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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

What is an immigrant visa?

An immigrant visa is a document issued by a U.S. consular officer abroad that allows you to travel to the United States and apply for admission as a legal permanent resident (LPR). An immigration inspector of U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security makes the final decision as to whether or not to admit you as an LPR. Once you are admitted as an LPR, you generally have the right to live and work in the United States permanently. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security will mail your permanent resident card (often called a “green card”) to your new address in the United States, usually within three months of your entry into the United States. Please see 22 CFR 42.11 (PDF, 112 Kb) for a list of classification symbols and a brief description of each.

What is the difference between an immigrant visa and a nonimmigrant visa?

As explained in the answer to “What is an immigrant visa?”, getting an immigrant visa usually means that you will be able to live and work in the United States for as long as you want. A nonimmigrant visa, on the other hand, is generally for short-term visitors to the United States. You cannot stay in the United States permanently on a nonimmigrant visa, and you generally cannot work. A nonimmigrant visa is sometimes informally called a “tourist visa” but can be issued for reasons other than tourism, such as medical treatment, business or study. Please see our nonimmigrant visa page for more information.

How do I start the process of obtaining my immigrant visa?

There are three basic methods for obtaining an immigrant visa: 1) through a family relationship with a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident or 2) through employment or 3) through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (the visa lottery). Most applicants in the Dominican Republic obtain their immigrant visas via family relationships.

The first step in obtaining a family-based immigrant visa is for your relative (the petitioner) to file a Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security. Your relative generally must file the petition by mail at the USCIS Service Center in the United States with jurisdiction over his or her place of residence. Once your relative has filed a petition for you, you may check its status by accessing the USCIS Case Status Search Page.

You may obtain an immigrant visa through employment rather than through a family member. More information on obtaining an immigrant visa through employment rather than through a family member is available from USCIS.

Please see the Instructions for the 2013 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2013) (PDF 279 Kb) for more information on the visa lottery. Note that natives of the Dominican Republic do not qualify as principal applicants in the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.

The family-based petition my relative filed for me was approved. Now what?

Once U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security approves an immigrant visa petition, USCIS sends the approved petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Note that the few petitions approved by the Department of Homeland Security in Santo Domingo are sent directly to the Immigrant Visa Unit of the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo and are not sent to NVC.

What does the National Visa Center do?

The Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) retains the approved petition until the case is ready for adjudication by a consular officer abroad. Petitions may remain at NVC for several months or for many years depending on the visa category and country of birth of the visa applicant. When a beneficiary’s (the beneficiary is the person on whose behalf the petition was filed) priority date appears about to become current, NVC sends the petitioner a bill for processing Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act) and sends the beneficiary a Form DS-3032 (Choice of Address and Agent) - (PDF - 31Kb). Once the Form I-864 processing fee is paid, NVC sends the Form I-864 and related instructions to the petitioner. Once NVC receives the completed Form DS-3032 from the applicant, NVC mails a bill for the immigrant visa fee (currently US$400.00) to the agent designated on the Form DS-3032. Once the immigrant visa fee is paid, NVC sends the Instruction Package for Immigrant Visa Applicants to the agent.

You or your agent must follow the directions in the Instruction Package for Immigrant Visa Applicants exactly. Failure to do so could result in a delay in your case and could even cause you to lose your chance to live and work in the United States. Once NVC completes its administrative processing of your case, the case file is sent to the Immigrant Visa Unit of the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo. NVC will notify you by mail when this occurs.

My case is at the National Visa Center, how can I get in touch with them?

You can contact the National Visas Center at this address: http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_3177.html.

What is a priority date and why does it matter?

The priority date, in the case of a family-based immigrant visa petition, is the date your petition was filed (not the date it was approved). Family-based immigrant visas are divided into two broad groups, immediate relative cases and preference cases. An immediate relative family-based petition is filed by a U.S. citizen on behalf of a spouse, parent, or child. A preference family-based petition is filed by a U.S. citizen on behalf of a son, daughter, or sibling; or by a legal permanent resident on behalf of a spouse, son or daughter, or child.

