COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers

Dominican Republic travel advice

Latest updates: Safety and security - updated information on the border with Haiti

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Risk level

Dominican Republic - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in the Dominican Republic due to crime.

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Safety and security

Border closure with Haiti

As of October 30th, the Government of the Dominican Republic reopened its air border with Haiti. Land and sea borders with Haiti remain closed to travellers.

Canadian citizens arriving from Haiti will only be able to enter the Dominican Republic by air. The Embassy of Canada in Santo Domingo cannot help you enter the Dominican Republic from Haiti by land or sea.

Crime

Crime occurs in the Dominican Republic, including violent crime, especially in major cities. However, most incidents are opportunistic crime which is the most significant threat for tourists.

Petty crime

Petty crime, including pickpocketing and bag-snatching, occurs throughout the country. Tourists are common targets for theft. Crime tends to rise during holiday periods.

Incidents occur:

  • at resorts
  • at beaches
  • at airports
  • at bus stations
  • on public transportation

Theft also occurs from all-inclusive hotel rooms and from hotel room safes, as well as from cars, particularly rentals.

Drive-by robberies, where thieves on motorcycles, scooters or bicycles grab bags and other valuables from pedestrians, occur frequently. Thieves may even reach into vehicles, including taxis, stopped at red lights to steal belongings.

Theft of items from checked baggage at airports has been reported. These thefts have taken place most frequently when travellers are departing. Money and personal items have also been stolen from carry-on luggage while travellers are going through security checks. All bags are routinely X-rayed upon arrival and departure.

  • Be wary of individuals who ask for directions or who try to be too helpful
  • Watch out for hustlers selling various wares, particularly in Santo Domingo
  • Stay at hotels or resorts with good security
  • Be wary of anyone who tries to enter your room
  • Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Avoid carrying your bag slung over your shoulder
  • Carry only small amounts of money and avoid showing signs of affluence
  • Keep electronic devices like cellphones, tablets, laptops and cameras out of sight
  • Keep car doors locked, windows up and your belongings out of sight
  • Don’t pack valuables in your checked luggage
  • Verify that your luggage has not been tampered with before you check in at the airport

Assault

Violent crime against foreigners, including assault, occasionally occurs. Incidents take place mainly in large cities, at night or early morning. Some have been targeted in armed robberies when travelling to the Las Américas International Airport, sometimes in taxis.

  • Arrange your arrival to and departure from the Dominican Republic in daylight hours
  • Use the taxi service authorized by the airport
  • Avoid unmarked taxis, especially in Santo Domingo
  • Keep car doors locked and windows up, especially at a traffic light
  • Avoid walking alone in unpopulated areas and unpatrolled beaches after dark
  • If threatened by robbers, don’t resist

Security forces are understaffed and underequipped. The police are often unable to respond in a timely manner to calls for assistance.

Scams

Criminals impersonating police officers will stop vehicles and ask foreign drivers for payment of fines for made-up offences.

Regulations require police to wear a nametag with their last name. You have the right to ask police for identification.

If Dominican police stop you for a traffic violation:

  • request a traffic ticket
  • don’t pay the ticket on the spot

Rogue lawyers

Rogue lawyers are a problem in tourist areas, particularly in Punta Cana.

These lawyers stand near the tourist police (CESTUR) station and try to recruit desperate foreigners, brought to the station for detention purposes, as clients. Then, they try to extort excessive amounts of money from them by offering legal representation or assistance getting out of jail.

Fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud and cloning are significant concerns. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Overseas fraud

Spiked food and drinks

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

Women’s safety

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.

Incidents of assault, rape and sexual aggression against foreigners have occurred, including at beach resorts. In some cases, hotel employees have been implicated.

  • Exercise caution when dealing with strangers or recent acquaintances
  • Be wary of rides or other invitations
  • Avoid taking public transportation or walking alone at night

If you are a victim of a sexual assault or other crime, you should report it immediately to the nearest Canadian consulate or embassy.

You should also file a report with Dominican authorities. No criminal investigation is possible without a formal complaint to Dominican authorities before departing the country.

Advice for women travellers

Demonstrations and strikes

Demonstrations take place from time to time throughout the country, particularly in Santo Domingo.

