Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I'll be working with Caitlin...

Using a World Class Education Where it is Needed Most:  by Caitlin Floreal at TEDx VirginiaTech -

About the Dominican Republic

History and Politics 
Expats moving to the Dominican Republic not only find themselves in one of the biggest countries of the Caribbean, but they also end up in one of the first places Christopher Columbus’ ships landed in 1492. The Spanish conquerors moving to the Dominican Republic in 1493 laid the foundations for today’s Santo Domingo. In the centuries that followed, the country was subject to annexation, premature declarations of independence, and revolutionary upheavals. 
But even after the last long-term occupation, the country did not come to a rest. The Dominican Republic’s 31 year totalitarian rule by Rafael Trujillo was followed by rulers who won by flawed elections, were overthrown by military coups, or had to go into exile. Free elections have only been held since 1996! After Leonel Fernández' several terms in office, Danilo Medina was elected president in May 2012 and took office in August of the same year. 

Geography and Climate 

Upon moving to the Dominican Republic, you should experience a semitropical climate.  The Dominican Republic enjoys a tropical climate all year round, with average temperatures ranging from 66° to 93° F (19° to 34° C). The coldest season is between November and April, and the hottest season is between May and October. August is the hottest month.  From May to November, you can expect heavy rain falls, particularly in the country’s north. If you move to the Dominican Republic in August and September, you may experience severe storms and hurricanes. 

 The Dominican Republic is the second largest country in the Caribbean and is located on the island of Hispaniola. The island, which it shares with Haiti, is situated between Cuba and Puerto Rico. Upon moving to the Dominican Republic, you recognize that the landscape is surprisingly diverse for such a small country. Obviously you shouldn’t miss out on the white sandy beaches, which are so typical for the Caribbean, but the country also boasts tropical rainforests, beautiful valleys, rivers, lakes, and even semi-desert zones. 

Time Zone

Local time is GMT -4. It is an hour ahead of Atlantic Standard Time in the United States in the winter. Unlike the United States and Europe, the Dominican Republic does NOT observe daylight saving time.

Capital City

The capital of the Dominican Republic is Santo Domingo, the oldest city in the New World. Greater Santo Domingo has a population of around three million people..


The Dominican Republic is a representative democracy. There are three branches of government: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Every four years the country elects its president, vice president, legislators and city government officials. President Danilo Medina and Vice President Margarita Cedeño were elected for a four-year term that began on 16 August 2012 and ends on 16 August 2016. The Constitution does not allow for consecutive re-election.


Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic. However, you’ll be surprised how many hotel and tourist destination employees speak English, French, German and Italian. If you decide to venture out of the tourist areas, it is helpful to learn some basic phrases in Spanish.


The Dominican Peso (RD$) is the official currency of the Dominican Republic. You can find the peso exchange rate for several international currencies at
Major credit cards are accepted at most tourist locations, but it is best to check in advance at small hotels, restaurants and shops.
ATMs are located in almost all of the Dominican Republic’s cities, as well as at most resorts. Large supermarkets have ATMs that are open until late.

Tourism Statistics

4,064,754 non-resident foreigners flew to the Dominican Republic in 2013. A further 625,016 non-resident Dominicans also chose to visit in 2013. The Dominican Republic received 26.81% of the record number of 15,663,409 million visitors to the Caribbean region in 2013.
Most air arrivals landed at the Punta Cana airport, 63.6% of all air traffic. Santo Domingo was the second destination of arrivals with 19.7%, followed by Puerto Plata 8.7%, Santiago 4.1%, La Romana 2.3% and Samaná 1.3%.

In 2013, most tourists visiting the country by air came from:
United States39.9%
Puerto Rico2.6%
United Kingdom2.6%
The Netherlands0.6%

In 2013, seaport activity was:
Santo Domingo58,267 passengers
La Romana252,932 passengers
Samaná112,424 passengers

The National Hotel & Tourism Association (ASONAHORES) reports there are 716 hotels with a total of 67,792 hotel rooms in the Dominican Republic as of December 2013.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Visiting \ Living Or Moving to the DR