Because the law does not limit the number of immediate relative visas, the priority date is normally irrelevant in such cases (please see the Department of State’s most recent policy telegram on the Child Status Protection Act for the notable exception). Workload permitting, the Immigrant Visa Unit of the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo may begin processing the approved petition upon receipt from the Department of State’s National Visa Center or the Department of Homeland Security.

The priority date in a preference case, however, matters greatly. The law limits the number of preference visas available. All categories of family-based preference visas are currently “oversubscribed” (i.e., there are more people who want visas than there are visa numbers available). Your priority date, along with your visa category and nationality, determines whether a visa number is available or whether you must wait. Once your priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed in the most recent Visa Bulletin you can be allotted a visa number and have your case processed (i.e., your case is “current”). We cannot predict when a case will become current. You can monitor the movement of the cut-off dates as announced in the Visa Bulletin to learn when your priority date is reached. To hear the cut-off dates over the telephone, you can call the Department of State visa information line at (202) 663-1541.

I received an Appointment Package from the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo. What do I do now?

If you have received an Appointment Package for Immigrant Visa Applicants, a Package of Instructions for K-3/K-4 Applicants or a Package of Instructions for K-1/K-2 applicants, please follow carefully the instructions therein.  Failure to do so could result in a delay in your case and could even cause you to lose your chance to live and work in the United States.

The consular officer cannot decide whether or not to issue you an immigrant visa until you formally apply and are interviewed.  Therefore, we strongly recommend that you NOT make non-refundable flight arrangements or other travel plans until and unless you actually receive your visa.

How long should I expect to be at the Consular Section on the day of my visa interview?

IIt is not possible for us to predict exactly how long you will be at the Consular Section. On the day of your appointment, do not arrive more than 15 minutes before the time listed on your appointment letter.  We interview applicants as efficiently as possible consistent with reasoned, legally supportable decisions; however, you should be patient as some applicants may be at our office until 4:30 p.m.  We make every attempt to interview elderly applicants, applicants with infants, disabled applicants and other applicants with special needs early in the day.  If you have a disability or a special need that is not apparent, please mention it to one of the consular employees who wear blue polo-style shirts with a U.S. Embassy patch and who display a U.S. Embassy ID badge.  These employees circulate throughout the visa applicant waiting area and the Consular Section entry.  Drinking water and restrooms are available.

What is the principal beneficiary of a petition and what is a derivative beneficiary?

In a family-based immigrant visa case, the principal beneficiary of a petition is the person on whose behalf the petition was filed, that is, the person listed on the right side of the front of Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative). A derivative beneficiary is the spouse or child of the principal beneficiary. A preference family-based case may have many derivative beneficiaries in addition to the principal beneficiary, and all of the beneficiaries (principal and derivatives) share the same petition and the same case number. There are no derivative beneficiaries in immediate relative family-based cases, which means that each applicant must have his or her own petition and individual case number.

Should I fast before my medical examination?

No. You should eat normally before your medical examination. In addition, if you are taking any medication, you should continue to take it normally. Please see our Information Concerning the Medical Examination and Vaccines and the Consultorios de Visa website for more information concerning medical issues.

Should I get a lawyer to help me with my case?

The decision as to whether or not to hire a lawyer or other representative is yours alone. We cannot tell you whether or not to obtain representation, nor can we recommend any specific lawyers.  If you do hire an attorney or other representative, that person may accompany you to your visa interview but may not/not answer questions on your behalf.  You, the applicant, must answer the consular officer’s questions.

I received a CR-1 or CR-2 immigrant visa. What does that mean?

