Importing into the DR, FAQ UPDATE!


Jan 1, 2002
Below is an update to the Importing into the DR, FAQ post that PIB created back in 2003. Over almost 10 years there have been many changes mostly with the introduction of computer technology with a more automated process. I kept the same format updating with the present process.

Q:Can anyone import goods into the DR?

A: Yes. A private person may import goods if they are for personal use. If the quantity and nature of these goods indicate that they may not be for personal use, customs will (in most cases) require that a legally established customs broker company be the consignee. You MUST be at least a legal resident to have a shipment cleared on your behalf; Customs will require your ID number (c?dula). For businesses the Tax Contributor Number (RNC) is required.

Q: What documents do I need to import goods into the DR?

A: It depends on the type of goods you will be importing. In general ALL shipments will require the following original documents:
*Commercial Invoice and packing list
*Bill of lading (BL) or Air Way Bill
*Certificate of Origin to apply Commercial Treaties such as DR CAFTA
Some shipments may require special permits and documentation. For example, to import cosmetics, medicine and food you will need permits from the Health Department (Ministerio de Salud P?blica), which means that there is additional procedure outside the Customs clearance that have to be followed PRIOR to the arrival of the shipment. You must know that not everything can be imported into the DR. Some companies have exoneration provisions. Consult a customs broker if you are not sure about the goods you are importing prior to the actual shipment taking place.
Be aware that ALL documents MUST be original and printed on original stationery (not photocopies, no faxes). Customs frowns upon the use of handwritten documents, the more official-looking the documents are the least problems you may have. If you have lost the documents or they haven?t arrived on time you will only be able to clear your shipment if you present at customs a bond for the value of the merchandise. Customs may still decline to let you take your goods.

Q: What is a Consular Invoice?

A: This is no longer required

Q: What is a C1?

A: This is also no longer part of the required process.

Q: What is the typical procedure to clear a shipment at Customs?

A: You, or your broker on your behalf, must input online with the Windip/Siga DUA (Declaracion Unica Aduanera) program all the details of the shipment (Shipper, consignee, commodity, total FOB, freight, insurance, etc). At the same time the shipper or airline should input the Manifest of the load in the same program. These documents are automatically presented at the Customs office of the port/airport of arrival were they are verified and a declaration reference number is generated. A Customs officer (Verificador) is automatically assigned to inspect the shipment and confirm the veracity of the information declared in the DUA. ALL shipments are inspected by a commission made up of the following members:

? Key holder
? Customs Yard keeper
? Customs Security guard
? Customs Broker representative
? Customs inspector
? Customs verifier
? Narcotic agent
? J-2 Army Intelligence
? Auditor (if ordered by administration)

Once the shipment is inspected the report goes to the Assessment Department (Valores), this department will check the prices that you declared (your prices may or may not be accepted as true and will be readjusted by customs) and they will calculate the amount of duties and taxes to be paid. ** It is important that the person sending the merchandise ensures that the commercial invoice contains the BTN (Brussels Tariff Nomenclature) product code. This is an international recognized definition code that is used to identify specifically what each product is for declaration tax purposes. If you include this there is less chance you will be wrongly charged. Sometimes the declaration is referred to the technical department and then to the audit department who can impose fines for false declarations due to incorrect quantities or values. The file is then passed to the cashier department who can receive payment either by a certified check or an electronic transfer. Once they have received payment, it is sent to the customs administrator and his assistants who verify that all is well who then refer it for signature to the Operations Sub Collector. He authorizes that the merchandise be dispatched from the Dispatch department. Before the goods can be withdrawn, a guarantee deposit needs to be made for the container known as DPH ($RD11,126.00). You have ten days to return it or could face heavy fines. A percentage is retained from the deposit for handing charges after the container is returned.
If the merchandise has no impediment from the shipping company, then it will be dispatched in order of documentation arrival. Containers take usually 2 to five hours whilst loose loads take from 1 to 3 hours.
The local transport company will then be responsible to deliver the load in country to its destination.

Q: What should I expect to pay?

A: There isn?t a ?flat? tax in the DR, so duties can go from 0% to 30%, it depends on the commodity that you are importing. Duties and taxes are calculated on a CIF basis. Only insurance bought from Dominican companies are accepted at customs for the purpose of calculating taxes. If you cannot produce your insurance policy at the time of clearance Customs will assume 2% of the FOB value as cost of insurance. Taxes and duties are paid in RD$, the current floating exchange rate used at customs is 39.14 RD$/1 US$ (July 20th 2012)
Besides duties certain taxes and fees are also paid at the time of clearance:

*ITBIS: 16%
*Warehousing : calculated on the basis of weight and days at port (only applies to loose loads)
* CSX is an extra charge that is only applied in the Caucedo container port.
If you are importing full container loads (FCL) you will have to leave a deposit of RD$6500.00, per container to guarantee that they will be returned clean and in good condition within 14 days of arrival to port. For each day after that US$15.00 per container will be deducted from the deposit. This is not paid to the government, but rather to an association of shipping lines.

Q: Are there exception to the rules?

A: Yes, certain businesses and commodities are treated in a different manner. Manufacturing Free Zones companies for example exempt from paying duties and taxes (some fees apply). There are many other exception to the rules, please consult your custom broker for details.

Q:What benefits does CAFTA-DR provide to importers from the USA or other participant countries.

A: In addition to tariff reduction, CAFTA-DR provides new market access for U.S. consumer and industrial and agricultural products. The Agreement covers customs facilitation and provides benefits to small and medium-sized exporters.

Q: What are the major ports and airports in the DR?

A: The largest airport in the DR is AILA (SDQ), near Santo Domingo followed by La Uni?n (POP) near Puerto Plata and Aeropuerto Internacional del Cibao (STI) which is near Santiago.

The most important port in the DR is Rio Haina. Rio Haina Oriental is operated by the government, Rio Haina Occidental is operated by Maersk/Sealand. Multimodal Caucedo is the largest container port that is located near Boca Chica. Puerto Plata is the third largest. Other ports are San Pedro de Macor?s, Barahona, Azua and Manzanillo. There are a few other ports that don?t have regularly-scheduled lines going in or out.


Liberals empowered China's crime against humanity!
Jun 28, 2004
no mention of bribes, stolen goods or grossly exaggerated values................ glad that things are now on the up-and-up :)


Jan 1, 2002
There is a book for reliable & factual 'Up-to-Date' information on the DR .............
It is in the 'Expat FAQ's' series published by Summertime Publishing & is called (surprisingly) 'Moving to & Living In the Dominican Republic' having been written by two of our DR1 members ...... Chirimoya & the late Lambada.

I am sure Chirimoya has details of where copies of this book might be purchased in this country but is also an area to investigate. I have only two copies left for anyone needing a copy on the North Coast.

~ Grahame.


Jan 1, 2002
no mention of bribes, stolen goods or grossly exaggerated values................ glad that things are now on the up-and-up :)
Luperon -
Since the automation of the customs process with internet and online registration and payment, corruption has been significantly reduced. Also theft and damage has also been reduced with the use of security cameras and greater vigilance.
If you want to ensure a fair import price and quick passage through Aduana then get a good customs broker