2005 Travel News ArchiveTravel

New tourist cards

Hang on to that credit card-sized tourist card you receive when you arrive in the country until departure, or pay a US$10 penalty fee. Some immigration officials are stapling it to passports. The Department of Taxes (DGII) recently started issuing the new cards, reportedly in coordination with a private company. While the procedures for the purchase of the new colored card are simple for the independent traveler, they have created chaos for major tour operators that had purchased large numbers of the old forms for expedite entrance of their passengers. The government has said that the expiration date for the old format is 31 December, but seeing as stock in the hands of several tour operators is enough to last many more weeks, this may have to be extended. The procedure calls for an extra form-filling step but is being implemented to avoid forging and fraudulent sales of the document. The new cards have an electronic chip that activates a card reader when swiped at the airport. Each passenger’s information is collected by the passengers filling out an embarkation/disembarkation form. At the present time, the new cards are only for sale at Dominican ports of arrival, but the plan is to distribute them abroad through Dominican government missions.