Some Helpful Tips

Make a minimum of 2 copies of everything before you go to the consulate facility.  There are many opportunists in the area that take advantage of the human error component in any immigration process.  They charge a ridiculously, outrageously, absurd rate for their services to those visiting the facility – unprepared.  Example, $500RD (Dominican Peso) per page printed or copied.  At an exchange rate of about $42RD per $1US – that’s about $12US (US Dollars), $300RD for passport photos about $7US.

Bring a friend.  You cannot bring anything into the consular facility that is not paperwork required for the nature of your visit.  NO CELLPHONES, NO USB DEVICES, NO CAMERAS.  Again there are scavengers in the area that are willing to hold your contraband items for a ridiculous rate.  Bring a friend so they can hold anything you cannot take inside the facility.

If you have an early morning appointment i.e.; 7:15 am and do not live anywhere remotely near the facility go there the day/night before.  Spend the night at a family member or friend’s house. If you can afford it, stay in one of the nearby hotels.  Remember, the Dominican Republic is still a developing country and travel conditions are not always optimal.  The consulate advises all visitors to arrive 15 min prior the scheduled appointment.  I advise get there maybe 1 hour earlier.  Why, waiting 1 hour until your appointment is less than the 2 or more hours you will have to wait if you get there on time or a little late.  That line gets long.

Eat a good meal before entering the facility.  Once in there you cannot leave and will be forced to purchase food in their cafeteria which is a bit pricey.  There is no way to predict the duration of your visit within the facility.  It can be 10 minutes or it can be 5 hours.  Of course I’m exaggerating – just use common sense and don’t go on an empty stomach.

If you drive there be prepared to pay about $200RD (about $5US) per hour to any of the few parking lots available – You might be a few hours.  There will be locals whose years of scouting practices have honed their skills to flawlessly identify visitors of the consular office.  These local individuals are also opportunists trying to benefit off your parking needs.  They will be flagging you down to guide you to an open parking spot and will charge you $2USD for their hard work and effort.  You are basically paying them so you can park in a free and legally authorized parking spot on the side of the street.  YOU IN NO WAY HAVE TO PAY ANYONE IN THE STREET A FEE FOR FINDING YOU A PARKING SPOT.   Now here’s the kicker.  When in Rome do as the Romans do.  Keep in mind you’re in a developing country with different business practices and perception based on their culture.  I personally avoided friction with these “valet” by playing coy and just paying them the $2USD fee they charge.  I believe the $2USD was worth the false peace of mind while in the consulate building.  I didn’t want to develop friction by not paying them and then torture myself with unending thoughts of how they are destroying my car while I’m at my appointment.  I was lucky.  The various times I went, I parked, I paid them $2USD, returned to my vehicle and it was just the way I left it.  Just follow your instincts worst case scenario just park in one of the parking lot and pay them.

Good Luck!

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