applications, banking and investment accounts, and other legal services (real estate contracts and title transfer, company formation services).