Missing U.S. Citizen
Welfare and Whereabouts of U.S. Citizens in the Dominican Republic
Last updated: March 2009
If you are concerned about the welfare or whereabouts of an U.S. Citizen in the Dominican Republic, please call the U.S. Citizens Services (ACS) Unit at 809-221-2171. For general information you may also e-mail us at SDOAmericans@state.gov.
When contacting the U.S. Citizens Services (ACS) Unit regarding U.S. citizens believed to be missing in the Dominican Republic, please be prepared to provide any/all information you may have. This includes the person's complete name, U.S. passport number, date and place of birth, physical description, travel itinerary (airline and hotel information), where/when last seen or spoken to, etc. The Embassy will attempt to locate and contact the individual and advise him or her of your concern.
Please note that once an individual is located, you will be notified of this ONLY with his/her written and signed authorization or verbal permission to waive the U.S. federal Privacy Act, which restricts the Embassy from releasing information about U.S. citizens without their consent. The ACS Unit will, however, inform the individual that you have expressed concern about him/her and, as appropriate, suggest that s/he get in touch with you directly.
The ACS Unit does not conduct search-and-rescue missions, but in such cases where search/rescue operations may be necessary, seeks the help of those individuals and groups who have the expertise to do so. Locating missing persons in the Dominican Republic can be very difficult and time-consuming due to the mountainous terrain, lack of infrastructure and often incomplete or irretrievable government records.
Occasionally, emergencies at home (such as the illness or death of a family member) need to contact U.S. citizens living or traveling in the Dominican Republic. In such cases, when the U.S. citizen's location is unknown or s/he has been unreachable, U.S. family members may call the State Department's Office of Overseas Citizens Services in Washington at (202) 647-5225 or the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo at the above numbers. The U.S. Citizen Services (ACS) Unit will attempt to locate the person, pass on urgent messages, and, consistent with the Privacy Act, report back to the family.
Natural Disasters and Other Local Emergencies
Natural disasters and other local emergencies, whether actual or impending, are frequently reported in the U.S. and international media and thus lead to many calls about the well being of U.S. citizens abroad. In the Dominican context, this most often occurs when hurricanes hit (or even simply head toward) the island. U.S. Citizens living or traveling in the Dominican Republic should, in such instances, let their relatives know as soon as possible that they are safe. Please be resourceful in trying to get this message to concerned family/friends. Although U.S. consular officials will try to pass such messages from local U.S. citizens to their families via the State Department in Washington, priority must be given to helping those U.S. citizens who have been hurt or are in immediate danger. Remember that in a disaster, consular officers face the same constraints as everyone else - lack of electricity or fuel, interrupted telephone lines, closed airports, etc.
For more information, visit the U.S. Department of State Welfare/Whereabouts Services Abroad website.