Exercise a high degree of caution in the Dominican Republic due to the risk of serious criminal activity. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor the media and other sources about security risks.
- There is a high rate of crime in the Dominican Republic. Violent crime also occurs. Female travellers are at risk of sexual assault. See
Safety and security
- Avoid protests and demonstrations, as they may turn violent. See
Safety and security
- Pay close attention to personal, food and water hygiene. Cholera is a risk. See
- Hurricanes can bring strong winds, storm surges, heavy rains, landslides, mudslides and flooding. If there is a hurricane or other natural disaster, monitor local media and official meteorological websites. Follow the instructions of local authorities. See
Entry and exit
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
You must purchase a tourist card when entering the country. It is valid for 30 days. For longer visits, you must pay an additional fee at the airport on departure.
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or
Consulate of the Dominican Republic for the latest information.
Strict exit requirements apply to children under 18 years of age who are travelling alone, with only one parent, or with anyone other than the parent(s). Confirm requirements with the nearest Embassy or
Consulate of the Dominican Republic before travel. More information:
Travelling with children
A departure tax applies for visits of up to two weeks. The departure tax may be included in the price of your airline ticket. Confirm with your travel agent or airline. If you stay longer than two weeks, you'll need to pay additional departure tax.
Travelling to the Dominican Republic through the USA and Canada
If you're travelling to the Dominican Republic via the United States of America (US), you must meet US entry/transit requirements. Check your visa requirements with the nearest
Embassy or Consulate of the United States of America well in advance of travel.
Travel advice for the US
If you transit or travel via Canada by air, you will require an eTA (electronic Travel Authorisation) for Canada. Check your visa requirements with the
Canadian High Commission well in advance of travel.
Travel advice for Canada
Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia.
Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.
The currency of the Dominican Republic is the Dominican Peso (DOP). Australian Dollars aren't accepted for exchange. You can exchange United States Dollars at banks or official exchange offices.
Safety and security
The crime rate in the Dominican Republic is high.
Violent crime occurs in popular tourist areas. Victims have been injured when resisting. Female travellers are particularly at risk of aggressive sexual behaviour and sexual assault.
Avoid using ATMs on the street due to the high risk of robbery. There have also been incidents of roadside, armed robberies targeting foreigners travelling in taxis, and private vehicles to and from the Las Americas International Airport.
Drink spiking at bars and other entertainment venues occurs, often resulting in theft and assault. Exercise caution when dealing with strangers or new acquaintances and don't leave your drink unattended.
To minimise risks:
- use only authorised airport taxis, and avoid travel to and from the airport at night
- don't accept invitations or lifts from strangers or new acquaintances (including hotel employees)
- avoid public transport
- avoid walking or jogging alone, especially after dark
- travel with other people wherever possible, especially if you're female
- avoid making ATM withdrawals at night
- don't withdraw or carry a lot of money at any one time
- use a reputable tour company or tour organiser, especially if you plan travel to remote areas.
Petty crime, including pickpocketing and bag-snatching, is common in major cities and tourist areas, including airports and bus terminals. Tourists are often targeted. Thefts have occurred in resorts, on beaches, in hotel rooms and from hotel room safes.
To minimise risks:
- avoid displaying valuable items, such as cameras and mobile phones
- be cautious of strangers offering unsolicited services or unusual requests.
Credit card and ATM fraud are common. Use credit cards with caution, particularly in Santo Domingo and resort areas. Keep your credit card in sight when using it.
Victims of crime
If you're a victim of violent crime, especially sexual assault, seek immediate medical assistance. The risk of HIV infection is high.
Where to get help
Civil unrest/political tension
Political demonstrations can occur across the country, but are most common in and around the cities of Santiago, Salcedo, Bonao, and Santo Domingo. Demonstrations can affect traffic and essential services.
- Avoid protests and demonstrations, as they may turn violent.
- Monitor the media for information about safety or security risks.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.
Terrorist threat worldwide
Only use recommended tour operators and check they have proper safety equipment before participating in extreme or eco-tourist activities. Always use available safety equipment, such as lifejackets or seatbelts, even if others don't. If appropriate safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.
There are strong rips at some beaches in the Dominican Republic. Check conditions with your hotel or authorities before entering the water. Lifeguards are not present at some hotels, resorts and public beaches.
For trips less than three months, you can drive a vehicle with an International Driving Permit.
Travel by road is dangerous due to aggressive driving practices, and poorly maintained vehicles and roads. You're over five times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in the Dominican Republic than in Australia.
Traffic laws are routinely ignored and traffic accidents are common. Rural roads lack adequate signage and lighting, and are shared with pedestrians, bicycles and farm animals.
Mudslides and road collapses caused by heavy rains are common. Roads may be closed at short notice, especially during the hurricane seasons.
- Avoid driving at night.
- Ensure your vehicle doors are locked and windows closed at all times.
- If you're involved in an accident, remain at the scene and wait until the police authorise you to leave.
Travellers have been robbed and assaulted when using unofficial taxis. Don't use route taxis, also known as 'carros publicos', as there is an increased risk of passengers being robbed. Instead use radio-dispatched taxis or those provided by hotels.
The Australian Government doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the
Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Dominican Republic.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our
Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include lengthy imprisonment in local prisons where conditions are harsh.
If you're found driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, you will be arrested and may be detained.
Border officials may screen you for drugs, including on departure.