Visiting Tips
Entry Requirements :
As of May 1, 2012 citizens of all nationalities will be required to enter Dominican Republic with a VALID PASSPORT. To travel to the Dominican Republic, many people will need a Visa. Others, however, may be from countries who have signed agreements with the Dominican Republic (such as Peru etc..)so that they only need a Tourist Card. This, of course, only applies to visitors who are tourists.
A Tourist Card is a US $10 tax on incoming tourists that can be purchased at the airport when you arrive. The Dominican Law covering visas is Law No. 875.
To obtain more information about the Tourist Card or requirements for entry into Dominican territory, visit:
Most tourists will only need to pay for a tourist card that is issued upon arrival at the airport. The cost for the tourist card is US$10 and it will be valid for 30 days. The exit tax is US$20

What happens if I decide to stay in the country for more than 30 days?
You only need to pay US$22 at the airport to extend your stay for up to 90 days. Other fees will apply for longer stays

Residence Permit   
It doesn’t matter if you are moving to the Dominican Republic with a Tourist Card or a Business Visa. If your stay exceeds two months, you need to apply for a residence permit (Visa de Residencia). To do so, you need to submit the application in advance to a consulate of the Dominican Republic with the following (all foreign documents must be notarized, translated into Spanish, and both the original and the translation apostilled): 

  • Visa Form 

  • Frontal picture (2x2 inches, with a white background) 

  • Passport valid for the duration of the visa or longer. 

  • Medical Certificate. 

  • Criminal Record Certificate from your country of residence at the time of application. Not required for minors. 

  • Photocopy of National Identity Document from your country of nationality; and photocopy your Residence Card if you’re residing in a second country. 

  • Birth Certificate. 

  • Notarized Letter of Guarantee signed by a Dominican or a legal resident in the Dominican Republic specifying their relationship to you. This person must guarantee to pay any expenses involved in your move to the Dominican Republic should you be unable to do so. The letter of guarantee must be signed by a notary of the Dominican Republic and legalized by the Attorney General's Office of the Dominican Republic. 

  • Documents showing your financial solvency. All documents must be issued for you and NOT your guarantor. These documents may include:  

  1.   Letter from Bank: with details of account balances 

  2.   Copies of titles of property (must show original) 

  3.   Registration of established companies 

  4.   Copy of your last tax return 

  5.   Copy of Financial Certificates 

  6.   Letter of employment or proof of pension 

  • Visa application letter from you addressed to the Consular Section containing your name, nationality, place of residence, and occupation, as well as information on your reasons for moving to the Dominican Republic, e.g. employment, retirement, for a Dominican husband or wife, etc. 
After submitting all documents to the Dominican consulate or embassy in your country, you need to hand in all paperwork again to the foreign ministry (Cancillerìa) in Santo Domingo upon moving to the Dominican Republic. Please keep in mind that you might have to submit additional documents, e.g. a Marriage Certificate, if you are moving with your family, if your spouse is a citizen of the Dominican Republic, or if you have relatives in the Dominican Republic.

Business (Work) Visa 

Before moving to the Dominican Republic, you need to secure either a Business Visa (Visa de Negocios), which comes in two forms that allow either 1 entry for 60 days or multiple entries for 1 year, but only for a maximum of 2 consecutive months at a time; or, a Business Visa for employment purposes (Visa de Negocios con Fines Laborales), which is issued for 1 year. The latter is the relevant visa for those who are moving to the Dominican Republic to work on fixed-term contracts for private or public companies; with this visa you can apply for a driver's license, open a bank account, etc. You can renew your visa at the Department of Immigration (Dirección General de Migración) in Santo Domingo as long as you still have a valid work contract. 

In order to apply for a Business Visa for employment purposes, you need to submit the following (all foreign documents must be notarized, translated into Spanish, and both the original and the translation apostilled): 

    • Visa Form 

    • Frontal picture (2x2 inches, with a white background) 

    • Passport valid for the duration of the visa or longer. 

    • Resolution of the Ministry of Labor of the Dominican Republic. This document is issued by the Labor Department of the Ministry. It legitimizes the applicant's employment contract and, therefore, reason for moving to the Dominican Republic, and specifies the employee's position within the company, contract length and salary. 

    • Medical Certificate 

    • Criminal Record Certificate from your country of residence at the time of application. 

    • Photocopy of National Identity Document from your country of nationality; and photocopy of your Residence Card if you’re residing in a second country. 

    • Photocopy of former Dominican visas or residence card (if renewal). 

