What You Need To Know About Traveling To the Dominican Republic This Summer
Things To Know Before You Go
The Dominican Republic is one of the most popular destinations for summer travel in 2021 and is one of the few countries allowing foreign visitors to enter without proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test result or vaccination against the coronavirus. The Caribbean country was among the first to reopen to international travel last year, giving the long-awaited green light for travelers to experience its beautiful beaches, fascinating culture and exceptional all-inclusive resorts catering to guests of all types. Before you visit this tropical favorite this summer, here are some important things to know.
Latest Travel and Health Advisories
The Dominican Republic is among the many countries to receive a Level 4 travel advisory (do not travel) from the U.S. State Department due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest April 20 advisory is designed to reflect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Level 4 Travel Health Notice for the country due to COVID-19. The latter indicates a very high level of coronavirus in the country. The Dominican Republic has been one of the hardest-hit places in the Caribbean over the past year, reporting more than 273,000 COVID-19 cases, including 3,550 deaths as of May 12.
Travel Restrictions and Requirements
Foreign tourists will need a valid passport to visit the Dominican Republic this summer but will not require a negative COVID-19 test result or proof of vaccination against the virus. Under the Responsible Tourism Recovery Plan, airports and other ports of entry throughout the country are performing a quick, aleatory breath test to between 3 and 15 percent of arriving passengers age five and over as well as to anyone displaying COVID-19 symptoms. Travelers should also anticipate temperature checks and expect to complete an electronic entry and exit form, which combines the Traveler's Health Affidavit, Customs Declaration and International Embarkation/Disembarkation forms.
The E-ticket digital form can be accessed at eticket.migracion.gob.do. Travelers will fill out a form for arrival and another one for departure and the system will generate two QR codes. Passengers are encouraged to fill out the initial form 72 hours before their trip so they can have their QR code ready to be scanned by authorities when they arrive in the country. Click here to view an instructional video. Currently, all air passengers over the age of two traveling to the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to possess proof of a negative COVID-19 test result that was taken no more than three calendar days before departure or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months before they board their flight. Fortunately, tests are available to guests at most hotel and resort properties across the country for free or at an affordable cost.
Vaccines, Enhanced Health and Safety Protocols
The Dominican Republic government and the country's resorts have spent weeks working to vaccinate tourism employees in an effort to "guarantee the health of international tourists and continue to strengthen the industry," according to David Collado, the Dominican Republic tourism minister. In addition to getting shots in arms, officials in the tourism sector have been quick to implement meaningful health and safety measures to protect workers and guests alike, including face masks and social distancing requirements in public areas as well as ubiquitous hand washing and sanitizing stations.
Much of the Dominican Republic has reopened since the pandemic was first declared in March 2020, including public beaches, parks, restaurants and malls. Travelers should anticipate curfews or capacity limits in some cases but otherwise shouldn't be too heavily impacted by the country's phased approach to reopening. Public and private transportation has also resumed. Bar and nightclub events remain suspended in addition to events involving massive gatherings. Click here for a more complete breakdown of what's open and what new protocols are in place.
How To Travel
The CDC updated its guidance for fully vaccinated travelers in early April, pointing out that they are "less likely to get and spread COVID-19." While the agency says that vaccinated travelers don't need to get tested before leaving the United States unless their destination requires it nor do they need to self-quarantine after arriving back in the U.S., they are advised to continue wearing a mask while traveling (doing so is still required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs like airports and stations), avoiding crowds and maintaining six feet or two arm lengths from anyone outside of their travel group and washing or sanitizing (at least 60 percent alcohol) their hands often. Vaccinated travelers are also encouraged to take a viral test 3-5 days after travel and self-monitor for any symptoms. Unvaccinated travelers should follow all of the aforementioned guidance in addition to taking a viral test 1-3 days before their trip and self-isolating upon their return home. Unvaccinated travelers should quarantine for seven full days if they test negative and 10 days if they choose not to get tested.
Work With a Travel Advisor
Now more than ever, it's crucial to work with an experienced travel advisor. A trusted travel professional can make planning and booking a breeze while at the same time providing expert advice and serving as your advocate. In addition to their own personal experiences, travel advisors have access to valuable feedback from their clients so they can recommend the ideal destination, airline, resort and more based on your personal needs and preferences. Their relationships with travel suppliers can also lead to exclusive savings and perks for their clients and can come in handy in the event that your trip is unexpectedly impacted. If you've never worked with a travel advisor, TravelSense.org from the American Society of Travel Advisors is an excellent resource as it allows you to search verified professionals based on your destination and type of trip.