Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has had a net negative rate of migration in the last few decades.

For the year 2013, the number of permanent and temporary immigrants who arrived in the Dominican Republic was just over 4,000 persons, while in 2012, more than 70,000 Dominicans left to reside outside the country. The foreign born population represented 3.9% of the total population in 2013, above the 1.4% average for the Caribbean region.

The United States is the most important destination country for Dominicans, receiving some 67% of its emigrants, followed by Spain, Chile and Italy. As is the case in several countries of the region, emigration to developed countries has decreased while increasing to other countries of the Latin American and Caribbean region. Since the year 2009, emigration to the United States and Italy has fallen some 14% and 23%, respectively. In the same period, the number of Dominicans who left for Chile increased by a factor of almost eight.  

The outcomes of Dominicans in the labor markets of Europe and the United States worsened slightly between 2010 and 2013. Unemployment among Dominicans increased by around half of a percentage point; among women, the increase was more significant, more than 2 percentage points.

The Dominican Republic received 3.3 billion dollars in remittances in 2013, an increase of 5.5% relative to the previous year. Remittances have gradually increased since 2009 and currently are equal to 5% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

The Dominican Republic received only 11 asylum requests in 2013, from Cuba, Iran and Sri Lanka. There are some 716 refugees residing in the country, mainly from Haiti and Cuba.

In 2013, according to the country’s migration records, the Dominican Republic received 3,293 Dominicans who were repatriated from the United States. In 2014, a unit to help reintegrate repatriated persons (the “Unidad de Reinserción de Repatriados”) was inaugurated, with the goal of offering support and guidance to repatriated citizens to become socially reintegrated.

A significant percentage of Haitian immigrants who live in the country do not have identity documents from their country of origin. According to the General Immigration Office, only 11,000 Haitian immigrants are legally registered in the country.

In 2011, the Application Decree of the General Law of Migration No. 285-04 (passed in 2004) was approved.  Among the notable provisions of the decree is the requirement of a five-year period of residence on a temporary permit before a migrant can be considered eligible for permanent residence. Exceptions are investors, pensioners and retirees, who can receive the right of permanent residence upon entry.

In 2013, the Constitutional Court decided that the children of persons in transit, in a strictly legal and migratory sense, may not benefit from ius soli to acquire Dominican nationality.

That same year, the National Regularization Plan for foreigners in the Dominican Republic in an irregular situation was established. The Plan establishes the basic criteria (foreigner’s time of residence in the country, ties to Dominican society, as well as employment and socio-economic conditions) for regularization, under one of the categories established in the General Law of Migration. In addition, it creates follow-up mechanisms to process the different immigration categories (permanent, temporary or non-immigrant residence), for persons who must comply with this regulation.

Criteria that show ties to Dominican society include: having children born in the country, having studied in the country, knowing how to speak and write in Spanish, having a fixed address, living with a person of Dominican nationality. Applicants must not have a criminal background.

Applicants are deemed to have employment and/or socioeconomic status within the country if they have proof of an educational degree, real estate or personal property, bank accounts or commercial references, employment during the time of stay, or a certified technical occupation.

The foreigner who wishes to be regularised must make a request within a period of 18 months of the National Plan’s enactment. Foreigners who do not do so may choose assisted repatriation, failing which they would be subject to deportation.

The Law of Naturalization was enacted in 2014.  As a first step, the law establishes: a) a special arrangement for children of non-resident alien parents born in the country during the period from June 16, 1929 to April 18, 2007 but registered at the Dominican Registry using documents not recognized as valid at the time of registration; such children are considered Dominican nationals; b) the registration of children of parents with irregular status born in the Dominican Republic and who were not registered in the Civil Registry.  

Under the naturalization law, offspring of foreigners born in the Dominican Republic and regularized in accordance with the provisions of the National Regularization Plan for Foreigners will have the option of being naturalized, once two years have passed since acquiring one of the immigration categories established in the General Law of Migration and providing a certificate attesting to the absence of a criminal record.

Recent trends in migrant’s flows and stocks and in labor market outcomes of emigrants


Dominican Republic
Migration inflows (foreign nationals) Persons Per 1000 inhabitants Percent change
  2010 2011 2012 2013 2013 2013/2010
Permanent and temporary 5695 3381 3716 4247 0.40821775894314 -25.425812115891
Total migration inflows (foreign nationals) by type Persons   % distribution      
  2011 2013 2011 2013    
Family 296 436 8.7548062703342 10.266070167177    
Humanitarian 0 11 0 0.25900635742877    
Work and accompanying family 3080 3647 91.097308488613 85.872380503885    
Other 5 136 0.14788524105294 3.2022604191194    
Total 3381 4247 100 100    
Migration outflows (nationals) Persons       % of total % change
From unstandardised destination country data 2009 2010 2011 2012 2012 2012/2009
All countries 73702 76617 72473 70812 100 -3.9211961683536
United States 54743 59649 51574 47340 66.853075749873 -13.523190179566
Spain 10840 8337 11700 11296 15.952098514376 4.2066420664207
Chile 554 1038 1812 4364 6.1627972660001 687.72563176895
Italy 3319 2742 2240 2565 3.622267412303 -22.717686050015
Asylum seekers and refugees Per million inhabitants         Number of persons
          Average 2010-2013  
  2010 2011 2012 2013   2013
Inflows of asylum seekers 0.2994908655286 2.7592736724494 1.1676989936673 1.057309947816 1.3209433698653 11
Refugees resident in the country 59.798342817211 58.634565539549 73.759653099983 69.30186112503 65.373605645443 721
Components of population growth Per 1000 inhabitants          
  1985-1990 1990-1995 1995-2000 2000-2005 2005-2010  
Total 20.98 19.27 16.49 15.11 13.92  
Natural increase 24.348 22.65 19.827 18.38 16.806  
Net migration -3.368 -3.38 -3.337 -3.27 -2.886  
Foreign-born population Percentage of the total population       Persons % change
  1990 2000 2010 2013 2013 2013/2010
  4.0185769000323 4.1047410716852 3.9572530021323 3.8688508895966 402.506 -2.2339262232696
Remittances Millions of dollars       % of GDP % change
  2010 2011 2012 2013 2013 2013/2010
  2908 3131 3158 3333 5.6 14.614855570839
Macroeconomic indicators Annual growth in %       Average annual growth Level
  2010 2011 2012 2013 2010-2013 2013
Real GDP 8.3021528003472 2.9273197361016 2.6583805580119 4.5844806256214 4.6180834300205 -
GDP/per capita ((PPP ) in constant 2011 international dollars) 6.8798496943389 1.6053035786357 1.3655773247378 3.2968082470011 3.2868847111784 11795
Labour market outcomes of emigrants in Europe and the United States Percentages          
  Men   Women   Total  
  2010-11 2012-13 2010-11 2012-13 2010-11 2012-13
Participation rate 79.92932 80.77431 69.13457 70.7059 73.70188 75.0463
Employment rate 66.60493 68.83583 58.87899 58.5569 62.14788 62.98805
Unemployment rate 16.67022 14.78004 14.83422 17.18245 15.67668 16.06775