    • Visa application letter from you or from the company for which you are going to work addressed to the Consular Section containing your name, nationality, place of residence and occupation. 
    Nationals from certain countries who move to the Dominican Republic for short-term business meetings, site visits, or short training courses may enter the country with a Tourist Card, which is basically a USD 10 tax on visitors; a visa is not required in this case. 


    Friday, December 26, 2014

    A Child's Love

    Although my daughter is now an adult, this is the facial expression I envisioned during our conversation today...

    After months and months of knowing that I'll be leaving soon, my daughter called me from her job and really pleaded with me to stay. I informed her that I know she doesn't want me to go and to stop being a  "border bully" which is a character in one of our favorite books "The Dream Giver".

    I didn't know where all this emotion and doubt was coming from all of a sudden...she had been my ear and voice of reason during this entire time and now she's flipping the table on me.  She simply said, "You may not know how much I really love you, but you will be missed. I need you. Mama, you have no idea how your big smile and small kiss on the forehead gets me through most weeks."

    To my baby girl, remember the words I spoke to you in this conversation today.  Most importantly, whenever you feel like this in the future, go back and relate this journey I'm taking to the story I just told you... (the last biggest decision & change I ever had to make (wink:-). I thank GOD for YOU.

    I Love You!

    Monday, December 15, 2014

    Haiti political situation worsens, DR is affected

    Haiti political situation worsens, DR is affected

    Weekend reports on the resignation of the Prime Minister of Haiti Laurent Lamothe add to the political and social unrest in Haiti, which is bad news for the Dominican Republic. Improvements in Haiti translate into a reduction of immigration of the destitute and jobless to the Dominican Republic.

    As matters worsen in Haiti, the government-to-government talks are also affected.

    Haiti has delayed in organizing congressional elections and soon President Michel Martelly will be ruling by decree.

    The political crisis in Haiti also affects Haitian government support for the regularization of Haitians in the Dominican Republic. In many cases, the regularization needs Haiti to issue legal papers for the process to be completed. One of the major problems with the regularization process has been that most people born in Haiti do not have legal documents, which complicates matters when they emigrate.

    An editorial in El Dia urges the Dominican government to take preventive action to reduce the negative impact of the situation in Haiti.

    MY 2 CENTS:
     I don't' understand Why it's SO HARD for the Haitian government to provide the Haitians with their legal paperwork.  Is it fear that they will migrate to the Dominican Republic for a better life?  Is it payback for the ones that originally left for the DR?  Help me understand.

    Grant it, I understand that maybe some Haitian parents may not have legal documents which in-turn their kids are undocumented also.  This is a cycle that should stop. However, at some point there should be a process to verify that they are true Haitians.  A process that doesn't include  years of bureaucracy, paperwork and high fees that discourages an individual from finalizing their true citizenship in their home country. 

    As for the Haitians that were born in the Dominican Republic to DOCUMENTED Haitian parents, well that's a whole other story!  I feel that if you were born in a country, YOU ARE A NATIONAL CITIZEN of that country by birth and a Haitian by heritage right.  My  heritage linage is of African decent, but I'm not an African, neither were the 7 generations before me.  We are all Americans...born in America.  If your  parents are Italian or Irish thus born in Italy or Ireland, but you were born in America, GUESS WHAT....You're an American!  So for the Haitian babies that were born in the Dominican Republic, they should not be discriminated against and should be classified as a Dominicans by birth.

    Thursday, December 11, 2014

    Missing my Passport!

    Ok, now I'm getting a bit nervous. In Exactly 4 weeks from today (29 days) I am departing for my trip(s), but I'm still waiting for my TEMPORARY VISA from the Dominican Consulate.  The temporary visa is stamped in your passport to allow you to enter the country  (w/i 60 days) to complete the 2nd part of my Visa process.  The consulate still has my passport!

    I'm patiently waiting for the Dominican consulate to return my passport to my attorney who will overnight it to me...hopefully before January 8th! I gave her all my documents 3 weeks ago and she has assured me that all will be fine although we're cutting it close. She's also requested for it to be expedited due to my timeframe. That's a bit comforting.

    I don't know what my plan "B" will be at the moment,  if I don't have my passport back in my hand before I depart. Oh Well, For now I'm just really glad that I purchased insurance on my entire trip!