A visa can cost up to US$600 – Buscones enter the Dominican visa business

As soon as 24 hours have passed since the publication of a Listin Diario investigation that exposed millionaire amounts managed at “discretion” in Dominican consulates in Haiti, when there were already at least 40 reactions from Haitian citizens, who used the media’s social networks as a broadcast channel to complain about the problem.

Most agreed on something: what they are charged for a visa to cross to Dominican soil it is “an abuse” and it is risky, since at the end of the day they hand over their passport to a “travel agency” or simple “buscones” without being sure that they will not be scammed.

After the wave of reactions we interviewed three people. This type of “agencies”, as Haitian citizen Richard Senecal told this newspaper, consist of people they have to turn to in order to obtain a visa, since currently “You can’t go to consulates.”

Richard explained that these people “get into the business of giving visas to other Haitians”, taking their passports and charging about 370 dollars for the service. However, this rate may vary depending on the “agency” they go to.

Then the only thing left is to wait. “You can wait a month, two months and some people never get it, some people risk the passport in the process,” he stated.

A curious fact of the entire process through these third parties is that in the end it is not known with certainty In which consulate will the application be processed? For example, he explained that you can hire an “agency” in Port-au-Prince, but at the end of the day when they return your passport, you see that it was issued in Juana Méndez, because these people “go where they have the contacts.”

The investigation showed that the prices to obtain a Dominican visa range from 85 and 250 US dollarsaccording to information provided by the different consulates in Haiti.

However, the situation is different on the other side of the border for Haitians. They denounced that they come to pay up to 600 dollars for a visa.

“I got my first visa for $230 when I was a minor from the same agency as when I got it the second time. When I came back for the second one I paid $250. It was easy, I waited like 15 days but since last year it became unstable, between $400 and $600”, recounted a young Haitian woman who asked not to be identified.

The young woman said that at the end of the day it is easier to do the paperwork via an “agency” than to go to the Dominican consulates. Like her fellow countrymen, she also does not understand “why or how” they are charged these exorbitant amounts for a one-year visa. “I’m tired, this fraud must be stopped”ended.

Markendy Michel, contacted via Facebook, added that all “the ambassadors (consuls) have people on the street (buscones) to get the passport for 400 or 450 dollars.”

He added that he wants to know “why the Dominican Government said that the price of the fixed visa is 200 dollars and we have to pay 400 dollars for the Dominican visa. The Dominican visa is more expensive than an American visa”.

Jose Rosemond commented on Twitter that “the Dominican visa is the product that is most in demand now in Haiti since many seek it to transit or go to the Dominican Republic, South America and Turkey.” He took the opportunity to denounce that “in all consulates, without exception, there is this chain of binational corruption.”

Michael Nitho joined the complaints via Facebook saying: “We pay between 420 to 500 dollars for a visa! That money is divided between the consul and those who put in to receive the passport (…) It is an abuse”.

The Foreign Ministry regulations establish that Dominican consulates, without exception, must set the price of each visa at US$40 for tourism, simple business and multiple dependency visas; at US$50 for those of residence and multiple businesses, and at US$60 for those of business for work purposes.

However, it became clear that these rates are far from being the reality in Haiti.

Managed 80 million dollars

five consulates

Last Monday it was revealed by Listín Diario that between 2015 and 2020 at least 79.5 million dollars, DR$3.7 billion Taking into account the exchange rate of the years studied, they were collected by the five Dominican consulates in Haiti for issuing visas.

sum of which only 11.6 million dollars entered the coffers of the Dominican State, According to certifications from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mirex), this is equivalent to 20% of all the money collected by the consular missions in Port-au-Prince, Juana Méndez, Anse-A-Pitre, Belladere and Cap Haitien.

Mirex received US$4,232,850.00 from the Port-au-Prince consulate, which represents only 24% of the income for this concept.

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