pros and cons of living in dominican republic

Moving to Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic Score
Shithole Paradise

What is the Dominican Republic?

moving to dominican republic flag

The Dominican Republic is (half of) an island with a lot of paradisaical elements

The Dominican Republic is a country in the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean, taking up roughly two thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with shit-hole neighbor Haiti.

Currently there are roughly 11 million inhabitants, many of which live in the capital of Santo Domingo.

The official language is Spanish, and if you’re at all familiar with Latin America, you can guess where this is going.

The Dominican Republic used to be a colony of Spain for roughly 300 years, and it has had a turbulent history, to say the least.

It gained independence in 1844, after which it saw plenty of civil wars, invasions and other fun stuff.

Standard fare for ex-colonies, really.

The US occupied it from 1916 to 1924, and in the rest of the 20th century there were multiple coups and dictators, until 1978 when it became a representative democracy.

Currently it’s one of the largest economies in the Caribbean and Central American region, and for the past 25 years it has been the fastest growing economy in the Western Hemisphere.

It boasts less income inequality than the US, and is heavily invested in construction, manufacturing, tourism and mining.

Geographically speaking, the Dominican Republic has mountain ranges, beautiful beaches, mangroves, valleys, rivers, coastal plains, lakes, lagoons, waterfalls, islands, cays, and plenty of other variety.

However, it does lie on a fault line, which means strong earthquakes can occur, leading to tsunamis, and of course tropical cyclones are always a hazard.

The climate is generally clement year round, with very pleasant temperatures, cooling ocean breezes, sunny days, and not that many rainy days.

It has a close relationship with the US, which obviously isn’t great.

In addition, it has some grievances with its only neighbor Haiti due to mass illegal Haitian immigration, which doesn’t look like it’s going to get better any time soon, as Haiti has devolved into yet another civil war.

The Dominican Republic boasts decent telecommunications and transportation infrastructure, however its electric power equipment is horribly outdated.

living in dominican republic
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Requirements for moving to the Dominican Republic

The requirements for moving to the Dominican Republic aren’t strict at all.

Most people can just go there without a visa for up to 30 days.

All sorts of visas are possible, and residence can be attained through investment, starting a business, and so on.

Even citizenship is an option!

If you speak Spanish, there isn’t a language barrier, and even English is widely spoken.

The cost of living is low, the temperature is clement, and the crime isn’t that high.

In general, moving to the Dominican Republic is surprisingly easy.

What is the cost of living in Dominican Republic?

The cost of living in the Dominican Republic is pretty low, and if you earn around $1,000 a month in location-independent income you should be able to live a good life.

If you want to have some more luxury, or just be safe in case of emergencies, I’d recommend you go for at least $2,000 a month.

In addition, you won’t have to pay taxes on your foreign sourced income, which is awesome and really extends your budget.

Benefits of living in Dominican Republic

  • Low cost of living

    Anyone with a budget of around $1,000 to $1,500 can easily live here

  • Beautiful nature

    The Dominican Republic is a truly beautiful country, with beaches, mountains, lakes, waterfalls, plains, and so on

  • Great weather

    Clement temperatures, pleasant sea breezes to moderate the humidity and plenty of sunshine

  • Strong economic growth

    With a strong economic growth of roughly 6%, the Dominican Republic is a solid economic base

  • No taxes on international incom

    Your income from foreign sources isn’t taxed

  • Good visa system

    Going to the Dominican Republic can be done without a visa, and staying there for a longer period is very doable as well

  • Spanish

    Spanish is the official language, which is easy to learn. In addition, English is spoken at a Moderate proficiency

moving to dominican republic

Downsides of living in Dominican Republic

  • Natural disasters

    The Dominican Republic can experience hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis

  • Moderately unsafe

    Certain parts of the country can be unsafe, and the murder rate is pretty elevated too

  • Many tourists

    Being the most visited tourist location in the Caribbean (and that’s saying something), you can expect to find people from all over the world here. While that certainly has advantages such as banging girls on vacation, I can definitely see it getting annoying if you live near a tourist area and your sleep gets ruined over and over by drunk idiots, or your part of the island gets polluted by Chinese tourists (not a racist, they’re by far the most obnoxious and disgusting tourists in the world)

