frequently asked questions

Check out some of the most common questions

The processing times may take anywhere between six to eight months for minor children and six to seven years for those who are 21 and older. A permanent resident can petition his/her children as long as the children are not married, and, in turn, such children can come with their own children as long as they too are not 21 years of age and unmarried.

Permanent residents can petition their spouses, stepchildren and their minor or older children as long as they are not married.

There are various requirements that need to be met for this type of visa, and while each case is different, we attend to it according to the required needs. For more information about this process, schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

An American citizen may petition both minor and older children regardless of their marital status, as well as their parents, siblings with their children (as long as the children are minor and single), and his/her boyfriend/girlfriend.

The K1 Visa takes six to eight months to process.

The viable way to study in the United States is through a student visa. For more information about this process, schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

You can request it immediately. We help you with the travel permit. For more information about this process, schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

The priority date is the date on which the immigration service receives a case. This date is very important because according to your priority date, you will be able to know when you will be granted residency.

A residency visa is a document issued by a United States consular officer abroad that allows you to travel to the United States and apply for admission as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). A United States Customs and Border Protection immigration inspector from the Department of Homeland Security will make the final decision about your admission as an LPR. As soon as you are admitted as LPR, you generally have the right to live and work in the United States permanently. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security will send your permanent resident card (commonly called a “Green card”) to your new address in the United States, normally within three months of entering the United States.

Getting a residence visa usually means that you will be able to live and work in the United States for as long as you want. A non-immigrant visa, on the other hand, is generally for a short period of visit to the United States. You cannot stay in the United States permanently on a nonimmigrant visa, and you generally cannot work. A non-immigrant visa is sometimes informally called a “travel visa” but it can also be issued for other reasons, such as medical treatment, business, or study.

There are three basic methods of obtaining a residence visa:

1) through a family relationship with an American citizen or legal permanent resident,

2) through an employment contract, or

3) through the Residence Visa Diversity Program (visa raffle).

Most applicants in the Dominican Republic obtain their resident visas through a relative.

The first step in obtaining a residence visa based on a family relationship is for your relative (the petitioner) to submit Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Your relative should generally submit the petition by mail to the USCIS Service Center in the United States that has jurisdiction over her place of residence. Once your family member has filed a petition on her behalf, you can check the status through the USCIS Case Status Search Page.

When the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office of the Department of Homeland Security approves a petition for a residency visa, the USCIS sends the approved petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Note that the very few petitions that are approved by the Department of Homeland Security in Santo Domingo are sent to the Resident Visa Unit of the United States Embassy in Santo Domingo without first going through the NVC.

You can contact the National Visa Center at this website:

If you received your Resident Visa Applicant Appointment Packet, K3 / K-4 Visa Applicant Instructions Packet, or K-1 / K-2 Visa Applicant Instructions Packet, please follow exactly the instructions on the Package. Failure to do so could result in a delay in your application and you could lose the opportunity to live and work in the United States. The consular officer cannot decide whether or not to grant you a residency visa until you formally apply and are interviewed. Therefore, we strongly advise you NOT to purchase non-refundable airline tickets or make other travel plans until you receive
your visa.

In the cases of residence visas based on a family relationship, the main beneficiary of a petition is the person in favor of whom the petition is submitted, that is, the person mentioned on the right side of Form I-130 (Petition for Foreign Family Member). The derivative beneficiary is the spouse or child of the primary beneficiary. A preferred relative case can have many derivatives in addition to the primary beneficiary, and all
beneficiaries (principal and derivatives) share the same petition and the same case number. There are no derivative beneficiaries in immediate relative cases, which means that each applicant must have her own petition and an individual case number.

No. You should eat normally before the medical exam. In addition, if you take any medication, you should continue taking it normally. Please see our Information on Medical Examination and Vaccination and the Visa Clinics website for more information on medical matters.

You and the petitioner must submit Form I-751 (Petition to Remove Conditions of Residence) to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service Center with jurisdiction over your place of residence within the 90-day period prior to the completion of the second anniversary of being granted conditional residency status. If the I-751 is not filed within that period, your conditional permanent resident status will be automatically terminated and you will be subject to deportation from the United States.

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

Yes. If Form I-864 (Declaration of Support Under Section 213A of the Act) is a requirement for you, as it is for most applicants for a residence visa in the Dominican Republic, the petitioner must submit an I- 864, otherwise, the consular officer will not be able to issue you a visa. This requirement applies even if the petitioner is not working or earning enough money to support you. In these circumstances, your petitioner may find another guarantor who is willing to file an I-864 for you, or he or she may have a member of your household who is willing to file a Form I-864A (Contract Between the Surety and the House Member).

Remember that each I-864 and I-864A must be accompanied by evidence proving that the submitter is a US citizen or legal permanent resident, and the most recent US tax return regarding when the I-864 or I- 864A was signed. If the petitioner is not working, he or she will need to report this on the I-864.

If the person has not filed a US tax return, regardless of the reason, he or she must explain the reason in writing. It may be convenient for the petitioner to use our Non-Tax Declaration (PDF 31 Kb) for this purpose. 

No. There is no requirement that you be a lawful permanent resident. However, for the  child to qualify as the stepchild of her husband, the consular officer must be satisfied that her marriage is legitimate for immigration purposes. The most direct way for the consular officer to know that the marital relationship is valid is if the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security has adjusted your immigration status to that of a lawful permanent resident. If you are not yet a lawful permanent resident, the consular officer may request other evidence (for
example, joint rental agreement, account statements, phone bills, photos, etc.). You and your spouse may even be invited to the Consular Section for an interview with a consular officer.

