Buying a car as a new resident

So its 2018 and we arrive in the DR as brand-new residents. We rent a car for a few weeks to get situated, then we decide to purchase a vehicle.  We purchase insurance then set out to buy. 

Is a cedula or a DR driving license required? Are US bank checks accepted?  What paperwork is usually or legally required?  In advance, thanks for your information.

You need residencia and your cedula to get a Dominican license. Your other is only good as long as your tourist visa.

Yes you can buy and insure a car as an expat. You buy then insure here.


We are not residents of the DR. We own a villa near Juan Esteban
Can we buy a car not being a resident!

Yes you can buy a car without being a resident.  You can also buy insurance without being a resident. 

Welcome to the forums!

You need to have a DR license to drive after 30 days here. Less than 30 days you can drive.

The key point to remember is that your vehicle insurance is only valid if you hold a current approved valid driving license to drive the category of vehicle and this is clearly written in the small print in the insurance policy.

The DR previously permitted non residents to drive 90 days on an approved foreign license after each arrival in the country under the old transport law, but more recently people have been advising that this is now 30 days perhaps due to the new transport law or immigration status. Personally, I remain uncertain if it is a maximum of 90 days after arrival or validity of your entry visa (tourist card being 30 days) and will defer to others.

If your VISA,  whichever visa you have, is expired then your license is expired as well.  That is currently what the law states.



We are from Stratford Ontario. We spend 4 to 5 months in the DR.

Is there a xpat chapter in the Southwest, particularly the Bani to Barahona region?

Welcome  to the forums.  Honey there are no chapters anywhere actually!  Just clusters of expats living in various areas.

I do not know many living in the southwest. I am in Santo Domingo, anytime you are in the capital let me know.


We will look you up. We stay at the hotel conde de penalba when we're in town.
We may also need your services. We are having trouble finding a good lawyer. We are currently using Guzman for our deslinde.


Happy to meet you there, love that hotel!  And good places nearby to sit and have a drink and people watch!!!

Thanks for the responses.  To follow up, we are considering both new and used vehicles. Presently, we are checking out the diesel pickups such as the Hilux, Colorado, Frontier, D-Max, and Sportero. We have been looking at and notice that there is little in the way of competitive pricing for the same new vehicles at different locations. What has been the experience of others in actually purchasing?  Do dealers negotiate, are there discounted offers, are prices better in Santiago/Moca/La Vega or Santo Domingo, and any extraordinary experiences with specific dealers?

New is not highly competitive. Always negotiate!  As a foreigner you will be less successful than a local! You are immediately flagged as rich regardless of reality.

I almost always shop, compare decide on what I want and send a local in to complete the deal.  Until the very end they don't know its for me or my business!

As we suspected, and sage advice.  Thanks, Planner. Seems that there could be an opening for someone prepared to offer the service for a modest fee. We will be owing favors to our contacts!

There is someone who does this on behalf of expats in the capital. I will find his contact info!!!


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So I will say it Cruffman can help you while we sort out his post.

We don't permit sharing personal contact info on a public forum.

Most things Dominican don't allow much price flexibility

Big conversation/confusion over the 30 & 90 day rule but it really hits home for the insurance...whether you'll be covered after the designated period

Buying is easy... and Yes.. very consistent prices... sort of 'fixed' in that regard
But at least you see it.!!

always a with the title, plates, etc
and easy money transfers
Done it a couple of times...

There are people who help   Car concierge types who i'm sure are watching here

Anyone have the information of a good inspector in DR?

He will find you - cruffman

Keep reading all those topics you posted on...
Solid support for him

Armchair shopping - I have used him
Painless & effortless

Hi Planner,
One question related to driving vs. visa.
I found this government web for prolongation of tourist visa:
IF I extend my tourist visa while being in DomRep (beyond the standard 30 days on arrival) does that mean that I can drive for more than 30 day (until the extended visa expires) or is the law strictly limiting the foreigners to drive only for 30 days?
Do you know anyone on this forum who can answer this?
Thank you so much!

Your foreign driving license is valid only for your legal stay as government tourism site link below. … -republic/

And without a legal driving license any insurance is invalidated so you would be committing several driving and potentially very serious infractions after your legal stay expires.

So, what happens if you get an extension to remain in the DR after the 30 days?  Does the insurance cover in that instance?

So  the jury is out on that one. The  EXTENSION is an administrative work around and is not a LEGAL EXTENSION.

The answer is we dont know.  The choice to continue driving and  risking is yours.

We have had an extensive discussion about this, actually more than once.  Bottom line is there is no legal challenge to this, no one has tested it.  Do you want to be the first?

I'm not sure you're right ---

The 'Overstay Fee' is a workaround... the extension is legit and should be used to extend your driving time.

This extension is new under the current regime.... totally legit

If you pay at the airport on exit, you are not legal after 30 days.
Extending allows you the protection of being legal for your entire stay

For this legal overstay where would a person need to go.  If just Santo Domingo that would be absolutely rediculous.  Most tourists are wither Punta Cana area or north coast.  Last thing I want to do is have to drive to Santo Domingo

It's an online procedure...accepts credit cards

In relation to the validity of foreign licenses, the legality of which can be found by reading Ley 63-17 Transit, Transport and Mobility Law, Article 339 - 19 and the regulation by decree 6-19 in respect of that law: … 20VIAL.pdf

Reglamento de licencias de conducir, clasificaciones, tipos, restricciones y cualquier
otro elemento a ser considerado por el INTRANT. … r%20GO.pdf

You will find the answers on pages 83 to 89 of the latter in relation to foreigners and a laymans readings indicates you must be legally here and the validity is up to 6 months - which makes sense for those who get residency and change to a Dominican license because it would take that long in some cases.

