Dominican Republic - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel

Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel.

Last published date: 2021-09-05

Business Customs

Appropriate business attire is expected. Despite the warm weather, men should wear conservative dark-colored suits. Women should wear suits or dresses. Dominicans are fashion conscious and businesspersons take great pride in their appearance.

Lunch meetings are common. Breakfast meetings are becoming more common, particularly among companies doing business internationally. Business appointments are generally required, but strict punctuality is not a consistent part of Dominican business practices. Many Dominican businesspersons speak English but communication in Spanish is far more prevalent. Business cards are exchanged.

Travel Advisory

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

Visitors to the Dominican Republic are encouraged to register their trip with the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By registering through STEP, you will ensure that you receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in the Dominican Republic, helping you make informed decisions about your travel.  Also, registering with STEP will help the Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. 

The U.S. Department of State has produced a Country Specific Information Sheet on the Dominican Republic, as it does for all countries. This document provides basic information about passport and visa requirements, the safety and security situation, crime concerns and other topics that may be of use to U.S. citizen travelers, including those traveling for business. 

The Consular Information Sheet, which may be found at the Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs portal, also includes further links to Dominican government web sites, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other offices and agencies that travelers may wish to consult in advance of travel to the Dominican Republic. Consular Information Sheets are updated at least twice per year, so travelers should check the above link shortly before their planned trip to obtain the latest information.

Visa Requirements

Since April 2018, the US$10 tourist card fee is included in all tickets purchased outside of the Dominican Republic. Tourist cards may also be purchased at the Dominican Embassy in Washington or Dominican Consulates prior to arrival, as well as at Dominican airports at the time of entry. Tourist cards normally permit a legal stay of up to 30 days. Visitors who would like to extend their time in the Dominican Republic should visit the Visitors who would like to extend their time in the Dominican Republic should visit the 

Migration Department in Santo Domingo and request an extension.   Failure to request an extension will subject the visitor to a surcharge at the airport upon departure.

U.S. visitors for business purposes should apply for a business visa at the Dominican Embassy in Washington or Consulate prior to arrival.

For more information on visa requirements and fees please visit Embassy of the Dominican Republic in the United States of America portal.    

U.S. companies that require travel of Dominican businesspersons to the United States should be advised that visa application services will be provided to visa applicants by an authorized partner.

To learn more about the visa application process, pay the visa application fee online, schedule an appointment, and follow up on the status of your application please visit U.S. Visa Information Service for the Dominican Republic portal..

Currency

The Dominican Peso is the official currency of the Dominican Republic.  It is fully convertible for commercial and capital transactions.  The locations where currency can be exchanged most easily include hotels, wire transfer offices, and banks. Many local companies accept U.S. dollar and major credit cards (visa and master card) as a method of payment.

These include restaurants, supermarkets, hotels, cell phone and electronic stores, and travel companies. The use of ATM machines is available in urban areas including hotels, shopping malls, and international airports.

Telecommunications/Electronics

The telecommunications industry in the Dominican Republic has grown over the last five years and has been characterized by greater competition, price reductions, and the introduction of new technologies, which allows the industry to offer the latest products and services. The highly-competitive cellular sub-sector has experienced significant growth in the last few years. The country enjoys a modern telecommunication law, which facilitates investment in the sector by providing equal treatment for local and foreign investors; allows price rates to be set freely by the industry players; and guarantees interconnection rights. Although there are four providers of telephone services; the local, long distance, cellular, and ISP markets are dominated by Claro and Altice. Other providers of telecommunication services are Viva and Wind Telecom.

Transportation

The Dominican Republic has eight international airports:

Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo is the largest of the international airports in the Dominican Republic, however, the airport in Punta Cana processes more travelers primarily visiting this popular tourist destination.

Ground transportation is available through taxis, car rental, and public transportation; extra time should be built in to allow for possible delays arising from traffic congestion.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevenion portal give the most recent health advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements, and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. The Dominican Republic is one of the countries most impacted by the Zika virus so special attention to the CDC advisories and publications is strongly advised. The CDC publication “Health Information for International Travel” can be found at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel

There is a growing trend in the Dominican Republic to travel to the United States for medical treatment, especially among executives and upper-class families. Dominicans regard the United States as the best source for health care services and modern medical technology. Favorite destinations for medical treatment are Florida, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Puerto Rico. Some major private hospitals have patient referral contracts with U.S. hospitals.

Local Time, Business Hours and Holidays

The Dominican Republic is on Atlantic Standard Time (AST) year-round and does not observe daylight savings time. AST is the same time as Eastern Standard Time (EST) from April to November, but the DR is one hour ahead during daylight savings time (DST).

Business hours are generally from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Government offices work from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Some companies work on Saturday mornings. The lunch hour is from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. or 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Dominican Holidays 2021

Source: Dominican Ministry of Labor Portal.

January 1st 

New Year’s Day

January 4th (In observance of Day of the Epihany, January 6th)

Day of the Epiphany

January 21st  

The Virgin of Altagracia

January 25th (In observance of Duarte’s Birthday, January 26th)

Duarte’s Birthday

February 27th 

Dominican Independence

April 2nd    

Good Friday

May 1st  

Dominican Labor Day

June 3rd   

Corpus Christi

August 16th 

Dominican Restoration Day

September 24th 

The Virgin of Mercedes

November 6th

Constitution Day

December 25th 

Christmas Day

Temporary Entry of Materials or Personal Belongings

Those who wish to bring in items temporarily such as software, exhibit material, etc., are required to identify the items at Customs, and fill out a form of temporary admission (Formulario de Admision Temporal); no tax payment is required.  On departure from the country, the Customs authorities will require the traveler to fill out another form to verify the previous form filled out upon arrival. Laptop computers can be brought in duty free.

Travel Related Resources

U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo:

https://do.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/

U.S. State Department – Bureau of Consular Affairs:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/DominicanRepublic.html