Security Alert
May 17, 2024

Worldwide Caution

International Travel


Learn About Your Destination

Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
Exercise increased caution in the Dominican Republic due to crime.

Reissued after periodic review without changes.

Exercise increased caution in the Dominican Republic due to crime.

Country Summary: Violent crime, including armed robbery, homicide, and sexual assault, is a concern throughout the Dominican Republic. The development of a professional tourist police corps, institution of a 911 system in many parts of the country, and a concentration of resources in resort areas means these tend to be better policed than urban areas like Santo Domingo. The wide availability of weapons, the use and trade of illicit drugs, and a weak criminal justice system contribute to the high level of criminality on the broader scale.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to the Dominican Republic.

If you decide to travel to the Dominican Republic:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Follow the advice of resort and tour operators regarding local safety and security concerns.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for the Dominican Republic.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations.  Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

Embassy Messages


Quick Facts


Passports must be valid for the period of stay in the Dominican Republic.


1 page required for entry stamp


Not required for visits shorter than 30 days


None required if arriving from the United States




$10,000 and over or its equivalent must be declared

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo

Av. República de Colombia #57
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Telephone: +(809) 567-7775
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:+(809) 567-7775, dial zero (0) ask for Duty Officer
Hours: Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM except U.S. and Dominican holidays 

Consular Agencies

U.S. Consular Agent - Puerto Plata
Plaza el Doral, carretera Luperón KM 3 1/2 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Telephone: +(809) 586-4204, +(809) 586-8023
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: (809) 567-7775, dial zero (0) ask for Duty Officer
Hours: Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM except U.S. and Dominican holidays

U.S. Consular Agent - Bavaro/Punta Cana
Palma Real Shopping Center
Business Center 2nd Floor
Bavaro, La Altagracia, Dominican Republic
Telephone: (809) 552-8990
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(809) 567-7775, dial zero (0) ask for Duty Officer
Hours: Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM except U.S. and Dominican holidays

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Visas are not required for visits shorter than 30 days. Visit the Embassy of the Dominican Republic website for current visa information.

All visitors to the Dominican Republic are charged a $10 tourist card fee that is incorporated into airline charges. Cruise passengers must obtain a tourist card if they are disembarking for longer than 24 hours. Once used, the card allows for stays up to 30 days but can be extended at the General Directorate of Migration in Santo Domingo.

Contact the Migration Department in Santo Domingo for visa extension requests. Failure to request an extension will result in a fine at the airport upon departure. The fines range from approximately $55 USD for one month to as high as $1,555 USD for overstays of 10 years or more.

All passengers are required to fill out an E-Ticket or paper form when entering or exiting the Dominican Republic. If using E-Ticket, a new form is required for each entry and exit and the code generated upon form completion can be presented at the airport on a digital device.

Visitors must have a ticket entering and leaving the country, the financial means to pay for their stay, and an address in the Dominican Republic where they will be staying.

Exit Requirements for Children: Minors (children under 18) who are citizens (including dual citizens) or legal residents of the Dominican Republic, if not accompanied by both parents or legal guardian(s), are required to present official proof of parental consent to travel. Please see the Dominican Migration Department's website for detailed instructions on the required documents.

HIV/AIDS Restrictions: Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic has restrictions on granting residency to people with HIV/AIDS. Please verify information with the Dominican Republic’s Migration Department before you travel.

Yellow Fever Vaccine: Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers entering the Dominican Republic from Brazil. Similar requirements may apply to those traveling from other countries with yellow fever risk.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Crime: Crime is a threat throughout the Dominican Republic. Tourist destinations are generally more policed than metropolitan areas.

  • If robbed, hand over your personal belongings without resisting.
  • Do not carry or wear valuable items that will attract attention.
  • Be wary of strangers.
  • Travel with a partner or group if possible.

International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information.

Dating App Robberies: Several U.S. citizen travelers in the Dominican Republic have reported that they were robbed by people they met through popular online dating applications. If meeting with strangers, you should strongly consider meeting only in public places and avoiding isolated locations where crimes are most likely to occur.

