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U.S. Removes Dominican Republic Travel Warning Regarding Racial Profiling

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The United States has removed a travel warning for U.S. citizens five months after it advised travelers about potential racial profiling upon entering the tropical country.

A U.S. traveler in the Dominican Republic

The decision has been welcomed warmly by Dominican authorities, who have worked tirelessly to convince their U.S. counterparts that the warning lacked any factual basis.

Here’s the latest on how the diplomatic crisis has unfolded:

Racial Worries No Longer Impediment For Travel To The Dominican Republic 

Five months ago, the U.S. Embassy issued a notice for American travelers headed to the Dominican Republic, warning them over heightened questioning at the country’s ports and airports.

According to the U.S., Dominican authorities had implemented racial profiling owning to rising illegal immigration rates from neighboring Haiti.

Haiti police in a large crowd during protest

For months, U.S. travelers have been warned that they may be targeted based on the color of their skin, an allegation which Dominican officials have rejected vehemently. 

After months of diplomatic wrangling, the United States updated its warning, fully removing it from their travel notice in a move that signals that the Dominican Republic is welcoming of all travelers. 

According to Dominican sources, the decision was made on the back of growing political pressure from the House of Representatives, as well as Dominican diplomats. The U.S. travel warning caused significant backlash from Dominican politicians, who have traditionally seen the United States as a close partner.

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Tourism police on the street with travelers

Meanwhile, officials in the Dominican Republic are elated by the decision to remove the warning.

In a press conference, David Collado, the country’s minister for tourism, said that the measure is “very positive and adequate,” highlighting the United State’s importance as an ally and tourism market.

The Dominican Republic is one of the most popular Caribbean destinations for American travelers, with Punta Cana being ranked the second most sought-after holiday location after Cancun.

Over 70% of all visitors in the resort destination come from North America, and the city has an excellent reputation thanks to its safety, warm climate, and award-winning resorts. 

Pool and palm trees in a Punta Cana resort area

“The Dominican Republic is experiencing one of its best periods with skyrocketing arrival figures, and the United States is increasingly an important source of travelers,” the minister added.

With the travel warning a thing of the past, it is likely that more and more Americans will flock to the Dominican Republic, and for the overwhelming majority, their vacation will be scot-free.

U.S. passport holder bound for travel

Dominican authorities have also highlighted that the country is welcoming, treating all visitors with respect, dignity, and equality. The tropical island has also invested heavily in improving safety for travelers and is known for having a highly professional tourism safety body, the Politur. 

Despite concern resulting from two new travel warnings – one issued by Canada and the other by the U.S. – over violent crime, the Dominican Republic remains one of the safest Caribbean destinations. 

The Crisis In Haiti Remains An Issue For The Dominican Republic 

The Dominican Republic shares a 200-mile-long border with its neighboring country of Haiti, which is mired in a deep political and economic crisis, the effects of which have spilled across the border.

Police in the dominican republic

Local armed gangs in Haiti are known for their ruthless violence and have wreaked havoc in the country’s main cities.

While most of the crime is limited to Haiti, in recent months, Dominican officials have reported crimes affecting border communities.

U.S. flights departing to the Dominican Republic

While the issue is currently limited to certain areas, Canada and the United States have urged their citizens to remain alert while traveling to the Dominican Republic, especially when staying in urban areas.

Moreover, visitors are cautioned to avoid traveling to the Dominican Republic-Haiti border, which lacks proper infrastructure to protect travelers.

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