You and the petitioner must file a Form I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Service Center in the United States with jurisdiction over your state of residence within the 90-day period immediately preceding the second anniversary of the date you were first admitted to the United States as a conditional permanent resident. If the I-751 is not filed within this period, your conditional permanent resident status will be terminated automatically and you will be subject to deportation from the United States.Please read our Notice of Conditional Status.

What does the Child Citizenship Act do?

The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 is a law that amended Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to confer automatic U.S. citizenship upon certain categories of children born abroad upon their admission to the United States as a legal permanent resident.  If the consular officer determines that the Child Citizenship Act applies, we will give the applicant our Child Citizenship Act Information Sheet (PDF, 14 Kb).

Please see 9 FAM 40.41 N3.4-1 (PDF, 176 Kb) for more information concerning the Child Citizenship Act.

The person who filed the petition on my behalf is not working. Does he or she still need to submit an Affidavit of Support?

Yes. If you are subject to the I-864 (Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act) requirement, as almost all immigrant visa applicants in the Dominican Republic are, the petitioner must submit an I-864 for you. Otherwise, the consular officer will not be able to issue you a visa. This requirement applies even if the petitioner is not working or is working but does not earn enough money to support you. In these circumstances, your petitioner may find a joint sponsor who is willing to file an I-864 for you, or he or she may have a household member who is willing to file a Form I-864A (Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member).

Remember that every I-864 and I-864A must be accompanied by proof that the filer is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, and the most recent U.S. tax form as of when the I-864 or I-864A was signed. If the petitioner is not working, he or she must state this on the I-864.

If the person has not filed a U.S. tax return, regardless of the reason, he or she must explain in writing why not. The petitioner may find it convenient to use our No Taxes Statement (PDF, 11 Kb) for this purpose.

Please see 9 FAM 40.41 (PDF, 75 Kb) for more information concerning the I-864 and the public charge ineligibility.

I am married to a U.S. citizen and am waiting for my adjustment of status interview in the United States. My child, who is my spouse's stepchild, is in the Dominican Republic and is about to have a legal permanent resident visa interview. Do I have to become a legal permanent resident before my child can be issued an immigrant visa?There is no requirement that you ever become a legal permanent resident. However, in order for your child to qualify as your spouse's stepchild, the consular officer must be convinced that your marriage is legitimate for immigration purposes. The most direct way for the consular officer to know that the marriage is bona fide is for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security to have adjusted your status to that of legal permanent resident. If you are not yet a legal permanent resident, the consular officer may require alternative evidence (e.g., joint rental agreements, bank statements, phone bills, photographs, etc.). You and your spouse may even be invited to the Consular Section for an interview with the consular officer.Please see 9 FAM 40.1 N2.2 (PDF, 178 Kb) for more information concerning the legal definition of stepchild

What if I get married after I receive my immigrant visa but before I am admitted to the United States as a legal permanent resident?

If you are issued an immigrant visa under a category that requires you to be unmarried, and you marry after receiving the visa but before being admitted to the United States, you will be subject to exclusion from the United States. If you have questions about your particular situation, please contact us.

Please read Form OF-237 (Statement of Marriageable Age Applicant) (PDF, 19 Kb).

What happens if the petitioner dies before the principal beneficiary has immigrated to the United States?

If the petitioner dies before the principal beneficiary has immigrated to the United States, the petition is automatically revoked pursuant to 8 CFR 205.1(a)(3). This means that the consular officer will not be able to issue a visa to any of the beneficiaries of the petition and will be required to return the petition to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

If there are compelling humanitarian circumstances, the consular officer may recommend that DHS reinstate the petition. Alternatively, the applicant may contact directly the DHS office that approved the petition to request that it be reinstated for humanitarian reasons. If DHS reinstates the petition, the consular officer will contact the applicant(s) soon thereafter.

Please see 9 FAM 42.42 PN2 (PDF, 23 Kb) for more information on humanitarian reinstatement.

What happens if the petitioner dies after the principal beneficiary has immigrated to the United States?