Demonstrations have largely been peaceful and have not affected tourist areas, although local travel outside resorts could be affected.

Labour strikes occur frequently in the town of Higuey, near Punta Cana, and may affect hotel service.

Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Power outages

The power infrastructure is unreliable and lacks maintenance. Power outages are frequent although they mainly occur in poor neighbourhoods of major urban areas.

Recreational activities

Sporting and aquatic equipment may not meet Canadian safety standards.

If engaging in recreational activities:

  • ensure that equipment is safe and in good condition
  • ensure helmets and life jackets are available
  • before undertaking extreme or eco-tourism activities, ensure that businesses offering excursions follow proper safety measures
  • avoid excursions that are not offered by tour operators
  • avoid participating in any water activities when you are under the influence of alcohol or other substances
  • check that your travel insurance covers accidents related to recreational activities

Water safety

Coastal waters can be dangerous. Follow the instructions and warnings of local authorities.

Rescue services may not be consistent with international standards.

Water safety abroad

Road safety

The Dominican Republic has one of the highest road accident rates in the world.

Road conditions and road safety can vary greatly throughout the country. Although major highways connecting cities and tourist areas are generally in good condition, most secondary roads, are poorly maintained and poorly lit. Marked lanes are lacking. There are vehicles travelling in the wrong direction. Traffic is congested due to the significant number of trucks and motorcycles. Pedestrians don’t have the right of way, even at traffic lights.

Drivers don’t respect traffic laws. They often drive at excessive speeds, and are extremely aggressive and reckless. Drinking and driving is prevalent. Many vehicles are in poor condition and don’t have working headlights or mirrors.

Military and police road blocks are common, especially in areas near the Haitian border.

  • Don’t drive after dark
  • Be especially cautious if you need to drive during holiday periods, such as Christmas or Easter
  • Take extra care when walking, particularly in Santo Domingo

Scooters

The number of moped and scooter accidents involving tourists is increasing.

If renting a scooter or moped:

  • be vigilant while driving
  • avoid renting from operators who don’t provide a helmet with the rental
  • avoid driving on roads in disrepair

Border with Haiti

The security environment is highly unpredictable in the border areas between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, particularly in Dajabón, with regular disturbances and incidents which can lead to violence. Emergency services are often not available near the border. 

If you choose to travel near the border with Haiti:

  • exercise caution at all times
  • avoid travelling at night
  • monitor local media to stay informed of the current situation
  • follow instructions from local authorities and security forces.

Public transportation

Buses

Private companies operate reliable buses between cities.

Avoid public buses and gua-guas – microbuses – which often don’t have doors.

Taxis

Taxis are not metered. Upon arrival to the Dominican Republic, use the taxi service authorized by the airport.

During your stay:

  • use hotel taxis or ride-hailing apps which are generally safe
  • avoid unmarked taxis
  • avoid using or renting motorcycle taxis (motoconchos)
  • avoid route taxis (gua-guas or carros publicos)
  • negotiate the fare prior to departure

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

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Entry and exit requirements

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the authorities of the Dominican Republic. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Passport

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months after the date of your arrival in the Dominican Republic.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

Tourist visa: not required for up to 30 days
Work visa: required
Student visa: required
Residence visa: required

Other entry requirements

Customs officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket.

Electronic ticket for entry and exit

You must complete an electronic form to enter and exit the country in order to share information about your health and your stay with local authorities.

You must fill this form before boarding your flight to the Dominican Republic. This electronic form doesn’t replace the Tourist card.

Electronic ticket for entry and exit – Government of the Dominican Republic

Tourist card

As a tourist, you must obtain a tourist card to enter the Dominican Republic. It is included in all air tickets issued outside the country.

If you enter the Dominican Republic by land or sea, you can obtain the card from the General Directorate of Internal Taxes at your point of entry. It is valid for one year from the issuance date and it can be used for a 30-day stay period.

If you overstay the duration of your tourist card, local authorities could deny you entry, on your next trip, if you don’t have the proper visa, even if you paid a fine when leaving the country.

Dominican tourist card – Directorate general of internal taxes (in Spanish)

Stay extension

You can apply for a stay extension for a period up to 120 days. You must request your stay extension to the Dominican Directorate General for Migration once you are in Dominican Republic, before your tourist card expires.

