Car: Buy in Country or Ship?

We bought a placed in Sosua. I am an airline employee and travel to the DR monthly for a week at a time. Thus far I’ve been renting cars.  After I retire I will probably  buy a dependable vehicle. I’m trying to make the decision whether I will buy a car in the DR or try to ship one from the U.S. Need all the help that’s out there in making that decision. Thank in advance!!

Buy one here.  It is very expensive to ship one in especially if you are not doing it with a newly acquired residency.  Plan on cost of shipping plus at least 28% import tax on the value of the car (value they set here and not usually more than the value of the car in the  US) plus port fees.  And your first registration on a car you import will be at least $2000.

When you do buy one here make sure you check it out with Carfax as many imported vehicles leave the US with bad titles. Especially now when many flood vehicles will be shipped here.

Bob K

Yup what Bob said.  Rately is it worth importing.

Also consider repairs - is it a common vehicle here? If not parts will be very expensive!

I actually ship most of my parts in rather than relying on the junk they sell here.

Bob K

But only if you have the time to wait for the parts to arrive!    Once had to import  8 spark plugs, cost a bloody fortune and we waited  9 days for their arrival.

Got It, thank you both!!!  Is there reputable/trustworthy site to search for reliable used vehicles?

Your best bet is to look at local postings (usually at the supermarkets) on cars for sale.  Some of the better buys are from expats who are either leaving or looking to buy a different car.  Also look at FB postings in your area (I have sold two of our cars this just last week)
Bob K

Thank you sir!

You are welcome and good luck.
What are you looking for and I will keep my eyes open for you.  I am in the Sosua area as well.

Bob K

Thanks again!  2012 or newer Toyota 4Runner or similar,  Less than 100K miles.

Tony J

I will keep my eyes open

Bob K

Fyi we pretty much deal in kilometers here!  :D

Just placed a classified ad  selling a 2008 Volkswagon  Touareg, Diesel,  great vehicle,  good mileage and well maintained!   Anyone wants info check the classified or message me.

Off topic...... is the site down? Nothing for 2 days, zero, zip, nada, Have I been exiled again? Normally many   e-mail notices every day.  Please let me know. Thank you, The Tinker40.

No we are all alive and well but I think hibernating from the heat :)

Bob K

All is fine. The people comment and ask questions on their own schedule.

Thanks Planner & BobK. Presently house bound & immobile due to an escape from a manical (sp) moto causing  a twisting fall on the rumble strips. Nothing broken,just bruised ribs & pulled groin ligaments  & muscle.    Friday the 13 wasn't my lucky day. Another week & I' I'll be out & about.  I was crossing the street, not even on the damn thing. Have fun yo'all. or however you spell the word. I laugh at myself often.

Damn you ride those things. Glad to hear you are ok

Bob K

Glad you are ok. Be careful out there!

Thanks for  your thoughts, I can't seem to get the hang of operating a walker.

Oh that brings back some bad memories.

Bob K

TonyJ54. Old thread, I know, but did you ever locate that 4Runner...?  I'm figuring to import mine from Canada after doing much research and understanding the cost... Mine is a  2016 Trail Edition, only 30k kms with clear title... I've seen some of the costs for used 4Runners in the DR and that's insane... Upwards of 65K USD for a 2016... Even if I pay 8 to 10 to get it there, I'm still ahead and don't have to worry about who owned it, what shape it's in and dealing with total strangers... Worth it to me wrt the stress factor alone... My 2 cents...

Around $3,000 for the container the customs & duties. They tax what they decide the value is ie: 25K, that is the duty on top of import fees.  Most find it better to buy here from an expat. However you do it, good luck. I love Sosua too.

Exodus you are correct, in your case it would make sense. IF you are applying for residencia use your one time exemption.

Tinker where did you get those figures???

When I tried to ship my car from St Croix to here.  Duty was $3,000 USD. That was the book value of the car according to them. A 40ft container costs about three grand from Miami. Having a residencia is the way to go. For a comparison, a Blue Barrel w/ no weight limit door to door I about $ 175  through Luchianos'  Maybe they can ship containers cheaper too. I don't know. Good luck, always a great thing to save money. Unless you you plan on lots of 4-wheeling in the boonies, sell it & buy a suitable car for your intended life style.

That's interesting, I did not know there was a one-time exemption for new residents.

How long do you have to take advantage of that?

In that case, does it make sense to buy a car in, say Florida, which I think has a good competitive market, and bring it into DR, duty free?

But I guess there is a down side to having a really nice car in DR, probably you are targeted for theft or other abuse?  Is it important to keep a low profile?

Yes residencia does give you this benefit. I believe you have  6 months to use it.  But you need to double check that.

I also believe you are supposed to own the vehicle at least one year and it cannot be more than  5 years old.

Yes there are down sides to appearing well off. Not worth it in my opinion!  I drive a 9 year old vehicle and I love it..... Low profile,  low key, under the radar are all good strategies here.

Thanks for you input folks... So far it's looking like I'll just ship my vehicle... I am indeed moving under new residencia rules as well as a retiree/investor... With what I experienced while driving there, I'm definitely more comfortable driving in an SUV... Roads there can be pretty rough on the suspension and I prefer being a little larger than most... lol... The 4Runner I own is the Trail Edition which comes with heavy duty suspension, built for rough terrain and off-roading and would easily handle the rough roads and potholes that I ran into... As well, with knee and back issues, trying to get in and out of a low riding car, would cause a ridiculous pile of pain... Haven't driven in a car in more than 14 years... No thanks...!  Love my 4Runner... I've owned 3 over the years  and never had a problem with any of them... Almost bullet proof and retains value... As mentioned, don't want to buy a beater and don't want to buy problems... I'm pretty fastidious about vehicle maintenance so I know what I've got going in... Should last me at least 8 to 10 years...  That's worth the money to me... I'll be shipping it in a 40 ft SeaCan along with my Furnishings... Door to Door and I'll write the check...