Eligibility of derivative applicants seeking to follow to join a principal beneficiary who has already acquired legal permanent resident status is dependent on the continuing legal permanent resident status of the principal, not on the status of the petitioner. Therefore, if the petitioner dies after the principal applicant has already become a legal permanent resident and one or more derivative applicants seek to follow to join the principal applicant, the derivatives retain eligibility to follow to join despite the death of the petitioner. Please see 8 CFR 213a.2(f) for information concerning the Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act) requirement in such circumstances.

What happens to the derivative beneficiary's case if the principal beneficiary dies?

If the principal beneficiary dies at any time before the derivative beneficiary immigrates to the United States, the consular officer will not be able to issue a visa to the derivative beneficiary.  Humanitarian reinstatement does not apply in such a case, though humanitarian parole may be an option.  Please see 9 FAM 42.1 N4 (PDF, 149 Kb) for more information on humanitarian parole.

Where can I get information about adoption?

A good resource for adoption information is our Adoption Page for the Dominican Republic. The Flyer contains general information related to the visa aspects of adoption as well as information tailored specifically to adoption in the Dominican Republic.

What about military service once I arrive in the United States?

If you are a man and are between 18 and 26 years old when you enter the United States, you must register with the U.S. Selective Service System within 30 days after you enter the United States. If you are required to register, do so promptly. You cannot register after you reach age 26. Registration is for conscription into military service in an emergency mobilization of the armed forces. There is no conscription at this time.

To register, go to the nearest United States Post Office, obtain a registration form, fill in the information requested and hand the completed form to the postal clerk. Within 90 days, you should receive a Registration Acknowledgement postcard from Selective Service. If you do not hear from Selective Service within this period, it is important that you contact Selective Service to verify your registration status. Alternatively, you may register online. You may also verify your registration status online.

On the day of your immigrant visa appointment, you will be required to sign Form DS-1810 (Notice of Duty to Register with U.S. Selective Service System) (PDF, 33 Kb) acknowledging that you understand your obligation to register with Selective Service.

Legal permanent residents, male or female, may join the U.S. military as enlisted personnel. For more information please contact:

My visa was refused. Why did this happen and what do I do now?

U.S. consular officers are only allowed to issue immigrant visas to those applicants who qualify under the law. A visa can be refused for a variety of reasons. For example, your immigrant visa could be denied if you have a criminal record, if you lie during your visa interview, if you lived in the United States without permission, or if your economic documents are insufficient. There are many other possible reasons that a visa can be refused. Please see 9 FAM 40.6 Exhibit I  (PDF, 197 Kb) for an abridged list of ineligibilities (i.e., reasons your visa may be refused).

Some immigrant visa refusals may be overcome with additional evidence (for example, 212(a)(4) - public charge), some refusals require a waiver from the Department of Homeland Security (for example, 212(a)(9)(B) - unlawful presence) before a visa can be issued, and some refusals are absolutely permanent (for example, 212(a)(2)(C) - controlled substance trafficker).

On the day of your immigrant visa appointment, the consular officer will interview you and either will approve your visa or deny it. If the consular officer approves your visa, the visa package will be mailed to you via a courier service. If the visa is refused, the consular officer will give you a refusal letter listing the section of law under which your visa was refused. The letter will also give you detailed instructions on what to do next. It is very important that you follow the instructions exactly. If you don’t follow the instructions, you can be sure that your case will be delayed, and it is possible that you will lose your chance to live and work in the United States. Please contact us if you do not understand the instructions in the letter. We will be glad to answer your questions.

Despite what some people might tell you, luck has nothing to do with whether you receive an immigrant visa or not. Consular officers base their decisions solely on the law, regulations and Department of State policy. If you come to the Immigrant Visa Unit prepared and follow the consular officer’s directions completely, you will be much more likely to receive your immigrant visa.

