Below are the most frequently asked questions about travel to the Dominican Republic, to help ease your journey just a little more. For COVID-19 related questions, please click here.
How can I get to the Dominican Republic?
The Dominican Republic has eight international airports, five cruise destinations and a variety of marinas for boats and yachts of all sizes, as well as smaller airports for private planes. Because this is such a large and diverse island, it is important to choose your arrival airport to coincide with the final destination of your stay.
Which documents do I need to go to the Dominican Republic?
Most visitors arriving to the Dominican Republic–including those from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, the European Union, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mexico, many South American countries, Central America, Japan, Israel, etc. do not need a visa to enter the country.
CLICK TO READ ABOUT THE COMPLETE ENTRY REQUIREMENTS FOR FOREIGNERS ENTERING THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AS TOURISTS
All foreign and Dominican passengers entering or departing the Dominican Republic on commercial flights must complete the free electronic entry and exit form at: https://eticket.migracion.gob.do
It is no longer required to fill it out 72 hours prior to the trip. It can be filled out as soon as you have your flight information, even months in advance. However, it must be filled out before arriving at the airline counter at the airport, as it is required to present it to the airline. To avoid delays at the airport, it is advised to complete the form before the trip.
If your specific home city is not shown in the form, you can choose the nearest large city in your state or province. If you are staying at a vacation rental, please ask the host to provide the complete address, including province, municipality and sector.
If you are traveling as a family, you must fill out the form with the data of all the family members who will be traveling, however, it is only necessary that a single user be created in the system and that this user fill in the data of all the members of the family that belong to that trip, up to 6 members additional to the one filling out the form (7 persons in total per form). It is not necessary for each traveler in the same family to fill out an individual form. If more than 7 people are traveling, you must fill out an additional form for the rest. Children do not fill out the Customs section, only adults. A single QR code will be generated for the family.
You can print or make a screenshot of the arrival and departure confirmation QR codes. If you need to make any changes to the E-TICKET, you can consult it with the application code that was issued when you started filling out the form and make changes.
Passengers arriving on private flights, non-commercial vessels, ferries, cruise ships, etc., do not need to fill out the E-TICKET. The physical Customs Declaration and International Embarkation/Disembarkation forms will be accepted for the aforementioned passengers.
As of April 23, 2022, all passengers and crew members do not need to present a COVID-19 Vaccination Card, PCR, or antigen test to enter the Dominican Republic or to enter tourist centers, any establishments or to receive services such as excursions. Random COVID-19 testing for passengers and crew upon arrival in the Dominican Republic will no longer be performed. However, when required, random testing operations may be performed. Passengers who present their Vaccination Card will be exempted from random testing.
ROUND TRIP FLIGHT TICKET
As of April 28, 2023, during the process of registration and verification of travel documents prior to boarding, national and foreign air operators operating to and from the Dominican Republic must ensure that all foreign passengers have an air ticket to and from the Dominican Republic (roundtrip). Dominican national passengers, as well as foreigners residing in the Dominican Republic, are exempted from this requirement.
The national and foreign air operators are responsible for the strict compliance of such requirement. Failure to comply with the above will result in the denial of entry to the Dominican Republic of foreign passengers, as well as the corresponding sanctions to national and foreign air operators, established by the General Directorate of Migration of the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic issues tourist, business, work, student, and residency visas. Tourist visas can be issued for one or several entries. Any person, regardless of their nationality, can visit Dominican Republic if they are a legal resident of or, if they have one of the following valid visas in their passport: United States, Canada, United Kingdom or Schengen. Travelers who do not have a passport or visa from countries listed above or from other authorized countries will need to apply for a visa. To issue a visa the passport needs to have a validity of at least six (6) months.
The Dominican Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the institution that issues visas. They have a chat line available in English and Spanish, where you may contact them for specific visa questions or for other inquiries: https://mirex.gob.do/en/
Click HERE to check if your country requires a tourist visa.
See Dominican consulates abroad here. Please make sure to always check for updated requirements before traveling.
Who are Exempt From Needing a Visa?
- Residents in the Dominican Republic and Dominican nationals.
