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Before shipping your car to the Dominican Republic there are a few things you need to know ahead of time. You can bring in a brand new car if you pay duty on it, but you cannot bring in a car older than seven years old under any circumstance. No right hand drive vehicles can be imported; only left hand drive.
Ahead of time you must find out the duty imposed on the vehicle. To get this information contact the Dominican Customs Office (809-688-7070 Ext. 289,) and tell them the vehicle make, model and year. They will tell you the tax to be paid regarding your vehicle upon arrival.
Many importers find importing vehicles cumbersome. As such make note that while most brands are in the system, some may not be. To avoid this problem, it is best to bring in a car of which there are hundreds on the road in the DR. There have been cases of people having to pay excessive charges because the specific year of a brand is not listed in the system, and the vehicle was taxed at the rate of a similar vehicle.
It is advisable to use a customs clearance agent, but try to have all calculations done BEFORE you bring the car. The charge is about $10,000 pesos, or around US$310. Remember that customs can be a very corrupt department. Even if you have everything in order, they can look for ways to make you pay more.
Also, agree to a price for the services with the Customs broker prior to shipping the vehicle. Ideally, you should choose an agent with experience in vehicle clearance.
The shipping company will charge an average of US$2,000 for shipping a vehicle depending on size. This fee includes the consular letter and certification by the Dominican government. Also, the vehicle will be shipped in a container, as opposed to being shipped in the open ocean air on a cargo ship. Under the Dominican Law 168 you cannot sell your vehicle for three years after you've brought it to the Dominican Republic. You will also have to wait five years according to this law to sell another vehicle you wish to import.Collect all the paperwork from the shipping company and send it to your customs broker to do the initial legwork. If you let the shipping company send the papers themselves then you would need to have a power of attorney for someone else to receive the paperwork for you in the Dominican Republic.If you choose to do it on your own once you get to customs then you would need to purchase the right to the interview for 300 pesos. The following items must be submitted along with all relevant fees:
Original certificate of Title and Registration
Commercial/Purchase Invoice (original) & driver's license & license plate
Dominican Consular invoice (original) stamped at nearest Dominican Consulate
Copies of all original paperwork (Customs requires originals and copies).
Only one vehicle is allowed for importation per person.
For pre-owned vehicles, all vehicles being imported must be in the owner's possession for a minimum of one year before importation.
Engine size on all imported vehicles is limited to six cylinders.
Importation of all luxury vehicles is prohibited.
Motorcycles are subject to taxes and duties.
It is necessary for the importer to be present in the Dominican Republic for customs clearance of any vehicle.
As a new resident you can bring in a car at little or no duty if you have owned it for two years, and it is less than seven years old.
Customs no longer accepts papers on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The new days are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The importer needs to be present in the Dominican Republic for customs clearance of any car. In order to make sure that the car imported into the Dominican Republic meets the country's safety standards and requirements, an inspection is performed on the car. Importation of both left-hand and right-hand drive cars is permitted in the country.
Please be aware that if you ship your vehicle through smaller or less organized shipping companies, customers normally experience problems with their manifest because their vehicles are shipped under the name of the shipping company, and not the owner. In order to save money some people choose to ship their vehicles with less reliable companies; as a result their vehicles can take up to three months to arrive, and can be subjected to the elements on the cargo ships. If you decide to ship with a smaller company you might have to pay an extra US$2,000 to ship your car in a container, which is highly recommended.
There are many ports in the Dominican Republic. The Port of Santo Domingo is suitable for both turnaround and transit calls. Haina Occidental Port, located just 20 km west of Santo Domingo, is one of the most important ports in the Dominican Republic. About 70% of all cargo, excluding Caucedo and free zone exports/imports, is moved through this port.
Multimodal Caucedo port is also able to act as a trans-shipment hub to the Caribbean and Latin America for Asia, specifically Japan, as a door to the American market. Port of Puerto Plata is the main commercial port on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Port of Boca Chica is located about 20 miles east of the capital city and 5 miles from the International Airport Las Americas. Currently the port is almost exclusively used for containers and some lumber, newsprint and homogeneous cargoes.
Port of San Pedro de Macoris is located on the Higuamo River. This port is mainly used to discharge bulk fertilizer, cement clinker, coal, wheat, diesel and LPG. It is also used to export sugar and molasses produced by several sugar cane mills in the region.
Central Romana Port, located in La Romana, belongs to Central Romana Corporation which is a private company established in 1911 and has the largest sugar mill in the country.
However, not all ports accept car imports. The following are a list of ports where cars can be shipped: Santa Domingo, Rio Haina, Manzanillo, Palenque.