Saturday, April 28, 2018

In recent months, probably because of the massive migratory push from countries such as Venezuela and Haiti, the Dominican authorities, after years of "laissez-faire" have started to apply more strictly the migratory law (Ley 285-04) entered into force 15 years ago but never applied until lately.

The practical consequences of this change of attitude of the migratory authorities closely affect many categories of travelers who habitually reach the Dominican Republic and stay there for long periods, in particular the tens of thousands of retirees and pensioners from North America and Europe who spend between 3 and 9 months a year on the island as tourists without regular residency documents and simply extending their stay beyond the 60 days limit for tourists. In addition to those, there are  plenty of property owners who spend more than two months a year on the island as simple tourists who will soon feel the pain by this new policy: the Immigration Office (DGM) has officially announced that those who extend their stay on the island over the 60 days limit without having the requisites (ie residence documents) can be denied entry at the airport immigration controls  in their next travels to the Dominican Republic. In practical terms: from now on you can overstay and simply pay an overstay tax at the exit from the country the country but you will run into troubles at your next travel when you can be denied entry.  As of writing these some cases of entry denied for previous overstay are confirmed but the application of the law is not yet the rule, there seems to be some discrectionary in its application however the risk of not being allowed into the country is concrete and  those who have affections or properties on the island should take this seriously if they have overstayed in the past.

Below is the official documents of the DGM on this particular issue:

Remedies and / or solutions? There are only three options:

1 - Ignore this and risk   (not recommended).

2- Limit your stay to 60 days if you have never exceeded that limit before.

3- Regularization by requesting a residence visa for study, work, family or investment. 
This third option is the most recommended and  safest (especially for those with properties and affections on the island)  but it is also expensive and difficult.

If this policy does not change or stiffens the backlash will be felt soon because the parties involved are many and there are significant potential side effects (think of the decline in demand and the increase in supply of properties that this policy could cause in the short term).
The Dominican Republic has an immigration law, it has been in force for 15 years and one should not ignore this simple fact, if it has not been applied before it does not mean it is not there.

We will continue to follow developments from this blog and  to publish updates.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

First quarter airport arrivals in the Dominican Republic and in Puerto Plata

Non resident arrivals in the Dominican Republic were 1,799,321 in the first quarter 2018 up 7.7% from the first quarter of 2017:

First quarter cumulative arrivals per year

March 2018 non residents arrivals were up 14% from March 2017 such a strong increase can be explained by the general uptrend and by seasonal factors such as the Easter week-end being in March for 2018 while it was in the month of April for 2017.

Approximately  62% of non resident arriving in the Dominican Republic came from North America and 23% from Europe:

While the Dominican Republic  consolidates its role of fastest growing Carribean destination for tourists, not the same can be said about Puerto Plata: the airport of Punta Cana was by far the main destination for tourists in the first quarter 2018 while Puerto Plata arrivals were 5.7% lower than 2017

Apparently the strong growth of the Punta Cana  "large all inclusive resorts" is crowding out other Dominican destinations such as Puerto Plata: the North Coast touristic industry should improve its infrastructure and attractivity to change this trend.