Demonstrations: Avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if you are in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.

Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local tourist police (POLITUR) at 809-222-2026 or 911 and contact the U.S. Embassy at 809-567-7775. 911 is operational throughout the country apart from some areas located near the Haitian border. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • Help you find appropriate medical care.
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police.
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent.
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion.
  • Provide a list of local attorneys.
  • Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution.
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact POLITUR (809-222-2026), the National Police (809-682-2151), and the U.S. Embassy for assistance.

Sexual Assault: Rape and sexual assault has been reported throughout the Dominican Republic, including at major resorts and hotels.

Notes for your safety:

  • U.S. citizens have been targeted with date rape drugs.
  • Sexual assault victims in the Dominican Republic should not expect the totality of assistance offered in the United States. Rape kits are often not available until the following morning and must be administered by Dominican authorities.
  • Victims often have to request medication to avoid transmission of STDs and reduce the chances of pregnancy.
  • Prosecution of a rape case moves forward very slowly. Dominican law may require the victim to return to the Dominican Republic at some stages of the judicial process.
  • Security outside of the resort area, including beach areas, is unpredictable, especially at night.

Best Practices:

  • Contact the police/hotel management if resort staff demonstrate unwanted attention.
  • Victims of sexual/other assault should contact the police and the Embassy. Insist that hotel management take immediate action by contacting the police.
  • In a resort, avoid secluded places. Always be accompanied by someone you know, even going to the restroom.
  • Do not consume alcoholic beverages alone or with new acquaintances. Do not leave drinks unattended.  Know your limits and help your friends/travelling companions to remain safe.
  • Shout for help immediately if threatened or made uncomfortable.
  • Report suspicious activity, including excessive friendliness by hotel employees, to hotel management, the U.S. Embassy, and local police.
  • Do not swim alone due to life-threatening undertows.

Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities may not commonly occur in all parts of the country. Hazardous areas and activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in or near major cities or major tourist zones. First responders may be unable to access areas outside of major cities or major tourist zones. The ability to provide urgent medical treatment may be limited. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business. 

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs in the Dominican Republic are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage and general information on legal assistance for further information.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, their possession they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in the Dominican Republic.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers with Disabilities: The law in the Dominican Republic prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual or mental disabilities, but the law is not enforced consistently. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States. Accessible facilities, information, communication/access to services and ease of movement is limited in most parts of the country. Large resorts and Santo Domingo may have some generally accessible infrastructure, but travelers should not expect the level available in the United States.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Disaster Preparedness: Register with the Embassy on or before your arrival through our travel registration website. In the event of a natural disaster or emergency, this will keep you informed. Additional information on natural disasters and disaster preparedness can be found on our website.

Real Estate: Property rights are irregularly enforced, and investors often encounter problems in receiving clear title to land. Consult a reputable attorney before signing documents or closing on any real estate transactions. Real estate investments by U.S. citizens have been subject to legal and physical takeover attempts. Absentee landlords and absentee owners of undeveloped land are particularly vulnerable. Consider purchasing title insurance.

Scams: Scammers often target elderly people by pretending to be a law enforcement official, an attorney, or a U.S. Embassy official, claiming that a loved one has been arrested overseas. The caller instructs the victim to wire money. Scammers sometimes impersonate family members, such as a scared grandchild. Contact the U.S. Embassy before wiring money to the Dominican Republic. When in doubt, try to contact your loved one directly.


For emergency services in the Dominican Republic, dial 911 or 809-202-2026.

Ambulance services:

  • The training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards.
  • Ambulances are not present or reliable in most areas of the country. They are more reliable and available in Santo Domingo, Santiago, Punta Cana, and Puerto Plata.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas.  Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the Ministry for Public Health to ensure the medication is legal in the Dominican Republic.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.