We are NOT having this  discussion again. Nothing has  changed  since the last one.

You want to drive, you take your chances.

Lennox no one is talking about those in process of residency. The discussion was about THE EXTENSION OF THE  TOURIST CARD.

You drive you take your chances.

The thread was opened and is about driving in DR as a resident and not about extension of the tourist card and nothing I have written relates to that so using capital letters is out of order please.

captainkok and snowinpalm have asked about the Staying Extension is relation to the validity of their driving license and insurance and I answered quoting the Ministry of Tourism website:

Yes it is valid, but only for the duration of your legal stay–i.e. your 30-day tourist card or visa term.

You have now opened a can of worms not relevent to this thread by making a worrying statement that the staying extension (an extension advertised by DGM to extent ones tourist visa) is in some way not legal. Whilst I disagree, I am not going there because that is not the purpose of this thread.

My above post on the validity of a foreign driving license under the Transit Law is totally relevent to this thread and gives us the basis for what the Ministry of Tourism has stated.

Many people who get a residency visa and have to wait to get residency and then change to a DR license will be interested too because that all takes time and maybe 6 months.

Let's get this clarified, legally if needed, such that our now probably very concerned members get their questions answered and not make them more worried. After all having a serious accident and finding ones driving license is not valid nor insurance is a very serious matter for expats.

Your post #2 in this thread may also be misleading based upon what I have posted above.

planner wrote:

So  the jury is out on that one. The  EXTENSION is an administrative work around and is not a LEGAL EXTENSION.

I'm confused! How can an extension of the visitor card, reviewed and approved by Migracion not be legal?

it's not you showing signs of confusion......

You're right....
it's an approved Migracion process, a new one to help w/ the confusion that existed prior

From the Decree describing the rules to get a driving license to comply with the Transit Law as posted above (see pages 86 & 87 translated below): 6-19 Licencia de Conducir GO.pdf

Of foreign driver's licenses and for accredited diplomats Article 28.

Valid licenses to drive in the Dominican Republic.

Holders of a driver's license issued by the competent authority of another State, who legally reside in the country, may request the issuance of a national accreditation while this document remains in force, subject to compliance with the formalities established by this Regulation. 

Article 29. The following are valid for driving in the Dominican Republic:

1) Driving permits and licenses recognized in multilateral and bilateral international agreements to which the Dominican Republic is a party and under the conditions indicated therein. 

(2) International licences issued abroad in accordance with the Geneva International Convention of 19 September 1949 on Road Traffic or in accordance with the Paris International Convention of 24 April 1926, for the use of motor vehicles, or the Vienna International Convention of 8 November 1968 on Road Traffic, in the case of nations acceding to these Conventions which have not signed or acceded to the Geneva Convention. 

Paragraph I. The validity in the Dominican Republic of the licenses referred to in the previous article will be conditioned on the following requirements being met:

1) That the driver's license is in force.

2) That its holder has the required age in the Dominican Republic to obtain an equivalent Dominican license.

3) That the period of six (6) months, at most, counted from the time its holder acquires his legal residence in the Dominican Republic, duly accredited, has not elapsed.

Paragraph II. If its holder does not prove legal residence in the Dominican Republic, international licenses will only be valid to drive in the Dominican Republic if no more than six (6) months have elapsed since their entry into Dominican territory in a regular situation.

Now if the Staying Extension is legal and that person is in 'a regular situation' then by the above wording surely you can drive and be insured legally for 120 days at least, and new residents have six months to get their Dominican license.

I hope this helps captainkook and snowinpalm unerstand what the new Transit Law states.

Well, I have been here 6 weeks and the Canadian Consulate is not currently doing license "legalizations" due to COVID so we are in yet another waiting game to get this proof.  We are still in the process of obtaining our residency.  Our appointment in SD is Monday coming.  Hopefully this will be taken into consideration while waiting to get our licenses changed over as it is completely out of our control. :-(

How many times do we need to have the same damn conversations????? Apparently over over while we beat it to death again.

Have at it.

modaisky1971 wrote:

Well, I have been here 6 weeks and the Canadian Consulate is not currently doing license "legalizations" due to COVID so we are in yet another waiting game to get this proof.  We are still in the process of obtaining our residency.  Our appointment in SD is Monday coming.  Hopefully this will be taken into consideration while waiting to get our licenses changed over as it is completely out of our control. :-(

modaisky, you'll need your Residency card to complete the process with your driver's license, so you still have time.  Complete Residency first, and then get your license.  It's a bit of a process, and I know a couple who have done Residency, Cedulas, and Licenses in one day, but they were had a lawyer's help with all of that, and it was a very long day.

This a new twist to the conversation... thanks to Lennox

Very , very vital for people over 30 days or in residency application.

Confusing to say the least, but we have a better understanding now.

Seems to confirm the legality for 6 mo

Yes, 6 months WW if you are legal and that is something new to this forum and others and never discussed before. Thanks to the folks who raised a flag because it did not make sense that foreigners in a legal situation including residents or those applying for residency could not drive on their foreign license beyond 30 days. So I went looking in the Transit Laws and decrees for an answer.

But...........for those who are getting residency you should have to wait until six months after you get residency according to the Decree linked above and as on page 83:

Párrafo I. Los extranjeros, además de cumplir los requisitos anteriormente detallados, deberán acreditar la situación de residencia legal en el país, ya sea temporal o permanente, de al menos seis (6) meses.   

This has not been happening as Uncle Bucks post above, but may happen in the future as the ruleslaid out in Decrees get understood trough training - but don't worry one has 6 months of driving on a foreign licence after getting residency. The above rule (posted in Spanish) is an odd requirement imo.....why wait 6 months?

Plus, there's a 45 day probation period on a new license....
before you can apply for the permanent.