Dominican Republic - Business TravelD.R. - 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.
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 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.
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 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
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.
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.
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. Other providers of telecommunication services are Altice, Viva and Wind Telecom.
The Dominican Republic has eight international airports: Las Americas (Santo Domingo), Herrera (Santo Domingo), La Romana, Punta Cana, Santiago, Puerto Plata, Samana, and Barahona. Las Americas International Airport in Santo Domingo is the largest of the international airports; 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.
Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic.
Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) and a web site at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/yellowbook-home 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".
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 2019
|January 1st||New Year's Day|
|January 6th||Day of the Epiphany|
|January 21st||The Virgin of Altagracia|
|January 26th||Duarte's Birthday|
|February 27th||Dominican Independence|
|April 19th||Good Friday|
|April 29th (In observance of Dominican Labor Day, May 1st)||Dominican Labor Day|
|June 20th||Corpus Christi|
|August 16th||Dominican Restoration Day|
|September 24th||The Virgin of Mercedes|
|November 4th (In observance of Dominican Constitution, 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 Web Resources
U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo
U.S. State Department – Bureau of Consular Affairs
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