A word of caution -- Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) contains the following warning:

“The Department of Homeland Security investigates claimed relationships and verifies the validity of documents. The Department of Homeland Security seeks criminal prosecutions when family relationships are falsified to obtain visas. Penalties: You may, by law be imprisoned for not more than five years, or fined $250,000, or both, for entering into a marriage contract for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws and you may be fined up to $10,000 or imprisoned up to five years or both, for knowingly and willfully falsifying or concealing a material fact or using any false document in submitting this petition.”

What is a waiver and how do I get one?

A waiver is a special authorization granted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to put aside an ineligibility. As explained in the answer to "My visa was refused.  Why did this happen and what do I do now?", some refusals require a waiver before a visa can be issued. Some frequently seen refusals at the Immigrant Visa Unit in Santo Domingo that require waivers are 212(a)(6)(C)(i) (misrepresentation) and 212(a)(9)(B) (unlawful presence).

For detailed information about the waiver process please visit the web page of the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The consular officer told me my visa was issued.  Will I receive it on the same day of my visa interview?

The Immigrant Visa (IV) Unit utilizes a courier service to deliver visas and documents to issued applicants.  The process is simple: once your visa has been approved, the officer will give you a ticket that you must take to the designated courier service located in the IV waiting room.  There you will pay either $9.50 or $12.50 USD (or the equivalent in Dominican pesos) depending where you live in the Dominican Republic.  Your documents will be delivered to your home (or other address of your choice, such as where you work) in approximately two to three days after the IV Unit gives the visa/documents to the courier service.  Processing time may be longer during times of peak volume, when they may take 2-3 weeks or longer.  We are unable to guarantee issuance or delivery of visas within a given time frame, however, we strongly recommend that you NOT make non-refundable flight arrangements or other travel plans until you actually receive your visa.  Once you receive your documents, you may open the courier service envelope, DO NOT open the visa package envelope that is to be given to the port of entry immigration officer.  If you need to track your package, please contact the courier service at 809-616-6633.  Please remember to bring at least $12.50 to pay for the service on the day of your scheduled appointment.  Finally, please note that this service is mandatory for all issued IV applicants.

The consular officer suggested DNA testing. What is that?

Please read our Genetic Testing Information Sheet and consult the list of laboratories accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB).

Please see 9 FAM 42.41 PN4 (PDF, 71 Kb) for more information concerning genetic testing.

Why do you have to take my fingerprints, and how much does it cost?

We are required to fingerprint visa applicants to protect your identity. As part of this check, we routinely take electronic fingerprints of all ten fingers of our applicants age 14 and older on the day of the visa interview. There is no additional charge for this service.

Additional Fingerprint FAQs

  • Is the Consulate going to put ink on my fingers?

    No.  The fingerprinting is done electronically.

  • I have a growth on my finger.  Is this a problem?

    If you have a permanent, abnormal condition that will hinder us from taking a high-quality print, such as a growth on the finger, you need to bring a statement from a doctor attesting to the permanency of the condition.  For IV applicants, the condition must be addressed in the medical exam performed by the Consulate’s panel physician (Consultorio de Visas, Clinica Abreu, Santo Domingo).

  • This morning when I was preparing breakfast I accidentally cut one of my fingers with a knife.  My visa appointment is tomorrow.  What do I do?

    You may still appear for your visa interview.  If you have a cut or a boil or any other temporary condition on a finger, your case will be pended by the interviewing Officer and you will be told to return when the condition is healed and the finger can be printed.

  • I have long acrylic nails.  Is that ok?

    If our equipment is not able to capture a high-quality print you will be asked to pass to the restroom and remove your acrylic nails.  Or, your case will be pended and you may come back another day so acceptable prints can be taken.

I was arrested in the past. What should I do?

