“You lied to me” – Mark Morrison.
My recent two trips to The Caribbean have involved a lot of red tape. I’ve always been paperwork loyal but since COVID began in December 2019 it’s been manic street preaching for all sorts of documents. It was 17 PCR tests in 2021 for me as I backpacked through 10 new Caribbean countries. Visas and online documents were only needed for Dominica, Barbados and Grenada on my 2021-2022 Christmas adventure and I haven’t actually written about those yet, though recently I have covered how to get a Haiti visa on arrival and a Mauritania visa on arrival. By 2022 things had improved in the PCR test world. Despite more media scaremongering, PCR tests were not now needed for many of my next 6 countries. Just to be safe though I did a passport switch heading into Jamaica who still claim that you need a PCR test negative if coming from the Dom Rep.
What started to annoy me is the amount of countries that fake that we don’t need a visa – what utter bullshit. If you need to pay for entry to a country or need to fill in an advance form before a flight/boat/train/bus etc. then that’s a visa!! Yes it’s a visa stupidly disguised as something else. Cuba claimed it’s a “tourist card”, yet you need to pay for it, you need to do it in advance and it’s a strict process. So that’s a visa and this website will not dress it up as anything else. In short, here are just a few countries that faked that I don’t need a visa, yet they lied.
- Cuba (needed to pay, fill in a form before boarding a flight)
- Turkey (I needed to pay for a visa on arrival 5 times)
- Indonesia (I needed to pay for a visa on arrival 3 times)
- Kuwait (I needed to pay for a visa on arrival)
- Sri Lanaka (I needed to pay for an e-visa in advance)
- The Seychelles (I needed to pay, fill in a form before boarding a flight)
- British Virgin Islands (I needed to pay, fill in a form before boarding a flight)
- Dominica (I needed to pay, fill in a form before boarding a flight)
- Haiti (I needed to pay, fill in a form before boarding a flight)
- Curacao (I needed to pay, fill in a form before boarding a flight)
- Cape Verde Islands (I needed to pay, fill in a form before boarding a flight)
And that’s just some of the countries that do that. Just admit it, Dominican Republic – we need a visa! Even using a British passport, I needed a visa, a form and a PCR test (on the spot) at Beef Island. I was negative of course.
In December 2022, I visited the Dom Rep. Wee Dominican Republic would be my first country on Hispaniola to visit, with Haiti to follow later. A quick online check revealed that Northern Irish passport holders (British and Irish) apparently do not require a visa to visit The Dominican Republic. However, an immigration pass is essential and therefore, this MUST be filled in before your trip and you need to do it in the 48 hours before your flight in – I flew in so I am not sure of the way to do this by boat or land border.
Visa Situation For Dominican Republic
As a Northern Irish citizen I don’t currently need an actual visa for the Dominican Republic, but I do need the immigration pass and need to pay $10 US – in other words I do need a visa – you lied like many other countries. The lies grill me but the love of being a tourist runs me on…plus the thrill of a Michelada on a beach on Hispaniola…
Completing The Visa Form / Electronic Ticket For Entering Dominican Republic
It is a digital form required by everyone entering or leaving the Dominican Republic. It is mandatory for each passenger to truthfully complete the information on the electronic Ticket for the General Immigration Office, the General Customs Office and the Ministry of Public Health, according to dominican laws 285-04, 115-17, 72-02 and 226-06. That main website is this one. So wait a moment, it’s mandatory well that means it’s a visa…you click on this link (which can be translated into Spanish, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, German) –
Then you fill in the form online, in your preferred language. The questions are the usual ones like name, nationality, date of birth, date of entry, flight you are on, airline, hotel you stay at etc. I put the correct flight but a fake hotel – I mean how can they proive you stay at that hotel and why do they care? What happens if that hotel closes down or goes on fire the day after filling in the form? They’re not clairvoyants and neither are we. They will send you an email as well as giving you a confirmation code.
Luckily, after filling in the form, they confirmed my visa and emailed me a PDF of it. That can be downloaded or printed, so I did both. It has what is known as a QR code – I still don’t know how to scan those on my phone – tried to scan it many times and cannot but a print out is all you need for the visa. Even their website uses the word “visa” then claim it’s merely an “immigration document”!
Boarding My Flight To The Dominican Republic
I was flying into The Dominican Republic on a direct flight from Havana, Cuba and I had my printed visa (“immigration document”) and guess what – you do NEED this form. You MUST have it before boarding the flight and it is checked – there goes their fake theory on visa free. It also costs $10 US though they try to waiver that by claiming it is included in your flight ticket – well it is, but it costs $10 US more!!
Sometimes I forget to ask for the passport stamps and oddly, on entry into Cuba, they didn’t stamp me. To make up for this I asked for a stamp when leaving and they obliged. A nice one – my Cuba exit stamp on Christmas Day 2022.
Also on entering the Dominican Republic, I wanted an entry stamp – I love collecting passport stamps. I had a final beer at Jose Marti international airport in Havana, bizarrely a Bavaria.
Mine was an early flight – 4.40 a.m. which worked out well as I was able to maximise my first day in the Dominican Republic. I was quite surprised by the fact there are flights from Cuba to the USA. I was convinced there was some kind of politcal issue with that, but again another travel myth you hear, just like the Nauru myths!
Arrival In The Dominican Republic
It was a short 2.5 hour flight from Havana in Cuba into Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, where I was staying in the excellent Novus Plaza Hodelpa and touring the Zona Colonial of the capital city, as well as trips to the Christopher Columbus Museum/Mausoleum/Grave and the fantastic Boca Chica beach. On arrival, they checked my immigration form (read visa!)
Here are some videos of my trip from Cuba to the Dominican Republic: