Embargoes in the Dominican Republic

Embargoes and their implementation in the Dominican Republic

  • By:Vianela Morillo
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An embargo can be defined as the means of forceful enforcement by which a creditor, after complying with the requirements established by the law, brings the assets of their debtor to justice. This imposition is implemented for the purpose of selling said assets at public auctions, thus allowing the creditor to obtain what is owed by the debtor through the sale of the assets.

In this instance, we will talk about a topic that attracts a lot of interest for our readers, and it is the issue of FORECLOSURES and EMBARGOES in the Dominican Republic.

And as we mentioned previously, we receive a lot of questions about this topic, from both Creditors and Debtors. We will list some of the most common questions and answers below.

  1. Can I Be the subject of an Embargo as a result of a Credit Card Debt?

Yes, it is possible. However, it could be only a Retention type of Embargo, for other types of embargo there must have a sentence and a prior process.

  1. Can my payroll account be seized?

Your payroll account cannot be seized, and if this does happen you can file a claim for the order to be lifted.

  1. Can I be the subject of an embargo in another country due to a debt, unfulfilled agreement (contract or promissory note), or a ruling in the Dominican Republic?

Yes, you can. However, it would be very difficult for this to happen, given that it would first require a homologation of the sentence in that country and adherence to the process established by that legislation.

It will also depend on what that debt establishes, for instance, whether competition is limited to DR, among other things.

In conclusion, it is difficult to seize or conduct the recovery in question in another country, due to the difficulty added by the legislation, investment and time it would take.

  1. Can I be the subject of an embargo as the guarantor of a loan?

Yes, it is possible. In this case, you are liable for that debt in the event that the debtor defaults, given that as a GUARANTOR, by definition, you serve as a guarantee of the payment.

  1. If I become the subject of an embargo and I do not know the reason why, what can I do?

You would need to submit a cited petition requesting to have the Embargo lifted as a matter of urgency.

  1. Is it true that by signing a Notarized Promissory Note I commit all my assets (Furniture and Real Estate) ?

This is totally true. A Notarized Promissory Note is a decree, which, if drafted in accordance with the law, can allow for you to be seized or Embargoed.

  1. Can I be Embargoed over an Inheritance I accepted?

Yes, you can. When we accept an Inheritance,  we also accept the related assets and liabilities, that is to say also the commitments and debts.

  1. Can I be embargoed over my spouse’s Debts?

It depends on the case. If you are married under a community of property matrimonial regime, then you may be embargoed, given that, as spouses, you are co-owners of the assets and liabilities of each other.

As a result, we suggest that BEFORE you get married, you evaluate the type of activity, commitments, debts and assets your spouse is involved in, to determine if it would be advisable to go over the different types of marital property regimes available in the Dominican Republic, and decide if it would be beneficial to establish one of them.

If you need more information about this topic, you should consider accessing the following articles from our site:

  1. Is it possible to seize the assets of a Trust?

No, it is not possible. The only exception would be if the assets are a debt or commitment assumed by the Trust in question.


  • Executive embargoes: The purpose of these embargoes is the sale of the debtor’s movable property through public auction to obtain payment for the debt by way of the sale’s earnings.
  • Conservative embargoes: These are characterized by preventing the theft and causing the immobilization of the debtor’s assets, in favor of the creditor. The sale of these assets through public auction requires a prior validation process and enforcement conversion.
  • Real estate embargo: These orders seek to sell the real estate of the debtor through public auction, with the purpose of obtaining the payment of the debt through the sale’s earnings.
  • There is another type of embargo, which represents more of a constraint, and that would be the Retention Embargo, which is one of the most commonly used types. This is, in practice, the one that is usually applied to the bank accounts of a Debtor.

Broadly speaking, there are two (2) types of legal enforcements:

Voluntary enforcement: In this type of enforcement, the debtor voluntarily fulfills his obligation after a conviction or a contract (Articles 1134 and 1135 of the Dominican Civil Code).

Forced enforcement: In this type of enforcement, coercive measures are employed to force the debtor to make the payment. This order must be covered by a right that must be true and enforceable.

Conservative embargo

A Conservative Embargo is a type of provisional process used in urgent cases where rapid procedural action is required, in order to avoid serious damage, due to a potential concealment of assets by the debtor.

The nature of a Conservative Embargo can be commercial and of general law. The former is used for commercial matters and seeks to protect commercial loans, and the latter prevents debtors from concealing the assets, bringing them to the disposal of justice.

Purpose of a Conservatory Embargo

The purpose of conservatory embargoes is to immobilize the debtor’s assets, preventing them from concealing the goods in question.

Selling the seized property is not the purpose of this type of embargo, at least not immediately, because before this sale is done, the creditor must pursue the validity of the seizure, turning it from a conservative seizure to an executive one. Only after this step has been fulfilled you can proceed to sell the seized property.

Requirements for this type of Embargo

In order to carry out this type of embargo you must be the holder of an accreditation that demonstrates the urgency of the collection.

Under Article 48 of the Dominican Civil Procedure Code, the judge will be empowered to grant authorization whenever “it seems justified in principle”, without the need to verify that the credit is true, enforceable, and liquid. These requirements also apply to other types of embargoes.

Retentive Embargo

In this type of embargo the debtor’s funds are frozen.

The frozen funds are usually in banks or commercial entities, otherwise, the movable assets in the hands of a third party are then frozen.

This process is employed commonly due to its effectiveness in the retention of funds, being used as a way to apply pressure, which in many cases results in an agreement between the parties.

In order to employ a retentive embargo, the following steps would need to be followed:

  • Notification of the Retentive Embargo
  • Valid Complaint and Summons
  • Counterclaim and Citation in Affirmative Declaration
  • The decision of the judge overseeing the Claim

Many people tend to abuse retentive embargoes, so it is very common to go to the Judge cited in the Referrals, who can order the lifting, reduction, or limitation of the retentive embargo, in cases where said embargo lacks legality.

Executive embargoes

The direct purpose of an Executive embargo is the sale of the debtor’s movable property through public auction.


After having the notarial certificate in your possession, the first thing a creditor has to do is notify the debtor of a Payment Order, through a court clerk notice. This notice must contain the following: a) Name, occupation, and address of the creditor. b) Mention of enforceable title under which the embargo will be made. c) Constitution of a lawyer. d) The address where the embargo will be carried out. e) Official request for payment of the credit. f) Threat of payment specifying that if the total amount owed is not paid within three regular days, the executive embargo will be carried out. e) Other information commonly found on clerk’s notices.

Once the debtor has been notified, if the payment is not done within three regular days, the executive embargo act is drafted, and the creditor will have a court bailiff carry out the embargo at the debtor’s home or at the location where the assets to be seized are.

Real Estate Embargo

Real estate embargoes can be defined as the process by which a creditor deprives a debtor of one or more of their properties, in order to sell these assets and obtain the payment of the credit in question through the funds collected.

Attachable Real Estate Assets

Article 2118 of the Dominican Civil Code states that all assets subject to mortgage may be subject to real estate embargoes.

In this type of embargo, as with any other, the pursued debtor must be the owner of the property to be seized.


This type of embargo consists of 2 stages, and they are as follows:

  • The first stage consists in attempting to remove possession of the real estate from the debtor.
  • The second stage prepares the property for sale.

Time Required for the Development and Execution of an Embargo

In the event that there are no incidents during the embargo process, the time required is 120 days.

In our law firm Morillo Suriel Attorneys at Law, we have a division specialized in Embargo Enforcement . Through this division, we can assist you with any questions or concerns you may have regarding Embargoes in the Dominican Republic and their Enforcement.  If you need any assistance in this matter, we can offer you our online legal services, regardless of where you might be around the world.

We are available


Posted in: Civil Law


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