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Bad experience with the Dominican republic visa requirements

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Old July 30th, 2004, 06:38 AM
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Default Bad experience with the Dominican republic visa requirements

Hi everybody,
I'm willing to share my experience with the Dominican Republic visa
regulation which has prevented my holiday to Punta Cana with a not bad
loss of money.
Firstly the facts :
I am a Bulgarian passport holder, living in UK since 2002, with leave
to remain until 11.2006 as a self-employed running own business. After
11.2006 I am allowed to apply for indefinite leave to remain in UK.
April 2003 I went on holiday in Dominican Republic as I checked in
many internet sites for the visa requirements. So I saw I did not need
a visa as I can travel just on touristic card and passport. I went
there without any troubles at all and I had a great time. Nobody asked
me neither at the UK border nor at the Dominican border for visa. On
the way back to the airport I met two other Bulgarians, also living in
UK with the same status as mine one in UK and they told me that the
consulate of Dominican republic in London made them to obtain visa for
each, costing £120 per person !!! We were wondering then where the
truth was. My thoughts were that should have been misunderstanding of
the consulate in London. They told me they had checked in a lot of
internet sites for Dominican Republic and they saw as well as myself
that they do not need a visa.
This year – 2004 March me and a friend of mine booked good late deal
for 14 nights AI in Punta Cana. I was planning to celebrate my 30
birthday. So we bought the packet and a few days after went to Gatwick
airport in London at 7.30 am. Suddenly at the check-in at Gatwick, the
agent told us there is a problem and we need a visa to get on the
plane. We complained about that and I told him and showed him the
stamps that I was there an year ago without a visa. He spoke to his
supervisor and at the end they told us, showing off an internal
brochure that they cannot reach by the telex machine anyone of the
Dominican immigration officer(due to the time difference which is – 5
Hours GMT) and they cannot allow us to board! Shock! Now the
interesting part is coming up. We were waiting for an answer of the
Dominican side, but no answer from them. The plane gone and we
remained at the airport.
The holiday was booked from one of the biggest UK tour operators
Airtours (member of Mytravel group) by phone and the airline was
Mytravel Airways. When we complained to the costumer service of the
tour operator we were told it is our responsibility to check and
obtain all necessary documents and visas. We were not told about that
or anything related when we booked the packet. After several calls to
them we found out there is still no chance to get full or even partial
We spoke to the Dominican Republic embassy in London after that and
they confirmed we need a visa. In the most Internet sites Bulgaria is
still among the countries with no need of visa for the Dominican


On the official sites of the Dominican embassy in New York And Canada
is written "The legal residents in UK, USA,Canada …and other are also
eligible for tourist card) Our status as resident in UK does not help
out, as the embassy interpret "LEGAL RESIDENCY" as indefinite leave to
remain, not a temporary residence. So confusing. I spoke to the
embassies of the Dominican Republic in New York, Miami, Toronto and
all of them were confused to declare definite whether we need a visa
or not, at least nothing in written. The first answer every time was
just straight " You need a visa". When I asked them for more exact
attention all they got confused. Strange ! As a final we understood
that probably Bulgaria was removed that list of countries eligible for
tourist card but I do not trust the clerks this embassies. The travel
insurance policy does not cover such cases so no money from them
Now I'm thinking to sue the travel company but it will cost a lot of

Sorry for the long story it is difficult to explain the matter just
with a few sentences.
Any ideas and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I hope the story will be helpful for anyone who is not citizen of UK,
Canada, USA or EU .

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