The Dominican Republic has a developing economy. Tourist facilities vary, depending on price and area.
A valid passport, a Certificate of Naturalization/Citizenship, or a U.S. birth certificate and photo identification is required for both entry and exit. A U.S. passport is strongly recommended, since it can expedite entry and exit and is more readily recognized as a form of positive identification. Charter passengers should verify entry and exit requirements with the charter company. Minors under 13 years of age traveling alone or with anyone other than a parent must present written authorization from a parent. This authorization must be notarized at a Dominican consulate. For further information concerning entry and exit requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Dominican Republic, 1715 22nd Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone: (202) 332-6280, the Dominican consulates in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, or Texas, or the Internet at http://www.domrep.org.
General strikes called by labor and political groups occur periodically. At these times, American citizens should review their security practices and maintain a low profile. Although these strikes are not targeted at foreigners, it is advisable to be careful when traveling throughout the country, and in urban areas, travel should be done on main routes whenever possible. Street crowds should be avoided. Additional advice about strikes may be obtained from the U.S. Embassy at the telephone numbers listed below.
Petty street crime involving U.S. tourists does occur and normal precautions should be taken. Valuables left unattended in parked automobiles, on beaches, and in other public places are subject to theft. Burglaries of private residences have increased, as have crimes of violence. Some incidents of violent crime have involved foreign residents and tourists, including U.S. citizens. The larger, better-known resort complexes, which rely on private security services, have generally not been affected.
The loss or theft of a U.S. passport overseas should be reported to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate. A lost or stolen U.S. birth certificate and/or driverís license generally cannot be replaced outside the U.S. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of Stateís pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
Medical care is limited. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the U.S. can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the U.S. The information below concerning the Dominican Republic is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Traffic laws are similar to the U.S., but undisciplined driving is common, due to a lack of adequate traffic controls. Travel at night on inter-city highways and in rural areas should be avoided, due to vehicles being driven at excessive speeds, often with malfunctioning headlights or taillights.
For specific information concerning Dominican Republic driverís permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Dominican Republic National Tourist Organization offices in New York, telephone 1-888-374-6361.
While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that countryís laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the U.S. and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the U.S. for similar offenses. Persons violating Dominican Republic laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in the Dominican Republic are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
CURRENCY REGULATIONS: 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. No more than $10,000 U.S. or its equivalent in another currency may be taken out of the Dominican Republic at the time of departure.
REAL ESTATE: Real estate investments require caution because property rights are irregularly enforced. Investors often encounter problems in receiving clear title to land, and title insurance is not available. Real estate investments by U.S. citizens have been the subject of take-over attempts, either legal or physical. Squatters, sometimes supported by government or non-governmental organizations, have invaded properties belonging to U.S. citizens, threatening violence and blocking the owners from entering their property. Several U.S. citizens have long-standing expropriation disputes with the Dominican government and have not received compensation.
Americans living in or visiting the Dominican Republic are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo and obtain updated information on travel and security within the Dominican Republic. The U.S. Embassy is located at the corner of Calle Cesar Nicolas Penson and Calle Leopoldo Navarro in Santo Domingo; telephone (809) 221-2171; after-hours: (809) 221-8100. The Consular Section is a half-mile away at the corner of Calle Cesar Nicolas Penson and Maximo Gomez; telephone (809) 221-5030, Internet: http://usemb.gov.do/acs.htm. Consular office hours are 7:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, except holidays. There is a Consular Agency in Puerto Plata at Calle Beller 51, 2nd floor, office 6; telephone (809) 586-4204; office hours are 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m, Monday-Friday, except holidays. U.S. citizens may register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security in the Dominican Republic.