- Diplomatic and consular personnel with missions assigned in the country, as long as they remain on duty.
- Passengers using non-commercial private aviation as long as the aircraft meets the following requirements: the trip must be for sport, leisure, tourism and business purposes, and the aircraft must not weigh more than thirty thousand (30,000) pounds and have a maximum capacity of 12 passengers.
For more information, please visit GETTING HERE.
What happens if I decide to stay in the country for more than 30 days?
If staying beyond 30 days, expect an additional fee upon departure–determined on a sliding scale according to the total length of your stay. See the applicable fees and upload required documents here, to be paid online before departure or at the airport’s immigration section–after check-in and past security–upon departure.
What is the cost of the departure tax?
The departure tax is US$20. It is already included in your airline ticket fare.
What is the telephone area code for the Dominican Republic?
The country code is +1. There are three area codes: 809, 829, and 849.
What is the legal drinking age?
In the Dominican Republic, you can purchase and consume alcoholic beverages from the age of 18. This means that bars will not admit anyone under 18, even when accompanied by parents or an adult.
What is the weather like? When is the rainy season?
The Dominican Republic is surrounded by over 1,600 km (1,000 miles) of coastline on its north, east, and southern borders, and the climate is tropical. Noontime temperatures range from 27°C to 32°C (80°F to 90°F ), and can fall to 18°C and 23°C (64°F to 73°F) during the winter. Because we are in the tropics, it is hard to say if and when there is a rainy season. Rains are usually short lasting.
When is the Hurricane Season?
The Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1 and extends to November 30. In the Dominican Republic, these are the summer and early fall seasons when the weather is sunny and humid, with some cloudiness and occasional rain showers in the late afternoon or at night. Historically, most hurricanes have occurred in the month of September. But chances of one hitting are slim, and if it does occur, resort staff is trained in handling these situations, and resort buildings today are equipped to withstand hurricane force. You should also take note that the Dominican Republic is a large country–this means that while one coast may be affected, another may be completely unscathed by a storm.
How does the Dominican Republic compare in size with Puerto Rico or Jamaica?
Located in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic has a surface area of over 48,442 km² (18,704 square miles), which means that Puerto Rico could fit into the country five times, and Jamaica four times. Due to its size and the variety of its terrain, the Dominican Republic offers visitors an incredible diversity in landscapes, including beaches, mountains, pre-historic caves, deserts, lakes, islands, rivers, and numerous waterfalls. That’s why we say the Dominican Republic “Has it all.”
I hardly speak any Spanish. Will this be a problem?
You won’t have any problems communicating in the DR. Dominicans are very friendly and even if they do not speak your language, they will help you find someone who can or find a way to communicate. In the big cities, as well as in most tourist destinations, staff in hotels, restaurants, and tourist areas, as well as tour guides understand and speak English, in addition to other languages. Fluency is less common in the villages and countryside, but they will still make out the basics and help you find your way.
What clothes should I bring
The Dominican Republic has warm sunny weather all-year-round. But it does get chilly in the morning and evenings from November to March, whether in the city or in the mountains, so packing in layers is key. You should bring light cotton or linen clothing for warm weather, aside from swimwear, a light cardigan, pants, and a light jacket. Even if staying at a resort, make sure you pack a dressy outfit for special occasions, or to dine in upscale restaurants. If you are staying in Santo Domingo, bring your regular city clothes, as well as a couple of dressy options. If you go to a National Theater performance, for instance, you will need a jacket, and no jeans are allowed. In addition, if you are visiting churches or certain national monuments and museums, you may not be able to enter if you are in shorts or mini skirts. Some government offices will not admit you with a sleeveless shirt or without closed footwear.
Can I travel with my pet?
Prior to traveling with your cat or dog, call your carrier for up-to-date information. Know the cost of transporting your animal either on board or in the cargo load. Make your reservation early because some airlines restrict the number of pets that can be carried on a single flight.
A health certificate issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian must accompany each animal. The certificate needs to establish that the pet was examined within 30 days prior to departure and was found to be free of any infectious diseases, has been treated for external and internal parasites, and was vaccinated against rabies. The rabies vaccination certificate should include the date of vaccination, the established period of immunity, the product name, and serial number.
