How to Enter Dominican Republic

Do I need a passport or visa to enter?

If you are traveling by air outside of the United States, you are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States. This requirement was extended to sea travel (except closed loop cruises), including ferry service, during the summer of 2009. U.S. citizens traveling by sea must now have either a U.S. passport, passport card, or other WHTI- compliant document. Be aware that the “enhanced driver’s licenses” or “enhanced ID cards” offered by many states are not accepted by Dominican authorities for ferry travel from Puerto Rico. We strongly recommend that all U.S. citizens have a valid U.S. passport in their possession prior to their arrival in the Dominican Republic. Attempting to enter on expired or invalid documents can result in direct return to the United States. Sea travelers should also check with their cruise line and countries of destination for any foreign entry requirements.

Applications for the U.S. passport card are now being accepted and have been in full production since July 2008. The card may not be used to travel by air and is available only to U.S. citizens. Further information on the passport card and upcoming changes to U.S. passport policy can be found on our website.

We strongly encourage you to apply for a U.S. passport well in advance of anticipated travel. Visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs website or call 1-877-487-2778 for information on how to apply for your passport.

For information concerning entry and exit requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Dominican Republic at 1715 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel. (202) 332-6280. There are also Dominican consulates in Boston; Chicago; Glendale, CA; Mayaguez, Puerto Rico; Miami, New Orleans, LA; New York, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Visit the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in the United States for more information.

Visas: Visitors who do not obtain a Dominican visa prior to entry must purchase a tourist card upon arrival to enter the country. Tourist cards cost ten U.S. dollars, which must be paid in U.S. currency. Tourist cards may be purchased at the Dominican Embassy in Washington or Dominican consulates prior to arrival, as well as at Dominican airports at the time of entry. Tourist cards normally permit a legal stay of up to 60 days. Visitors who would like to extend their time in the Dominican Republic should visit the Migration Department in Santo Domingo and request an extension. Failure to request an extension will subject the visitor to a surcharge at the airport upon departure. The surcharge, assessed on a sliding scale, ranges from $30 for one month to as high as $500 for five years.

Travel of children and exit requirements: Strict exit requirements apply to minors under 18 years of age (of any nationality) who are residents in the Dominican Republic. Such children traveling alone, without one parent, or with anyone other than the parent(s), must present written authorization from a parent or legal guardian. This authorization must be in Spanish, and it must be notarized at a Dominican consulate in the United States, or notarized and then certified at the Dominican Attorney General’s office (Procuraduria de la Republica) if done in the Dominican Republic. More information, including current fee information, can be found at the Immigration Office's website. Though not a requirement for non-resident minors (in the Dominican Republic), we recommend that any minor traveling to the Dominican Republic without one or both parents have a notarized document from the absent parent(s). In addition to clarifying the reason for travel, this will facilitate departure from the Dominican Republic. Regulations governing the travel of children in the Dominican Republic can be found in Spanish on the Dirección General de Migración web site.

Importation of firearms into the Dominican Republic is prohibited. However, if a private citizen wants to bring a weapon into the country for a certain period, the person must obtain authorization from the Ministry of the Armed Forces prior to the weapon entering the country. A request for permission in Spanish needs to be submitted to the Minister of the Armed Forces, copying the Director of the Intelligence Department of the Armed Forces, and must be sent several weeks prior to the travel date. The Ministry of the Armed Forces is located at Avenida 27 de Febrero esquina Av. Heroes de Luperón, Frente Plaza de la Bandera, Santo Domingo. The phone number is 809 530-5149.

Special Travel Circumstances in Dominican Republic

It is legal to exchange currency at commercial banks, exchange booths in hotels and exchange houses. The exchange rate is set by the Central Bank, based on prevailing market conditions. The market determines the exchange rate. No more than USD $10,000 or its equivalent in another currency, including Dominican pesos, may be taken out of the Dominican Republic at the time of departure without declaring it.