If you have ever been arrested for any reason, at any time and in any country, you must tell the consular officer during your immigrant visa interview. Question 31 of Form DS-230 (Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration) (PDF, 175 Kb) and question 38 of Form DS-156 (Nonimmigrant Visa Application) ask you whether you have ever been arrested. You must answer these questions truthfully, and you must explain the details of your situation.

Bring to your visa interview all documentation concerning any and all arrests, even if the charges were dropped or you were acquitted, pardoned or given amnesty. In addition, you must provide a copy of the statute under which you were arrested and a translation of the statute into English. The consular officer will review the evidence and make a decision as to whether or not you are eligible for a visa.

What is a fiancé(e) (K-1) visa?

A fiancé(e) visa (or K-1 visa) is technically a nonimmigrant visa. Because the process is similar to that of an immigrant visa, however, the Immigrant Visa Unit of the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo handles fiancé(e) visas. The fiancé(e) visa is for foreigners who wish to marry a U.S. citizen in the United States and then become legal permanent residents without having to leave the United States. K-2 visas are for the children of K-1 applicants.

How do I obtain a fiancé(e) (K-1) visa?

Your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) must file a Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)) by mail at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Service Center in the United States with jurisdiction over your fiance(e)’s place of residence. If your fiancé(e) is living outside of the United States, he or she must file the petition by mail at the USCIS Service Center in the United States with jurisdiction over his or her place of last residence in the United States. Once your fiancé(e) has filed a petition for you, you may check its status by accessing the USCIS Case Status Search Page.

USCIS forwards the approved petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, which then sends it to the Immigrant Visa Unit of the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo. The Immigrant Visa Unit will send you a Package of Instructions for K-1/K-2 applicants.

Please follow the instructions exactly. Failure to do so could result in a delay in your case and could even cause you to lose your chance to live and work in the United States.

The consular officer cannot decide whether or not to issue you a visa until you formally apply and are interviewed. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you NOT make non-refundable flight arrangements or other travel plans until and unless you actually receive your visa.

You have ninety (90) days from entry into the United States in which to marry your U.S. citizen fiancé(e). After your marriage takes place in the United States, you and your U.S. citizen spouse must contact USCIS to change your status to that of legal permanent resident. The change of status is NOT automatic.

What is a fiance(e) (K-3) visa?

A K-3 visa is technically a nonimmigrant visa. Because the process is similar to that of an immigrant visa, however, the Immigrant Visa Unit of the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo handles K-3 visas. The K-3 visa is for spouses of U.S. citizens where a Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) has been filed but has not yet been approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security or has been approved by USCIS but has not yet been received by the Immigrant Visa Unit. This type of visa allows the holder to travel to the United States and then become a legal permanent resident via adjustment of status. K-4 visas are for the children of K-3 applicants.

How do I obtain a fiance(e) (K-3) visa?

Your U.S. citizen spouse must file a Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) by mail at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Service Center in the United States with jurisdiction over your spouse’s place of residence. Your spouse will then receive a Form I-797 (Notice of Action) stating that the Form I-130 has been received by USCIS. Your spouse must send a Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)) and the Form I-797 with the appropriate fee to the following address:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
PO Box 7218
Chicago IL 60680-7218

Once your spouse has filed a petition for you, you may check its status by accessing the USCIS Case Status Search Page.

USCIS forwards the approved Form I-129F to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, which then sends it to the Immigrant Visa Unit of the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo. The Immigrant Visa Unit will send you a Package of Instructions for K-3/K-4 Applicants.

Please follow the instructions exactly. Failure to do so could result in a delay in your case and could even cause you to lose your chance to live and work in the United States.

The consular officer cannot decide whether or not to issue you a visa until you formally apply and are interviewed. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you NOT make non-refundable flight arrangements or other travel plans until and unless you actually receive your visa.

Once you enter the United States on a K-3 visa, you and your U.S. citizen spouse must contact USCIS to change your status to that of legal permanent resident. The change of status is NOT automatic.

