by Ramon E Curiel
After a brief explanation of the terms Embassy, Consulate, Post, Consular Section, and Mission, we were informed that Santo Domingo is the Top 10 consular post in the world to issue Nonimmigrant visas, and second to issue Immigrant Visas. The post issues between 50 to 60,000 immigrant visas per year, and 330,000 nonimmigrant visas, which between 95-98% are B-1/B-2 visas to Citizens of the Dominica Republic. Last month, Santo Domingo was 8th ahead of Bogota. The Dominican Republic has a population of about 10 million. Approximately, the Consular Section states that they had a 65/35% approval/denial rate, and that 98% of the denials were attributable to Section 214(b).
Third Country Nationals: Although there is not a vast number of third country national applicants, Santo Domingo top TCNs go to citizens of China, Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela. There is no residency requirement to apply in Santo Domingo.
Appointments: Appointments are about 2 months out on average in Santo Domino, and it is one of the longest wait times for a Consular Post for visitors’ visas. They prioritize F-1s. Availability of appointments varies constantly. If an appointment is not available for a long time (i.e. 6 months or more), the applicant is advice to take the available appointment, and then attempt to reschedule it should appointments become available later. The Consular Post opens at 6:30 a.m. and they let any person with an appointment at that time. However, applicants are encouraged to come within 30 minutes of their appointment time to avoid waiting for their appointment.
The Application Support Center for biometrics is located at the Galeria 360 Shopping Mall, about 2 miles from the Embassy.
Emergency Appointments: If an applicant has an emergency, they are advised to contact Santodomingovisas@state.gov and state the nature of the emergency and request an emergency appointment.
Interview Process: Generally, the Consular Officers do not review any documents in specific as any document can be easily obtainable in the Dominican Republic. They focus more on general interrogation, nervousness, appearance. The only exception would be when requesting a 212(d)(3) waiver, they need to see conviction documents. The Consular Officer generally will focus on the two aspects of Section 214(b): (1) does the applicant have immigrant intent; and (2) will the applicant use the visa correctly.
E Visa Process: At this time, the applicant makes the appointment, gets interviewed and delivers the application package (no set rules for presentation), the case will be issued a 221(g) note and they will usually receive a decision in 2 weeks. The NIV Chief did state that currently they are not a big post for E visa issuance, but their applications are increasing. Consequently, if the volume increases they may revisit their procedures.
Consular Review of USCIS Approvals: When asked about their review of approved applications, the Santo Domingo Embassy will not re-adjudicate a case, but will look for new information since the time of approval.