Carrying or using drugs
Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you can be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:
- bribery of foreign public officials
- child pornography
- child sex tourism
- female genital mutilation
- forced marriage
- money laundering
The Dominican Republic recognises dual nationality.
If you're an Australian-Dominican citizen and you are charged with a crime, it's unlikely that the authorities will advise the Australian Government. Our ability to provide consular assistance to Australian-Dominican dual nationals who are detained or arrested may be limited. Travel on your Australian passport at all times.
Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.
Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.
- what circumstances and activities are and aren't covered under your policy
- that you're covered for the whole time you'll be away.
Physical and mental health
Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
- At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
- Get vaccinated before you travel.
If you need counselling services while overseas, contact the Australian Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 and ask to speak to a Lifeline telephone counsellor.
Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
Take prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Keep medication in its original packaging. Always carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you take and that it's for personal use only.
Before you leave Australia:
- check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to
- get medical documents
authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade before you depart (if required).
The rate of HIV/AIDS infection is high. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.
Cholera and other infectious diseases
Confirmed cholera cases continue to be reported. Cholera causes diarrhoea and vomiting and can be fatal if left untreated. Correct food hygiene and preparation are essential to minimise the risk of contracting cholera. Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including hepatitis, filariasis, and leptospirosis) are prevalent, with serious outbreaks occurring from time to time.
- Drink only bottled or boiled water.
- Avoid ice cubes.
- Avoid uncooked and undercooked food.
- Ensure correct food hygiene and preparation.
Seek urgent medical attention if you suspect poisoning, if you have a fever or suffer from diarrhoea.
Mosquito-borne illnesses, including dengue fever and Chikungunya virus, are common in the Dominican Republic, especially during the hot months (May to November).
There is widespread transmission of Zika virus. If you're pregnant, discuss any travel plans with your doctor and defer non-essential travel to affected areas.
Malaria is less common but has been reported in the western area (bordering Haiti), at some of the beach resort locations and in areas where adventure sport activities are undertaken.
Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses:
- ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof
- take measures to avoid insect bites, including always using insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing
- speak to your doctor about anti-malaria medication
Seek medical attention if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.
There's a high risk of rabies in the Dominican Republic. Avoid direct contact with dogs, cats, mongooses (small cat-like animals) and other animals. If bitten or scratched, seek immediate medical attention.
Toxins in shellfish (naturally occurring seafood toxins such as ciguatera and scombroid, histamine fish poisoning) can poison humans. Outbreaks of ciguatera poisoning have occurred on many Caribbean islands.
Seek urgent medical attention if you suspect poisoning.
Potentially hazardous foods (Queensland Health)
Medical facilities in the major cities offer reasonable primary care. However, other facilities are of a lower standard with little English spoken. Blood supplies are often limited.
Evidence of medical insurance, up-front payment or a guarantee of payment may be required before a patient is treated. Medical care can be very expensive.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be evacuated to a destination with appropriate facilities. Medical evacuation and treatment can be extremely expensive.
If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.
If you're travelling during hurricane season (June to November) or following a natural disaster, contact your tour operator to check whether tourist services at your planned destination are affected.
Hurricanes and severe weather
Dominican Republic experiences hurricanes, and associated landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services and infrastructure. The hurricane season is June to November but tropical storms and hurricanes can occur in other months. The direction and strength of hurricanes can change with little warning.
The wet season is from May to November. Heavy rainfalls can cause landslides and mudslides, often with devastating effect on people, property, local infrastructure and essential services.
If you're travelling during the wet season:
- know your hotel or cruise ship evacuation plans
- carry your travel documents at all times or secure them in a safe, waterproof location
- contact your tour operator to check whether tourist services at your planned destination have been affected.
If there is a hurricane or one is approaching:
Flights in and out of hurricane-affected areas could be delayed or suspended. Available flights may fill quickly. Contact your airline for the latest flight information. A hurricane could also affect access to sea ports in the region.
In some areas, adequate shelter from a severe hurricane may not be available to all who may choose to stay.
Earthquakes and Tsunamis
The Dominican Republic experiences earthquakes. A major earthquake in Haiti in January 2010 was felt throughout the Dominican Republic, and areas near the border with Haiti were affected. Seismic activity can occur at any time.
All oceanic regions of the world can experience tsunamis but Dominican Republic's susceptibility to earthquakes makes destructive tsunamis more likely.
- Monitor local media and weather reports
- Know your hotel's procedures in case of an earthquake or tsunami
- If there is an earthquake or tsunami, follow the instructions of local authorities.
Where to get help
Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, travel agent, travel insurance provider, employer, or airline. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Tourist police (POLITUR) can assist tourists and regularly patrol main tourist areas. To contact the police, dial 911.
If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products contact the service provider directly.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
Australia doesn’t have an embassy in the Dominican Republic. The Embassy of Canada in Santo Domingo provides consular assistance to Australians in the Dominican Republic and can issue Australian Provisional Travel Documents.
For other passport services, contact the Australian Embassy in Mexico City.
Canadian Embassy, Santo Domingo
Av. Winston Churchill 1099
Torre Citigroup en Acropolis Center 18th floor
Ensanche Piantini, Santo Domingo
+1 809 262 3100
Australian Embassy, Mexico City
Ruben Dario #55
Corner of Campos Eliseos, Polanco
Colonia Bosque de Chapultepec
11580 Mexico DF Mexico
Telephone: +52 55 1101 2200
Facsimile: +52 55 1101 2201
Check the relevant
Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
If you're unable to contact one of the above embassies in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.