If you wish to stay in the Dominican Republic for more than 120 days, you must obtain a resident visa from the Dominican authorities in Canada prior to your departure.   

If you overstay the period for which you have been authorized to stay, you will have to pay fine to immigration authorities when leaving the country.  You may also need to apply for a visa the next time you wish to return to the Dominican Republic.

Local authorities could deny you entry in the country if you don’t have the proper visa.

Stay extension - Dominican Directorate General for Migration

Identification

Immigration officials may conduct random ID checks.

You must carry photo identification and a copy of your entry stamp with you at all times.

  • Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case it’s lost or confiscated
  • Cooperate with authorities if they question you

Biometrics

As a foreign national, you will be required to provide biometrics to enter the Dominican Republic. For instance, authorities will take your fingerprints and a photograph.

Drug screening

The Dominican Republic is actively working to fight drug trafficking.

You may be subjected to drug screening measures by authorities upon departure from the country. They may search your luggage and ask you to sign a form, in Spanish, stating that the search was performed within procedural requirements.

In some cases, they may ask you to undergo an X-ray.

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

 

Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is required if arriving from some states in Brazil, including travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through an airport in those same states.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Hepatitis B

 Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.

Malaria

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes.
 
There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this destination. 

Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving. 
 
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times: 
• Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin. 
• Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows.
• Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area. 
• Wear permethrin-treated clothing. 
 
If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living. 

Rabies

In this destination, rabies is commonly carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.

If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. In this destination, rabies treatment may be limited or may not be available, therefore you may need to return to Canada for treatment. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals). 

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Cholera

Risk

Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.

To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.

Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:

  • visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
  • visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring

Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.

Travellers' diarrhea

Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.

The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Salmonellosis

Salmonellosis is a common illness among travellers to this country. It can be spread through contaminated food or beverages, such as raw or undercooked poultry and eggs, as well as fruits or vegetables.

Practice safe food and water precautions. This includes only eating food that is properly cooked and still hot when served.

Pregnant women, children under 5 years of age, those over 60 years of age, and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill.

Most people recover on their own without medical treatment and from proper rehydration (drinking lots of fluids).

Travellers with severe symptoms should consult a health care professional as soon as possible.

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Chikungunya

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

Dengue
  • In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.
Zika virus

Zika virus is a risk in this country.

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.

Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should visit a health care professional before travelling to discuss the potential risks of travelling to this country. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to this country.

Travel recommendations:

  • Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
  • If you are pregnant, always use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact with anyone who has travelled to this country for the duration of your pregnancy.
  • Women: Wait 2 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy. If your male partner travelled with you, wait 3 months after travel or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer).
  • Men: Wait 3 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.

For more travel recommendations, see the travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.

Medical services and facilities

Quality of care varies greatly throughout the country. Good health care is generally available only in major cities.

Private hospitals and clinics are better equipped than public ones. However, there are reports of overcharging for medical services, variable pricing and unnecessary overnight hospital stays at private facilities.

Beware of aggressive sales tactics of in-house resort doctors, who are often contracted out by private hospitals and try to sell you on their facility.

If you go to the hospital:

  • inquire about fees prior to undergoing treatment
  • let the hospital administrators know if you feel you have been overcharged after a visit
  • request assistance in English or French from the hospital’s guest services desk

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Medical tourism

Canadian citizens have had serious health complications following cosmetic or other elective surgeries abroad.

Before leaving for a medical travel:

  • make sure you have done your research
  • use reputable health-care providers only

Receiving medical care outside Canada

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

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Laws and culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

In accordance with Dominican law, a person detained or arrested by the authorities may be held without charges for up to 48 hours before the case is presented to a judge.

Judicial processes may last several years during which accused individuals are normally detained. It could lead to very long prison sentences in harsh conditions.

Overview of the criminal law system in the Dominican Republic

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and heavy fines.

The island is used as a drug trafficking hub between South and North America.

The authorities are enforcing strict border controls. Should you be found transporting illegal substances, you will be taken into custody right away.

  • Carry only your personal belongings, and don’t leave them unattended
  • Don’t agree to carry packages that are not your own

Useful link

Reporting crime

Dominican law stipulates that victims of crime, including foreigners, are responsible for reporting incidents to police.

