How to request asylum in the Dominican Republic?

Any foreigner in the Dominican Republic that has a well-founded fear of suffering harm against their life, integrity, or safety in their country of origin has a right to present an asylum request before the dominican asylum System. This application must be presented within the first 15 days after arrival to the country.

The National Office for Refugees (ONR) is responsible for receiving applications for request of asylum. All the possible documents to support the asylum request should be submitted through them. UNHCR can provide free legal counselling regarding your asylum application, and provide support throughout the process.

The National Commission for Refugees (CONARE) is the interinstitutional authority responsible of determining who can benefit from a refugee status. They must evaluate the applications objectively and without discrimination, and give a positive or negative response to the request.

Requirements to request for asylum in the Dominican Republic:

  1. Be present in the Dominican Republic: you can inform the authorities about your intention to request asylum in airports, ports, and borders. This application must be submitted within the first 15 days after arrival to the country.
  • Gather all possible supporting documents: including:
  1. Passport or national identity document. If you don’t have a document you can do a sworn declaration before the National Refugee Office (ONR);
  2. Medical certificate, that states whether the requesting person has any infectious disease
  3. Four (4) 2x2inch passport photos, and two (2) side profile potos
  4. Written testimony explaining why you can’t return to your country of origin; and
  5. Any relevant available document that supports your request (photos, certificates, videos, reports, etc.)
  • Go to the National Refugee Office (ONR), located at Malecón Center, Avenida George Washington No. 662, First Floor, and bring the documents aforementioned in section 2.
  • Complete a form at the ONR: by submitting this form with the required documents, you formalize your asylum request
  • Interview with ONR: people requesting a refugee status attend an interview in which you will be asked about the events that led you to flee your country of origin. All the information shared during the interview is completely confidential, and what you say will not be shared externally, or with authorities in your country of origino r where you were persecuted. It’s very important that during the interview the person requesting asylum shares openly and orderly the events that led to abandon their country of origin, and to explain thoroughly their fear of returning to their country. At the end of the interview, the person requesting asylum must sign a transcription of the interview to attest that they have completed their deposition.
  • Evidence of the application for refugee status: An evidence document will be handed to the person requesting asylum that allows them to remain in Dominican territory until a decision is finalized regarding their request. This document guarantees temporary regular stay while the authorities analyze your case. This document protects the person from deportation to the country where their life is in danger. The evidence document is free of charge and will be provided to all people, including children. It is mandatory to carry it at all times, and renew at ONR every 30 days.
  • ONR will refer the application with the information compiled during the interview to CONARE, for evaluation and decision purposes on the case.

It is important to highlight that the person requesting the asylum that carries this document is not authorized to engage in paid work.

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