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Driving in the Dominican Republic

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Can you drive in the Dominican Republic? Do you need an international driver's license? Find out in this article.

If you are moving to the Dominican Republic, you will probably want to drive. Depending on the length of your stay, you will either rent or buy a car. But above all, you will need a valid driver's license. You must also inquire on local driving regulations and habits beforehand so as to avoid any surprise once you get started. In fact, driving in the country can be much more different from what you could expect.

Highway code

Foreigners wishing to drive in the Dominican Republic have to abide to the Highway Code. However, once you get started, you will probably end up like most local drivers. In fact, most Dominicans rarely abide to road traffic regulations. They will only drive according to the traffic lights. As regards road signs, these are either absent or in poor condition. But local authorities are working hard on changing that.

Moreover, you should be even more careful while driving at night, especially if it is your first time. Many streets are poorly lighted. In fact, it is one of the main causes of accidents across the country.

Road network

Most urban roads are in a rather good state. Secondary roads, however, gave a lot of holes and potholes, plows, cracks in the asphalt, etc.

Moreover, you are advised to pay a particular attention to public transport, that is buses and taxis which are almost everywhere. In fact, it is best to give them the way, even when you have priority!

Convert your driver's license

Once you are in the country, you can use your national driver's license for a maximum of 90 days period. Thereafter, you are required to convert it into a Dominican driver's license which has a 4 years validity period. The request has to be made at the Dirección General De Transito Terrestre (DGTT), which is open Monday to Friday from 8 am to 2.30 pm. Documents to be produced are the following:

  • three copies along with your original driver's license (valid at the time of conversion)
  • a validity and legality certificate issued by the Dominican embassy or consulate in your home country along with 3 copies (fees apply)
  • three copies of your residence card,
  • proof of payment made to the Reserve Bank for taxes and services.

Once this step has been accomplished, you have to report to the Departemento Jurídico y Auditoría and to the DGTT Sub-Dirección for the following:

  • registration
  • a vision test
  • a blood type test
  • review all the documents you have filed
  • giving your identity details and signature to the authorities
  • obtaining a receipt.

Note that you will need a total of 950 pesos for the whole procedure. Your new driver's license should be issued within 2 hours.

Obtain a local driver's license

You will undeniably be a learner before obtaining your driver's license. You will also have to pass the learner's test after having a good knowledge of the Aprendizaje book, that is the Highway Code. Note that you have to be accompanied by a driver having a valid driver's license when practicing on the road.

 Good to know:

The Learner is valid for two years. You can apply for it at either of the following DGTT offices:

Santo Domingo: Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4.30 pm

Santiago: Monday to Friday, 8 am to 3.30 pm

San Francisco de Macorís: Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4 pm

Puerto Plata: Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4.30 pm

Valverde: Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4.30 pm

Azua: Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4 pm

La Romana: Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4 pm.

Documents to be produced are your Resident Card (along with a copy), your criminal record, the receipt of the payment made to the Reserve Bank for taxes and services (1,380 pesos).

Thereafter, you will proceed with registration with the DGTT, followed by a vision and blood type test. You are then required to pass an oral test based on the Highway Code. Once you are done with this and communicated your contact details, passport size photos and signature to the related authorities, you will receive your Learner card.

Driver's license

Once you have received you learner card, you can proceed with driving courses and apply for a local driver's license. Documents to be produced are the following:

  • your residence permit
  • the receipt of payment for the issuing of the driver's license at the Banco de Reservas
  • your Learner's card
  • written proof that you have attended Highway Code classes (to request from one of DGTT offices or the head office in Santo Domingo)
  • an approval certificate following the practical test.

 Useful links:

Expat.com –Formalities in the Dominican Republic Forum 
DGTT www.gob.do
Dominicanonline www.dominicanaonline.org
Cabaretcondorental – Manual del conductor www.cabaretecondorental.net
DR1 – Driver's license dr1.com

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Relocating to Dominican Republic requires appropriate planning. It is better to hire removal experts who will take care of all related formalities.
If you intend to make a more than 90 days stay in the Dominican Republic, you will need a visa. There are different types of visas to travel there.

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