Important note: The law generally requires that a K-3 visa for an applicant who married a U.S. citizen outside the United States be issued by a consular officer in the foreign state in which the marriage occurred.

I think I am a legal permanent resident, but I have been out of the United States for one year or longer. I want to return to live in the United States. What do I do?

It is possible that you may qualify for returning resident status.  Returning resident status is for an alien who meets the following requirements:

  • was a lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United States at the time of departure;

  • at the time of departure, had the intention of returning to the United States;

  • while residing abroad, did not abandon the intention of returning to the United States; and

  • is returning from a temporary residence abroad; or if the stay was protracted, this was caused by reasons beyond his or her control.

To apply for returning resident status, you must call our Visa Information Center to make an appointment with the Immigrant Visa Unit and explain your situation to a consular officer.

Please see 9 FAM 42.22 (PDF, 176 Kb) for more information concerning returning resident policy.

Note that if you have been out of the United States for less than one year and have lost your permanent resident card (often called a “green card”)/your green card has expired, you must instead start by calling 809-567-7775 x6608 any Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 8:00 am and 10:00 am to make an appointment with the Santo Domingo Sub Office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  On the day of your appointment, you will have the opportunity to explain your situation to a USCIS employee.

In which currency must I pay any required fees at the Immigrant Visa Unit, U.S. dollars or Dominican pesos?

The choice is yours. The Consular Section cashier accepts either U.S. dollars or Dominican pesos.  However, the payment must be in one currency (i.e., you must pay the total entirely in U.S. dollars or entirely in Dominican pesos). We accept cash or international credit cards. (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Novus/Discover and all Visa or MasterCard prepaid cards.  The exchange rate we offer, which changes periodically, is currently RD$39.00 pesos to the dollar. Please be advised that you should only pay money to the Consular Section cashier, regardless of what anyone else may tell you. The Consular Section cashier will issue you a receipt showing how much you paid and what services you paid for. Make sure you receive and keep your receipt.

Please keep in mind that the US$160 nonimmigrant visa fees and the US$15 service fee for the official verification of your personal records, must be paid at any branch of Banco Popular.  These fees cannot be paid at the Consular Section.

I still have immigrant visa questions. How can I find more information?

If you still have questions, please feel free to contact the Immigrant Visa Unit.

The best way to reach us is by dialing our Visa Information Center. Persons in the Dominican Republic must purchase a personal identification number (PIN) at any Banco Popular branch (either the equivalent of US$5.25 in Dominican pesos for five minutes, or the equivalent of US$16.00 in Dominican pesos for 15 minutes). The PIN will become active 24 hours after you purchase it. Then call 1-809-200-3232. Persons in the United States must call 1-877-804-5402, and the call will be charged to their credit card (Visa or MasterCard).  The charge when calling from the United States is approximately US$8.00 per call, regardless of the duration of the call.  The Center is staffed with operators Monday through Friday (including most U.S. and Dominican holidays) from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. local time.

If you wish to write to us, please read our mailing instructions. Keep in mind that we are unable to respond to letters requesting case status. To learn the status of your case, please contact our Visa Information Center, following the steps in the previous paragraph.

You may obtain general, recorded information free of charge by dialing 1-809-567-7775. Normal long distance charges apply when calling from outside the Santo Domingo area.

I have feedback to share concerning the immigrant visa process.  How do I submit my comments to your office?

The Immigrant Visa Unit welcomes your comments, complaints, compliments and suggestions concerning any and all aspects of the immigrant visa process, including the treatment you receive from our employees.  The best way to send us your feedback is by writing to us.  To write to us, please see our mailing instructions.

I received my immigrant visa and am about to move to the United States.  Where can I get more information about living in the United States?

Please see Welcome to the United States:  A Guide for New Immigrants (PDF, 1,595 Kb).  This booklet, produced by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, contains a wealth of information on topics such as registering your child for school, maintaining your immigrant status, finding a job and becoming a U.S. citizen.

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