Expats' Corner December 20, 2023 | 8:48 am

Should you ship your personal items or vehicle to the Dominican Republic when relocating?

When you decide to live or retire full-time in the Dominican Republic, a crucial part of this transition involves deciding whether to ship your personal items, household goods, vehicles, and furniture to the country.

We’ve had clients do both. Either way you go, you need to devise a plan.

If you decide to sell off, donate, or put items in storage, start dealing with this now. Start listing items on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace. Or you could do a garage sale.

You can list more oversized items like your car, television, or furniture on these platforms, but you’d be selling to folks in your local area who can pick the items up from home. You don’t want to deal with the cost of shipping a TV or car out of state.

If you decide to ship to the DR, do your research on reputable shipping companies and the requirements and documentation for customs now.

Also, you’ve got to keep in mind the costs involved in shipping goods internationally, including packing, insurance, import taxes, transport to the DR, and then delivery to your home, all of which can add up quickly.

The total shipping costs will start at $1K and could go up to as much as $10,000.

If you are a Dominican resident, depending on your category, you could be exempt from import taxes on your personal items and qualify for a reduction of import taxes on your vehicle.

You must also consider the risk of damage or loss to your items in transit. On top of that, you need to mentally prepare, as the logistics of shipping internationally are complex and can be stressful and time-consuming.

Again, whatever you decide, it is essential to have a plan and to start early, at least six (6) months to a year before your anticipated move date.

Check out the article here to learn more about Dominican import duty taxes: What you should know about Import Duty Taxes when moving to the Dominican Republic


Maria Abreu is the CEO and Managing Attorney of Abreu & Associates, a law firm practicing exclusively in Dominican Republic Immigration and Nationality law. She is also the founder of Retire and Invest DR. This organization hosts conference events for foreigners interested in living, retiring, and investing in the DR. You can contact Maria at: mabreu@abreuimmigration.com.


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Paul Tierney
December 20, 2023 9:59 am

Be careful when shipping household goods and a vehicle in an ocean container together. The vehicle cannot be more than 5 years old. It has to be registered and have a title in origin country for at least a full year in the name of the person before making the shipment. Dominicans will be exempt from most taxes. There is a lot of prep work to be done for a vehicle. The fuel tank has to be close to empty (ocean transport safety regulation}, household items stored in the vehicle during ocean transit have to be removed at destination port for customs inspection. The household items are inspected at one place and the vehicle is moved to the impound yard for its own customs inspection, to be released when it has Dominican plates and documents.

Last edited 6 months ago by Paul Tierney
julia maria perez
December 20, 2023 4:20 pm
Reply to  Paul Tierney

False, the vehicle does not have to under the name of the importing person for a year, thats only if you want to take adventage of the tax cuts. you can import any vehicle if you are willing to pay the full tax.

Paul Tierney
December 20, 2023 5:42 pm

The framework of the article is about relocating to the country by shipping one’s household items and vehicle. The vehicle has to titled and registered in the name of the person making the shipment for at least a year** in the origin country. The vehicle will have to be registered in the RD in the name of the person on the foreign title if he/she wants a tax reduction. Having Dominican roots and identity documents will be vital to get a reduction.

**a concession to Dominican new car dealers to protect their sales from being undercut by private imports of new cars.

Jorge Terrero
December 21, 2023 11:45 am

The entire purpose is to obtain tax relief on the process. The requirement is clear, the vehicle must be registered to the person for at least one (1). Year. You can’t go to the dealer, buy a brand new vehicle and ship it…. Taxes will be imposed under such scenario.

Paul Tierney
December 21, 2023 12:48 pm
Reply to  Jorge Terrero

Amen !

Juan Disla
December 23, 2023 12:53 am

I will never ship a pin to RD,to many scammers at the Port of entry from top to bottom.
After more than 50 years leaving in the USA there’s no way I will relocate in DR . Good luck for those who go back.

Pablo Rodriguez
May 11, 2024 10:41 am

My opinion on the 5 year max is how many retired families have a car that young. It’s also hilarious that they say it’s for the environment when they don’t even regulate cars that are already there. Most of these conchos and trucks shouldn’t be on the road and not just for environmental issues. And then there’s all the trash on the streets that get ignored. At the end I just see it as them wanting more money.