Driving in the Dominican Republic

Renting & importing a car

Driving in the Dominican Republic

Importing a car into the Dominican Republic is not an easy task with the process often being long and tedious. In many cases, buying a car in country is a much simpler alternative. However, if you do decide to import your car, have patience and track the process.

Renting a car

You need to be at last 21 years old (in some cases 25 years) to be able to rent a car. You will need to bring with you a valid passport, driver’s licence and credit card.

One-way car hire in Dominican Republic is possible but usually includes additional fees which depend on the collection and drop off destinations. These charges can be discussed beforehand along with any possible restrictions. Normally, all domestic one way bookings require a minimum 3 day rental contract.

Auto Europe Europcar  and Sixt  are the main rental companies in the country. They offer airport car hire, with branches throughout the country.

The prices depend greatly on the car model, length of the rental period, insurance, taxes and additional surcharges. You can get a small economy class car on a basic rate for RD$1458 (€29) per day excluding Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection (TP) which are additional charges. But, if you prefer cars from the SUV or premium classes, the price can go up to RD$6840 (€136) per day.

Importing a car

Customs clearance is held before any kind of importation process can begin. During this process you need to show your intent to reside in the country permanently. Returning Dominicans must prove that they have been living abroad for at least 2 years and have not visited the country for more than 180 accumulative days during this time.

You also must provide the following original documents:

  • Passport - for each family member, notarised by Dominican Consulate at origin  
  • Residence Visa & Dominican Residence Card – (valid for 1 year)  
  • Work Permit/Work Contract  
  • Bill of Lading/Air Waybill – (original)
  • Comprehensive Inventory – (in Spanish or English)  
  • Marriage Certificate/Divorce Certificate – (if applicable)  
  • Birth Certificates - (for each child if applicable)  
  • Customs Bond & Bank Guarantee or Affidavit  
  • Personal bank account in Dominican Republic  
  • Lease or rental contract (legalised), proof of water & electrical service

Returning Dominicans need to bring a valid passport and a proof of residence abroad for at least two years.

Each person can only import one vehicle and they must have owned it for at least one year. Importing luxurious cars is not allowed. There is a partial exemption of duties for vehicles that have been owned for 2 or more years.

Documentation required for the import process:

  • Certificate of Title and Registration - (original)
  • Commercial/Purchase Invoice – (original & driver’s license, & license plate)  
  • Residence Visa  
  • Dominican Consular invoice – (original, stamped at nearest Dominican Consulate)

Compulsory tariffs on importing a car are between 8% to 20% of the cars worth (generally 20%). The Free Trade Agreement between Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, United States, and the Association of Caribbean States, WTO and GATT means some vehicles receive immediate tariff elimination, however, most automobiles are still bound to the 5 to 10 year tariff phase-outs.

All the vehicles are generally related to the Luxury Tax (Impuesto Selectivo al Consumo) which ranges from 15 to 60 percent. Luxury Tax will be calculated based on the CIF price. A 17% tax is charged on the first matricula (registration document).

In 2014 Dominican Republic raised the age limit of motor vehicles meaning that cars older than 7 years, and weighing 5 tons or more, cannot be imported to the country.

Further reading

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