Upon arrival in the DR, ask to speak to the animal control official who will review your veterinary certificate(s), and fill in the official pet entry permission form required.
How safe is it?
The Dominican Republic continues to be one of the countries with the lowest crime rates in the region. Common sense rules, however, and it’s best to take precautions just as you would when visiting any new country or large city in the world. Don’t flash your valuables, such as smartphones and cameras–use them discreetly when you are away from tourist areas. Leave the jewelry at home, dress simply, and don’t wander down isolated streets during the day or night.
Is it the custom to address people with the polite or the familiar form of “you”?
Even though times are changing and becoming more informal, it is best to err on the side of formal rather than informal. Use the formal form of “you” (usted) when you don’t know the person well. Gentlemen can be referred to as Don or Señor (Mr.) and ladies as Doña or Señora (Mrs.).
At the same time, informality is common and acceptable because Dominicans are very open and sociable people. The term amigo (friend) and hermano (brother) are frequently used. Don’t be surprised if you are referred to as mi amor (my love) or cariño (dear) in the street or in local businesses–that’s just how Dominicans communicate.
Is it safe to drink tap water at the hotels?
No, it is not safe to drink the tap water in the DR, as it is not purified. Always drink bottled water, available in abundance at your resort or in the neighborhood stores and supermarkets.
Is my driver’s license valid in the Dominican Republic?
Yes it is valid, but only for the duration of your legal stay–i.e. your 30-day tourist card or visa term.
Should I rent a car?
The Dominican Republic has the most modern road infrastructure in the Caribbean, with excellent highways leading to and linking major tourist destinations. That being said, driving in the DR is known to be nerve-wracking; you must drive defensively and keep an eye out constantly for other drivers, motorbikes, pedestrians, cows, and other potential road companions and intruders. Driving out to the countryside is less stressful than in the big cities, though once you are in the villages, you should look out for potential road obstacles. You should be experienced, with preferable prior experience driving in big cities like New York, or driving in the Caribbean.
Avoid speeding, and don’t drive at night at all costs–lighting is often poor and nonexistent, which brings opportunities for car accidents and crime.
There are tourist destinations where having your own car is easier because there is so much to see. For example, if you are traveling the north coast from Montecristi to Puerto Plata or to Cabrera, or to the beaches of Samaná, renting a car will allow you to stop and see the sights along the way. On the east coast, having a car allows for more affordable exploration of the popular tourist areas of La Romana, Bávaro, Punta Cana, and Cap Cana. The southwest of the Dominican Republic–from Barahona to Pedernales–is one of the most beautiful and untouched regions in the country, where public transportation is limited. Having a car will help you save time and money, particularly to well-known, distant sights such as Bahía de Las Águilas. The beaches and attractions surrounding the major destinations will be more accessible and affordable to you with a rental car.
For Santo Domingo, Santiago, and Puerto Plata cities, however, it is best to rely on the vast network of taxis, including UBER. You can get a taxi by calling a 24-hr dispatch taxi company. Most offer a fixed rate of approximately US$5 one-way for most in-city destinations.
Can I use my cell phone there?
If your cell phone is on the GSM network, you can use it. However, your roaming costs will be high. Your best option is to bring an unlocked phone, and purchase a SIM card here to have a local number–you can obtain one with your passport ID, and activate it at any of the telecommunications companies here, including Claro and Altice. The SIM card costs less than US$5, and you will need to purchase additional phone credit for calls, at your discretion.
Will businesses accept American dollars or euros?
Businesses in tourist destinations, including restaurants, bars, department stores, souvenir shops, and supermarkets tend to accept dollars, though you will receive a less favorable rate than at the banks. That said, most prices in the Dominican Republic are in Dominican pesos. If you plan to make a big purchase in small shops and markets, negotiate first with the seller who may be interested in receiving the payment in American dollars or euros. Prices are fixed, however, in supermarkets and shopping mall stores. Your best bet is to use an ATM to withdraw local currency at the best daily exchange rate.