If you wish to pursue prosecution or seek compensation, you will have to retain Dominican legal counsel to file a formal complaint to the police and to pursue the case through the justice system.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in the Dominican Republic.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of the Dominican Republic, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and the Dominican Republic.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in the Dominican Republic, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Dominican court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in the Dominican Republic to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

Useful links

Investments

If you plan on buying property, or making other investments in the Dominican Republic, seek legal advice in Canada and in the Dominican Republic. Do so before making commitments. Related disputes could take time and be costly to resolve.

Many tourists have reported financial problems and complications involving time-share arrangements and other property investment activities.

Timeshares

Time-share representatives may be very persistent. They use pressure tactics and offer free tours, meals, gifts or alcoholic beverages. At the airport, they pose as tourist operators and try to force tourists to make property investments.

  • Exercise caution whenever approached by time-share representatives
  • Provide your credit card only if you are sure you want to make the purchase

Before purchasing a timeshare:

  • gather as much information as possible
  • review carefully the contract; anything not included in the contract will not be honoured
  • ensure that constant vigilance of land will take place, as there have been several instances of disputed land occupation in the absence of the alleged owner
  • keep copies of all correspondence

Legal representation

If you are arrested or detained in the Dominican Republic, you have the right to a lawyer, who can be present during any questioning and at any trial or hearing.

If you cannot afford a lawyer, the Dominican government can provide you with a public defender.

Overview of the criminal law system in the Dominican Republic

Marriage

Marriages legally performed in the Dominican Republic are legally recognized in Canada.

If you wish to marry in the Dominican Republic, you should consult the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Canada for information on documents and procedures.

Driving

If you are involved in a road accident, you may be detained by police until the circumstances of the accident have been investigated.

You must carry an international driving permit.

International Driving Permit

Money

The currency of the Dominican Republic is the Dominican peso (DOP).

U.S. dollars are widely accepted. Canadian dollars are not.

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Natural disasters and climate

Hurricane season

Hurricanes usually occur from mid-May to the end of November. During this period, even small tropical storms can quickly develop into major hurricanes.

These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services.

If you decide to travel to a coastal area during the hurricane season:

  • know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
  • be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
  • stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
  • carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
  • follow the advice and instructions of local authorities

Useful links

Seismic activity

The Dominican Republic is located in an active seismic zone. Tremors occur from time to time.

Emergency operations centre - Dominican Republic government (in Spanish)

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Local services

Emergency services

In case of emergency, dial 911.

Tourist police

The tourist police (CESTUR) provide a security presence in tourist areas and first response assistance to tourists.

If in tourist areas, contact CESTUR: 1 809 200 3500

Road assistance

Free road assistance is offered on all major toll highways 24 hours a day.

Dial 1 829 688 1000.

Consular assistance

Santo Domingo - Embassy of Canada
Street AddressAv. Winston Churchill 1099 Torre Citigroup en Acropólis Center, 18th Floor Ensanche Piantini, Santo Domingo, Dominican RepublicPostal AddressP.O. Box 2054, Santo Domingo 1, Dominican RepublicTelephone(809) 262-3100Fax(809) 262-3108/(809) 262-3155Emailsdmgo.consul@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-Dominican-RepublicFacebookEmbassy of Canada to Dominican RepublicTwitter@EmbCanRD
Punta Cana - Office of the Embassy of Canada
Street AddressCarretera Veron- Bavaro, km 2.5, Amstar Business Center, Building 5, Suite 521, Punta Cana, Dominican RepublicTelephone(809) 455-1730Fax(809) 455-1734Emailsdmgo.consul@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-Dominican-RepublicFacebookEmbassy of Canada to the Dominican RepublicTwitter@EmbCanRD
Puerto Plata - Honorary consul of Canada
Street AddressCalle Villanueva No 8, Edificio Abraxas, Puerto Plata, Dominican RepublicTelephone(809) 586-5761Fax(809) 586-5762Emailpuerto-plata@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-Dominican-RepublicFacebookEmbassy of Canada to the Dominican RepublicTwitter@EmbCanRD

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in the Dominican Republic, in Santo Domingo, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

Disclaimer

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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