Health facilities in general:

  • Public medical clinics lack basic resources and supplies.
  • Hospitals and doctors require payment “up front” prior to service or admission.
  • Private hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance before admitting a patient.
  • Be aware that some hotels, resorts, etc. have exclusive agreements with medical providers, which have costs associated and may limit your choices in seeking emergency medical attention.
  • Medical staff may speak little or no English.
  • Generally, in public hospitals only minimal staff is available overnight in non-emergency wards. Consider hiring a private nurse or having family spend the night with the patient, especially a minor child.
  • Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals.
  • Psychological and psychiatric services are limited, even in the larger cities, with hospital-based care only available through government institutions

Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery

U.S. citizens have suffered serious complications or died during or after having cosmetic or other elective surgery. 

If you are considering travel to the Dominican Republic for cosmetic surgery, be mindful of the following:

  • Have a medical evaluation from a U.S. doctor to determine if you are a good candidate for surgery.
  • Before travel, carefully research the doctor (e.g. qualifications, experience performing the surgery, complication rate) and credentials of the recovery facility you plan to use.
  • Share all health information (e.g. medical conditions, medications, allergies) with your doctor before your surgery.
  • Obtain international travel insurance that covers medical evacuation back to the United States and repatriation of remains. For more information, see:
  • See a travel medicine professional in the United States at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to discuss healthy travel and to learn about specific risks related to your surgery and travel. For more information on the risks of medical tourism, see:
  • Your legal options in case of malpractice are very limited in the Dominican Republic. 

Tap Water: Tap water is unsafe to drink. Bottled water and beverages are considered safe. Please note that many restaurants use tap water for ice.

Adventure Travel

  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel.

General Health

The following diseases are prevalent:

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in the Dominican Republic.

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Driving conditions vary across the country. Drive defensively and with extreme caution.

Consider hiring a professional driver instead of driving yourself. You can hire licensed drivers who are familiar with local roads through local car rental agencies. In case of accidents, normally only the driver will be taken into custody. In 2019 six people died per day due to traffic accidents in the Dominican Republic.

Frequent hazards include:

  • other drivers not using headlights and/or taillights after dark
  • animals in the road
  • missing manhole covers and large potholes
  • uneven road surfaces
  • scooters and motorcycles driving erratically and splitting lanes
  • driving on sidewalks or against traffic
  • intersections without stop signs
  • unregulated and congested traffic patterns
  • speeding or the running of stoplights
  • heavy urban traffic

Traffic Laws: Traffic laws are not enforced consistently. After an accident causing serious injury or death, authorities will often take the driver into custody, even if the driver is insured and appears to have not been at fault. Detentions frequently last until a judicial decision has been reached or until a waiver has been signed by the injured party.

Seat belts, and helmets for motorcyclists, are required by law. Violators may be fined. There are no child car seat laws. Police stop drivers using cell phones without a hands-free device.

Public Transportation: Public transportation includes a metro and public bus system as well as shared bus or van taxis known as “guaguas” (converted vans or microbuses, often without doors). Guaguas run regular routes within urban areas and between towns in the countryside. Public buses and guaguas operating in the capital do not meet U.S. safety standards.

Avoid unregulated taxis, which also often lack basic safety features. Use a reputable taxi service, either one recommended by your hotel or a well-known, vetted company. Rideshare services such as Uber are available in many parts of the country. Private bus lines travel between large cities and to popular tourist destinations. 

See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Tourism and INTRANT (Instituto Nacional de Transito y Transporte Terrestre) the national authority responsible for road safety.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of the Dominican Republic’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s website.  FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: The U.S. Coast Guard has concerns about the security practices in the ports of the Dominican Republic. Until those concerns can be addressed, the Coast Guard advises that Mariners and passengers on commercial vessels traveling through the ports of the Dominican Republic should exercise caution.

Mariners planning travel to the Dominican Republic should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Dominican Republic. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: September 22, 2023

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo
Av. República de Colombia #57
Santo Domingo,
Dominican Republic
+(809) 567-7775
+(809) 567-7775, dial zero (0) ask for Duty Office
No Fax

Dominican Republic Map