Planner... per my Legal folks, Vehicle must be owned at minimum 2 years and yes, not more than 5 years old and you must hold the title... No outstanding loans or liens to a financial institution... Depending on one's financial situation, it might be worth it to some...

Don't worry about being noticed. As many SUV'v as Toyotas & similar vehicles.

Great post. In your case this makes sense on multiple levels!

Does your residency exemption apply just to the 28% import duties, or does it exempt you from the $2000 registration fee also?

And how do they know if you have owned it for 2 years?  That is not normally part of your ownership registration.  Do they ask for the bill of sale?

I believe you have to pay the registration fee.  Not sure how they know you owned it for  2 years, maybe they ask for the  original bills and maybe they take your word for it!  You know how things are here........

This is an excerpt from one of the shipping companies that I have contacted...

"If you want to use your residency and the one year rule* you must get the history of title certificate and registration certificate from DMV (around $20). This is to show that you’ve owned the vehicle for over a year."

I've researched a received the same info from several shippers...

Here's a little more info from one of the shippers...  Things may have changed a bit but from what I have found, the info below is pretty accurate... There's also a Dominican Customs online calculator that provides an estimate of Duties/Taxes based on Vehicle Model... I gave it a shot and it's seems to be somewhat accurate... It does include a disclaimer, of course, that says the ultimate charges rests with the on the ground customs officer... lol... But of course... 

PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF I CANNOT POST THIS STUFF...!  It's available online...

"DR Law 168 is the importation law for vehicles, and under this law you are allowed to bring one personal vehicle that you have owned for more than one year in your respective country, at a heavily reduced import tax. Anyone, (Dominicans and foreigners) can use it as long as they are making the DR their home. This is why they require the title record and registration plate history. Another thing about Law 168 is that you cannot sell your vehicle for three years after you’ve brought it to the DR. Also, you have to wait another five years to invoke this law again on another vehicle you wish to bring.

Ley 14-93, Articulo 13 establishes that you are entitled to scaled discounts on the taxes to be paid, if you are a new legal resident (that is you have secured your Residence Permit). Deductions that will be made to the values established in the computer for your brand and year of vehicle are:

One year with the registration in your name: 20% deduction
Two years with the registration in your name: 30%
Three years with the registration in your name: 40%
Four years with the registration in your name: 50%
Five years with the registration in your name: 60%.

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, around $310 US dollars. 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.

Sometimes, an agent might tell you about many problems they’ve encountered getting the car out, and that they had to bribe a lot of people, so they ask you to refund that cost, though you have no way of proving whether it is true or not.

Take 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 have to have a power of attorney for someone else to receive the paperwork for you in the DR.

Once you get to customs in the Dominican Republic you have to purchase the right to the interview for 300 pesos. Also at exonerations, Aduanas no longer accepts papers on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The new days are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Caution: These days might change without notice.

Make sure you have photocopies of your last and most recent passport, cover to cover, to include blank pages. Also, have copies of all original paperwork. Aduanas requires originals and copies. A lot of people are sent away because they do not have these papers.

Note: Many people who ship their vehicles through smaller or less organized shipping companies have 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, and 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 dollars to ship your car in a container, which is highly recommended.

Here is an example of the costs for the recent shipping of a vehicle, a 2001 Ford Explorer. Use this example to get an idea of how much your importation might cost. Remember, this list is specific to this vehicle at a particular time, costs are subject to change at any point, and you might incur extra costs as the process moves on, so be ready for that.

List of Costs for a 2001 Ford Explorer:

- Title and registration record $22 dollars by phone/internet.
- Shipping and consular paperwork $1,600 dollars.
- Customs broker $310
- Tax and fee on the vehicle $1,263 dollars at a 32 pesos exchange rate.
- Fee for the right to the interview $9.40
- Macuteo (shakedown) money at the port $15, (480 pesos) for 4 or 5 different people.
- Parking fee for the vehicle while at the parking lot $78 (2,500 pesos).

Grand Total $3,275 Dollars."

thanks. I am hesitant to accept that last entry.  It shows a vehicle that was from 2001. SO that calculation could not have been done past 2006 as it would be over the  5 year old mark.

I would discount most of that information and look for something more recent! I believe the laws changed and that the "discount" is calculated differently.

I agree that it is older info as I mentioned at the beginning of the post... The calculation that I obtained last night from the DR Aduanas Website, which is still used for calculation of import duties and taxes, came very close to the numbers in the post from one of the shipping companies... I continue to gather info where I can but the best I've come up with is what I receive from my quotes to ship my vehicle... The latest was last evening...

Most of the info in the post is very close to what I received from the shipper in Ottawa with his connection in the DR...

I urge all to do the research themselves as I have done and not to take anything anyone says verbatim...

Exodus, thanks for all that information!

So it is a graduated discount, based on # years owned, and not a total exemption?

I look forward to hearing how this works out for you, once you have actually been through it.

If I do this, it will be a year from now, so I will have your example to follow!

John... I found that information while doing much research online and through connections... The info I received 1st hand from my shipper, included MOST of what I found and posted... I am still trying to confirm, directly from the DR, if the Graduated percentages are in fact still in use... Finding reliable info is proving to be very challenging... When I can confirm the graduation %s, I'll be sure to repost... For now though, that is what I found and what I have heard from several different sources... Accuracy of anything DR, I'm Finding, is based on who you're talking to... lol... It's nutty but I still can't wait to get the heck out of here...!

I am pretty sure that graduated formula is  no longer in place.I too am trying to confirm!

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