Still a few years away from moving to DR, but we're thinking ahead

Hello All,

My wife and I are still a few years away from moving to the DR, however, we're thinking ahead and are about to purchase a property which we will rent out as an income-producing investment and also use for our own vacations until we're ready to downsize from our Toronto home and make the big move.  We've been to the Bayahibe/La Romana area, Puerto Plata and Samana (twice).  We love Las Terrenas and the Samana area and that is where we have found a home we'd like to own.

I'm hoping that forum members can answer a few questions for us:

1.) What are the rules concerning tariffs, duties, etc. on bringing in a container with personal-use household items such as clothing, 2-3 TVs, computers, printers, speakers, kitchen table, work desk, mattresses, beds, couches, etc.  I've seen lots of warnings against bringing in vehicles such as cars, ATVs/UTVs, etc. but I haven't found much info about moving one's personal-use, household items.  Please advise.

2.) We know that Europe and the DR have a trade agreement.  If we need to purchase items which are not available in the DR (e.g. glass panel railings), is it generally better to purchase from a European country (such as Spain) or from the US?

3.) In four trips to the DR, we've never felt like we had to worry about crime.  Yet, we've seen that a majority of condominium projects have security guards at the front entrances and we've seen many houses with steel bars on the windows.  What precautions are suggested if we are going to own a villa in Las Terrenas which won't be occupied 100% of the time?

These are likely just the first of dozens more questions but hopefully as we peruse this site many of our questions will be answered.

Thank you, in advance, for sharing your thoughts and suggestions.


Hi Steve and welcome on board.

This new thread has been created from your post on the Dominican Republic forum so that you might get better interaction and responses from members.

All the best,

Let me try to answer your questions here Steve,

1.  First rule anything you import you pay 18% ITBIS on, this is our VAT.  Then you add on the duty.

There are a couple of options for you to get around this.  For your first large import,  once you apply for residencia and are approved,  you can bring one container in of personal belongings and one vehicle.  There are rules attached to this so make sure to understand them.  Don't try to do this yourself, you will need help.

Secondly, once you are here, you can purchase up to US 200, including shipping and have items sent  to Miami,   to a mail forwarder, then it is  brought to the DR. Under US 200 you pay no tax or duty but you pay shipping about US 5 per pound, so weight becomes a factor. This is what many of us do for a variety of items.

2. You are going to pay tax of  18% regardless of  the trade agreements. And yes we do have one with the USA.  Almost everything is now available here. Even though items here tend to be more expensive,  factor in shipping, tax and headache and you are often better off to buy here.

3. Security is important.  Locals use bars on the windows and doors, so should you.   Security guards - I have mixed feelings about them.  The bottom line is that it is an inexpensive way to create security here.    IF your place is empty some of the time then you need someone to take care of it when you are gone.  An empty place can be a target! 

You are asking great questions Steve!  I hope this helps.  Ask away my friend.

Hi Planner....So for example if I ordered something from Amazon that was $180.00 and weighed 3lbs ($5 per pound) my total would be $195.00 I would be under $200 and ok correct? This example is cutting it close but just want to make sure I am understanding the shipping costs. Thanks!

No honey.  The  US 200 applies to the value landed in Miami. So if you order off Amazon and its  180 US PLUS SHIPPING to Miami,  that is the amount.

Your shipping from Miami to DR is paid here so not included!

Yes that's what I mean....$180 for item purchased added to shipping cost (3lbs for weight at $5 per pound). I would be safe because still I'd be under $200.

NO that is the shipping cost from MIAMI TO DR.

The cost you worry about is:

Price of article   180
Shipping TO MIAMI by AMAZON  9 (for example)

TOTAL  is  189  - under the  200

Shipping Miami to  DR at  US 5 per pound (approximately)  is IRRELEVANT for tax and duty.

I was saying $180 was total for Amazon order (shipping, tax etc) I always know the entire amount before clicking on Place Order lol! But I see what your saying the weight of pkg is added for shipping from Miami to DR. And does the Miami location call or email once they have pkg and ask that you pay with credit card for that shipping cost before they'll send it?  Or do I pay at the location its shipped to in DR when I pick it up?

Pay at the pick up location for Miami to DR shipping.

Tinker is right, you pay on arrival here in the DR.  Check around and find the right freight forwarder to use.

I personally use BM Cargo and also recommend  CPS !

Thank you both!!

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