Is it best to change money at the airport?
This is fine for convenience only–to pay for your airport taxi and your first transactions. Otherwise, if you must exchange money, head to one of the main banks in the Dominican Republic–they use the Central Bank’s daily rate as the benchmark for exchange transactions, so the difference in the exchange rate between banks is negligible. Banks close at 5pm on weekdays, but most branches inside shopping malls remain open until around 7pm-8pm. ATM machines are available at supermarkets and shopping malls until later hours. For security reasons, it is best to use the exchange services or withdraw from ATMs as you go along.
How much is the sales tax?
The ITBIS (Impuesto sobre Transferencia de Bienes Industrializados y Servicios or the value-added tax for transferring industrial goods and services) is 18% and is applied to most purchases. In restaurants, bars, and hotels, a further 10% is automatically added as a service charge.
What is the current exchange rate?
Foreign currencies fluctuate from day to day, according to the market. You can check the exchange rates directly with commercial banks and exchange offices.
What regulations exist for traveling with children?
If the child is a foreigner, only a passport is required. There are exceptions if the child has a parent who is a resident in the Dominican Republic. Consult your airline for travel requirements for unaccompanied minors.
I have booked my vacation in Dominican Republic and I have limited mobility. Can I rent a mobility scooter in the DR?
Yes, of course. Very simple: you can call 1-844-283-8989 (toll-free number) or visit www.scootersdr.com
What are the typical foods that I should try?
Dominican food is very diverse. In the morning, sample mangú (green plantains, boiled and mashed) with eggs, fried cheese, and fried salami–the traditional Dominican breakfast. At midday, la bandera dominicana (Dominican flag) is the typical lunch plate with rice, red kidney beans, a meat stew, and tostones–mashed and double-fried green plantains. Also popular are chicharrón or pork rinds, locrio de pollo or fried rice with chicken, mofongo–plantain mound with deep fried pork or shrimp, and garlic, fish in coconut sauce, stewed crab and conch, roasted or stewed goat with boiled cassava, and sancocho (a seven-meat stew) accompanied by avocado for dinner. And of course, don’t forget to try cassava bread, and queso de hoja–an artisanal cow’s milk cheese.
Dominican desserts are popular as well–sample grated coconut in cream, sweet beans, sour milk desserts, orange sweets, milk sweets, papaya and pineapple desserts, and guava and cashew paste soaked in syrup. Tropical fruit juices abound, often made into fruit milkshakes or batidas: passion fruit, guava, pineapple, orange, strawberry, mango, mandarin, and papaya.
Don’t miss out on tasting fresh sugar cane juice from one of the fields located throughout the country. You should also sample Dominican coconut water from one of the hundreds of coconut groves and forest–you will love the Dominican coconut’s delicious, thick pulp.
Is it worth visiting the capital city of Santo Domingo?
Absolutely! Santo Domingo is the first city of the Americas, and was designated the American Capital of Culture for 2010. Its Colonial City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, filled with museums, arts, culture, and the city’s most popular restaurants. The good news is that you can get to Santo Domingo easily and affordably, for less than US$10, from various parts of the country– including from Punta Cana, Samaná, La Romana, and Puerto Plata, among others– comfortable air conditioned coach buses: Expreso Bávaro, Caribe Tours, or Metro Tours. Staying overnight is your best bet. If you are only day tripping, keep the travel distances in mind.
Will I be able to see a baseball game during my stay?
To make sure you catch a baseball game–“juego de pelota” as we call it in the DR–you will need to visit during the winter baseball season which runs from mid-October through the end of January. The tournament champion goes on to represent the DR in what is known as the Caribbean Series, when the winning teams from Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Venezuela compete. No matter where you are staying in the country, you will have a stadium in your destination, or one that is less than an hour’s drive away. They are located in these main cities: Santo Domingo (Quisqueya Stadium), Santiago (Cibao Stadium), La Romana (Francisco Micheli Stadium), San Pedro de Macorís (Tetelo Vargas Stadium), and San Francisco de Macorís (Julián Javier Stadium). For schedule, tickets and prices, and other information visit official website of the Dominican Baseball League.