If you receive a residency visa under a category that requires you to be single, and you marry after receiving your visa, but before being admitted to the United States, you will be subject to exclusion from the United States. To obtain more detailed information about this process and for one of our lawyers to fully analyze your case, fill out our form to attend a totally free consultation.

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

If there are strong humanitarian circumstances, the consular officer may recommend that DHS reinstate the petition. Alternatively, the applicant may contact the DHS office that approved the petition directly to request that it be reinstated for humanitarian reasons. If DHS reinstates the petition, the consular officer will contact the petitioner.

The eligibility of derivative applicants to join the principal beneficiary who has already acquired legal permanent resident status depends on the continuation of the status of the principal’s legal permanent resident, not on the status of the petitioner. Therefore, if the petitioner dies after the principal beneficiary has obtained his permanent legal residence and one or more derivative beneficiaries are attempting to reunite with the principal applicant, the derivatives maintain their eligibility to reunite despite the death of the petitioner.
If the primary beneficiary dies at any time before the derivative beneficiary has immigrated to the United States, the consular officer will not be able to issue the visa to the derivative beneficiaries. The humanitarian reinstatement of the petition does not apply in such a case, although humanitarian parole may be an option.

Consular officers in the United States are authorized to issue residence visas only to those who qualify under the law. A visa can be rejected for different reasons. For example, your residence visa could be rejected if you have a criminal record, if you lie during the interview process, if you have lived in the United States without permission, or if financial documents are not sufficient. There are several other reasons why a visa can be rejected.

On the day of your appointment for a residency visa, the consular officer will interview you and approve your visa or not. Normally, if the consular officer approves your visa, they will send you the package through a private mail service. If the visa is rejected, the consular officer will give you a letter written on green paper, indicating under which section of the law your visa was rejected. 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 do not follow the instructions, you can be sure that your application will be delayed, and you may lose the opportunity to live and work in the United States.

A special permit is an authorization granted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to set aside ineligibility. As explained in the response to “My visa was rejected. What do I do now? ”, Some rejections require special permission before the visa is granted. The most common rejections in the Santo Domingo Residence Visa Unit that require special permits are 212 (a) (6) (C) (i) (false representation) and 212 (a) (9) (B) (illegal presence in the U.S)

The Residence Visa Unit uses a private mail service to deliver visas and documents to applicants who have been granted a visa. The delivery process may take longer than indicated, especially in times of the high volume of requests, where it could take between two to three weeks or more, so we advise you not to make travel plans or buy tickets that cannot be changed until your documents are received. You can open the private mail envelope, but you CANNOT open the visa package envelope that is destined for the immigration officer at the port of entry. If you want to know the location of your package, you can visit us at www.mbe.com.do and choose the option “track my passport”.

We are required to fingerprint all visa applicants to protect their identity. As part of this verification, we routinely e-fingerprint our applicants 14 years of age and older on the day of the interview. There is no additional cost for this service.

No. The Consular Section takes the fingerprints electronically.

You can still go to your visa appointment. If you have a cut or other temporary condition on your finger, your case will be suspended by the US officer who interviews you and you will return another day when your finger has healed and we can take a digital impression.

If the team cannot take a high-quality digital impression, the officer will ask you to go to the bathroom to remove your acrylic nails or, your case will be suspended and you will have to come back another day so that acceptable fingerprints can be taken.

If you have ever been arrested for any reason, at any time and in any country, you should mention it to the consular officer at the time of the interview. Question 31 of Form DS-230 (Application for Alien Registration and Residence Visa) (PDF 73 Kb) and question 38 of Form DS-156 (Application for Non-Immigrant Visa) ask if you were ever arrested. You must answer the questions truthfully and must
explain the details of the situation.

On the day of your visa interview, bring all documentation related to an arrest, even if the charges have been dropped, or you have been acquitted, pardoned, or obtained amnesty. In addition, you must submit a copy of the statute under which you were arrested and an English translation of that statute. The consular officer will review the evidence and make the decision as to whether or not you are eligible for the visa.

You may qualify for returning resident status. The condition of returning resident is for the foreigner who meets all these requirements:
You were a permanent legal resident of the United States at the time of departure, intended, at the time of departure, to return to the United States, did not abandon the intention to return to the United States while residing abroad, and you are returning from a temporary residence abroad; or if the stay was long, that it occurred through no fault of your own.

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

The decision is yours. The cashier of the Consular Section accepts any currency, be it US dollars or Dominican pesos. However, the payment must be in the same currency (that is, the total payment must be made entirely in US dollars or completely in Dominican pesos). We accept cash or credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Novas / Discover, and Visa and/or MasterCard prepaid cards). Please keep in mind that you only have to pay money to the cashier at the Consular Section, regardless of what anyone else tells you. The cashier of the Consular Section will issue you a receipt showing how much you paid for the services. Make sure you receive and save your payment receipt.

If you still have questions, please contact us for more information. 

Please refer to, “ Welcome to the United States of America: A Guide for New Immigrants” (PDF 1,640 Kb). This booklet, produced by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, has a wealth of information on topics such as enrolling your child in school, maintaining your immigration status, finding employment, and becoming a US citizen.