  • Haiti

    Sharing an island with Haiti is a massive disadvantage, because Haiti is the least developed country in the area by far, and thousands of illegal immigrants flock to the Dominican Republic, bringing crime and other crap with them

Moving to Dominican Republic - by the numbers

Dominican Republic Score
Shithole Paradise

Climate: 8.5/10

Hours of sunshine (10/10) Temperature (10/10) Rainy days (10/10) Humidity (4/10)
26 C – 80 F

Level of English: 6/10

Moderate Proficiency

Cost of Living: 9/10

Minimum Annual Wage Average monthly cost single person

Taxes on international income: 9/10

Foreign sourced income is usually not taxable, but when you’re a resident you do have to pay taxes on foreign investments and financial gains – after the 3rd year of being a resident.

Economic growth: 8.5/10

Average GDP growth over the last 10 years: 5.1%

Due to COVID, it saw a minus 6.7% in 2020, so if we discount this anomaly, the DR boasts a strong 6% growth annually

Safety: 8/10

Global Terrorism Index (10/10) Intentional homicide rate (4/10) Rape rate (10/10)

Visa: 9/10

  • Visa (9/10)

    Usually, you can travel to the Dominican Republic and stay there for up to 30 days without a visa. This can be extended in theory. You can also apply for tourist, business and residency visas. A work visa is possible if you want to work here, valid for 60 days with a single entry, or a year with multiple entries. You can’t stay more than two months per entry over the course of a year

  • Permanent Residence (9/10)

    If you set up your own business or make an investment, you can get a residence permit. After living there on temporary residence for at least a year, you can apply for permanent residence

  • Citizenship (9/10)

    You can become a citizen through purchasing real estate, having a business, investing in the country, or marriage. You need to have stayed here for a minimum of 2 years. Dual nationality is allowed

moving to dominican republic

How is life for expats in Dominican Republic?

Holy shit, is this ever a fucking awesome option or what?

Upon starting my research, I imagined the Dominican Republic to be somewhat akin to Tahiti or Fiji – the former scores 6.3 and the latter 7.7, so it’s definitely more like Fiji, but even better.

A score of 8.4 has only been attained by one other country, Paraguay, and as readers of this blog probably know, Paraguay is amazing.

The main disadvantages are its neighbor Haiti, potential natural disasters and an abundance of tourists – which could be an advantage too.

How is life in the Dominican Republic for foreigners?

Really, really good, that’s how.

Beautiful weather, low cost of living, gorgeous nature, no taxes on foreign sourced income, a rapidly growing economy, great visa system, decent English proficiency, and on and on the advantages go.

I can heavily recommend this country, and it has jumped near the top of my “Must visit and explore” list.

Plant your flags there (residence, assets, banking, and citizenship are all options), or just go live there and enjoy the beauty of the Dominican Republic.

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4 thoughts on “Moving to Dominican Republic

  1. Nick S.

    Would you say that the DR is comparable to the Philippines? The only thing I dislike about the Philippines is the distance, so maybe the DR could be a good alternative for someone looking for that lifestyle.

    1. Stephen

      The DR is comparable to PH in many ways, such as climate and cost of living, and it’s almost certainly a better option than PH.

      I just love PH because I live here and I’ve got a lot of experience with this country, but objectively speaking DR comes out on top.

      If you start to look at things like ease of getting laid and being close to a lot of other interesting Asian countries, however, PH has some definite upsides too.

  2. Anne

    When you say you are not taxed on foreign sourced income, I’m thinking you mean, If I work off site for a foreign company. However what about If I work for myself and get paid for doing zoom sessions online or so on on top of working for foreign businesses. Would that be the same?

    Thank you

    1. Stephen

      Any income that doesn’t come from within the country. If you’re getting paid by Dominican Republican companies or individuals, the money comes from within, so it’s usually taxable

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