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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Interview with Maria Abreu

Immigration Attorney, Dominican Republic

Sometimes our Readers will ask us about residency in another country and what the benefits might be. Others like the idea of obtaining a second passport. We are delighted to present to you an interview with an immigration attorney for the Dominican Republic, Maria Abreu. She shares her expertise with you and sheds light on the topic of immigration.

Maria Abreu, Immigration Attorney, Dominican Republic

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REL: Maria, could you tell us a little about yourself? We understand that you are American born and that you speak Spanish fluently is that correct?

Maria Abreu: I was born in the U.S. and I have been living in the DR for the last ten years. I established a law firm five years ago, and have offices in both the Capital, Santo Domingo and Cabrera, a town on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Yes, I was born in the U.S. in the state of Delaware and lived most of my life in New York. I speak fluent Spanish.

 

REL: Where did you go to law school?

MA: I went to St. Johnīs University in New York and UAPA in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Juan Dolio Beach just outside the capitol city of Santo Domingo

REL: What brought you to the Dominican Republic?

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MA: My husband and I wanted to have a better quality of life and to invest in a country with a growing economy. This is a country where you can live well with all of the comforts with a minimal amount per month. We love the culture and the country is beautiful so it was not difficult to make the decision to move here.

REL: How long have you been practicing law and what sort of law do you specialize in while living in the Dominican Republic?

MA: I have been practicing for twenty years and I specialize in immigration law.

REL: What are the benefits of having residency in the DR?

MA: There are many benefits. A resident may enter the country without the need to buy a $10.00 tourist visa upon arrival. Non-resident beneficiaries must pay a 50% surcharge on estate taxes whereas a resident does not have to pay this surcharge.

If you are a resident, you are allowed to bring in your household items, ranging from kitchen appliances to furniture tax-free and can import a vehicle with tax exemption.

Residents can travel without a round-trip ticket and they can obtain a Dominicanís driverís license as foreign driverís licenses are only valid for 90 days.

REL: How long would one expect to wait to have their paperwork finished to become a resident of the DR?

MA: This process takes six to eight months.

Dominican Republic is a short distance off the coast of Florida

REL: Tell us the benefits of having a second passport.

MA: With a Dominican Passport you can invest in offshore unit trusts or mutual funds and you can buy and rent out property wherever you choose without punitive taxation. U.S. citizens are subject to tax wherever they work and live in the world. But a second passport can open opportunities for sheltering income and protecting assets.

REL: How long would one expect to wait to have a second passport issued to them?

MA: The wait time varies. The requirement to get a second passport is that the applicant holds permanent residency status for two consecutive years, since retirees qualify for permanent residency based on their monthly income, they can qualify for a second passport within two years of obtaining residency.

 

REL: Does one have to live in the DR to obtain residency or a second passport?

MA: No, in fact most of my clients who are permanent residents and/or citizens do not live in the country.

REL: What kind of income does one need to have to be able to qualify for residency in the DR? Any other requirements?

MA: In order to qualify for permanent residency as a retiree, the applicant must earn a minimum of US$1,500 per month (US$250 for additional family members such as a spouse). An applicant may also qualify as a foreign investor by proving an income of US$2,000 per month from investments such as property rental, shares in a private company, annuities, etc. Or they can become domestic investors by investing a minimum of US$200,000 in a Dominican company or financial institution such as a bank (for instance, a five year CD). All others may qualify for provisional residency.

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REL: What is the cost for residency or a second passport? What about renewals?

MA: The cost for residency oscillates from US$2,800 to US$3,000 depending on the category of residency applied for (permanent or provisional). This is the total cost for the process which includes legal fees. Provisional residents will be required to renew annually for four consecutive years until the fifth year when they can apply for permanent residency which is renewable every four years. Renewal of provisional residency is US$650 per year. Permanent residency as a retiree or investor is renewable every two years and the cost us US$700. The cost for the naturalization process (second passport) is US$2,500.

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We at Retire Early Lifestyle would like to thank Maria for her time in answering all our questions about residency and a second passport and we thank her for sharing her expertise.

For more stories on the Dominican Republic, Click Here

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

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