I’d like to bring my drone on the trip – do I need any permits, and what are the drone-flying restrictions in DR?
Drone flying is regulated by the Dominican Civil Aviation Institute (Instituto Dominicano de Aviación Civil or IDAC). As of April 2018, if your drone weighs less than 4.4 pounds (two kilograms), you are not required to have a permit. However, we strongly suggest that you still request permission from IDAC (http://www.idac.gob.do) before entering the country because the customs department at the airport tends to hold this kind of item in order to charge duties taxes. Having a letter of permission ahead of arrival will make it easier for you upon entering the DR.
In addition, you must always comply with the following:
- The drone must be made of flexible materials, in case of possible impact towards any object or person, for minimum danger to the person or object struck.
- The drone must be manually operated, allowing you or the operator to maintain direct visual contact at all times and not exceeding 400 feet (122 meters) of distance from you or the operator;
- You must not fly the drone inside a five-mile radius (8 kms) of any airport.
- You must operate the drone in conditions of weather flight vision—not at night—and it must be permanently in your sight and control or that of the operator; and
- You must be sure, prior to commencing flying your drone, that the aircraft and its control system are in safe operating conditions.
- Obtain verbal permission from the resort or any private property over which you intend to fly your drone, and to operate when the area is not crowded so as not to invade anyone’s privacy, particularly over busy beaches.
- If your drone is over the above 4.4 pounds (two kilograms) weight limit, you will need a permit issued from IDAC. Contact them directly at DTAC@idac.gov.do to receive an application and start the process at least a month before your trip.
If your drone weighs over 4.4 pounds (two kilograms), you are required by law to submit a permission request to IDAC (http://www.idac.gob.do). In this request, you must specify the date, time, and place of use, and the nature of usage (commercial or personal).
Be sure to check regularly on any changes in IDAC drone regulations.
Are there closed fishing seasons in the DR?
Yes, the Dominican Republic imposes several closed fishing seasons. By law, it is prohibited for anyone to fish, consume, or possess the following marine species during these designated time periods:
Lobster: March 1- June 30
Crab: March 1 – June 30
Conch: July 1- Oct 31
This also means that these species should not be available for sale nor served at food establishments, markets, or other commercial locations during closed fishing months.
Fishing for parrotfish and sharks is strictly prohibited at all times, year round. Violating these laws will result in hefty fines and imprisonment.
I have other questions I would like to ask–who can I speak with before arrival?
The Ministry of Tourism has over 30 offices and representations abroad, including in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, South America, Europe, and Asia. Feel free to contact them directly with your additional questions.
Is the Yellow Fever vaccine required for passengers coming from Brazil?
All passengers arriving in the Dominican Republic from the Brazilian states of Espiritu Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo, must present their International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (CIVP) showing proof of vaccination against yellow fever at least 10 days prior to their arrival in the country.
Exempt from this provision are children under 10 months of age, pregnant women and travelers who have only transited for a period of less than 12 hours at an airport in any of the Brazilian states mentioned above. Any person who has a contraindication to the vaccine must present a medical certificate justifying it.
Is the Yellow Fever vaccine required for passengers and crew members coming from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela?
As of October 15, 2021, all passengers and crew members arriving to the Dominican Republic from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela must present the Vaccination Card, evidencing that they have been vaccinated against yellow fever. This measure also applies to all passengers coming from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela arriving to the Dominican Republic from another country, and for those who have been in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the last 14 days or less. This measure applies to all passengers aged one (1) or over.
Are there any restrictions for passengers and crew from the Republic of Equatorial Guinea due to Malburg Virus?
As of February 21, 2023, the entry into the Dominican Republic of passengers and crew coming from the Republic of Equatorial Guinea is suspended, due to the sanitary alert declared in said country for the Marburg virus.
This measure also applies to all passengers and crew coming from a third country that have been in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea since February 8, 2023, as well as transit passengers and minors.
This measure may be revised, rescinded, or extended by the Dominican Civil Aviation Board, according to updates received on the health alert issued by the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.