Real Estate: Real estate investments in the Dominican Republic require a high level of caution, as property rights are irregularly enforced and investors often encounter problems in receiving clear title to land. Title searches in the Dominican Republic may not undergo the same rigorous examination as in the United States. We recommend consultation with a reputable attorney before signing documents or closing on any real estate transactions. Real estate investments by U.S. citizens have been the subject of both legal and physical takeover attempts. Absentee landlords and absentee owners of undeveloped land are particularly vulnerable. Investors should seek solid property title and not just a “carta de constancia,” which is often confused by foreigners with a title. An official land registry measurement (also known as 'deslinde' or 'mensura catastral') is also desirable for the cautious overseas investor. Investors should also consider purchasing title insurance. Squatters, sometimes supported by governmental or non-governmental organizations, have invaded properties belonging to U.S. citizens, threatening violence and blocking the owners from entering their property. In at least one instance, a U.S. citizen landowner was physically assaulted by squatters. Several U.S. citizens with long-standing expropriation disputes with the Dominican government are still without compensation. On several occasions, U.S. citizens have faced lawsuits founded on false documentation that result in costly, protracted court proceedings. Litigation can last for years, preventing any productive use of the property. Eviction of squatters can also take years. The U.S. Embassy does not generally attend property dispute hearings on behalf of U.S. citizens and encourages you to take the necessary steps to safeguard your investment by researching the situation thoroughly beforehand. The Embassy maintains a list of attorneys on its website that can be consulted should legal representation be necessary.

Gambling: Many U.S. citizens have reported losing large amounts of money at Dominican casinos by playing a game (or variations thereof) known as “Super Keno,” “Caribbean Keno,” “Progressive Keno,” or “Progressive Roulette.” Players have complained that the game’s rules are unclear and/or misleading. Casinos have also been associated with cases involving credit card fraud. Any complaints arising from a casino should be directed to the Office of Casinos at the Secretary of Finance. To register a complaint with this office, call 809-687-5131, ext. 2120.

Divorce: In recent years, there have been a number of businesses, primarily on the Internet, which advertise “quickie Dominican divorces.” The services of these businesses should be used with caution, as they may misrepresent the process of obtaining a divorce in the Dominican Republic. While it is relatively simple for foreigners to obtain a divorce in the Dominican Republic, such divorces are only valid if specific steps are taken. Those seeking information regarding divorce should first consult with an attorney in their home state. Additional information on divorce is available on the U.S. Embassy's website.

Alien Smuggling: Dominican authorities may prosecute anyone arrested for organizing the smuggling of aliens into or out of the Dominican Republic. This is in addition to any charges individuals may face in the other country involved, including the United States.

Hurricanes: The Dominican Republic is situated in an area of the Caribbean prone to hurricanes. In the event of a hurricane alert, a notice will be posted on U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo's website. Further information can be obtained from the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center. General information about natural disaster preparation is available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Travelers are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program with the U.S. Embassy.

Carnival Celebrations: Visitors attending Carnival celebrations throughout the Dominican Republic should be aware that participants will frequently use sticks, whips, or rubber bags filled with bits of tire and rocks to physically strike spectators on their backsides. Such attacks can catch spectators off guard and produce serious injuries. Spectators are encouraged to safeguard themselves against such attacks by taking appropriate precautions. Visitors are also advised that Carnival celebrations tend to attract pickpockets and other violent criminals who prey on spectators.

Water Sports: Visitors to the Dominican Republic, including to local resort areas, should carefully assess the potential risk of recreational activities. Some of the swimming areas at popular beaches around the Dominican Republic are subject to dangerous undertows. Many beaches lack life guards and/or warnings of unsafe conditions. Resort managers usually offer current information on local swimming & surf conditions. You should not swim alone, particularly at isolated beaches. You are further cautioned to weigh carefully the risks inherent in sports such as white water rafting or activities involving jumping from or swimming near waterfalls, particularly following heavy rains when swollen rivers and streams increase the potential for dangerous flash floods. In flash flood conditions, helmets and life vests may not provide adequate protection. U.S. citizens have perished during flash floods that followed rains, even though they were wearing helmets and life jackets. Participants in eco-tourism adventures should carefully assess the risks of any activity, as safety standards and first response assistance are often not comparable to those found in the United States. Exercise caution while visiting isolated beaches during severe weather conditions. Areas of dangerous surf and undertow are often unmarked.

Scams: Be alert to a scam which targets elderly citizens in the United States. The perpetrator contacts a grandparent on the telephone pretending to be a law enforcement official, an attorney, or a U.S. Embassy official and informs them that a loved one has been arrested overseas. The caller instructs the victim to wire cash through a money transfer service to pay fines or secure bail. In some instances, impersonators are used to portray the role of the scared grandchild, effectively perpetuating the fraud. Local law enforcement in the Dominican Republic follows a protocol to allow U.S. citizens that have been arrested to contact the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy. When in doubt, please contact the American Citizens Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy to confirm the welfare of a family member in the Dominican Republic.

Agricultural Products: Visitors to the Dominican Republic are reminded to reviewthe information provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture before attempting to import or export food or agricultural products. Severe penalties apply for violations.

Disclaimer

You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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