This post is also available in: Spanish

On May 23rd of this year, law 169-14 was enacted by Dominican president Danilo Medina. This law put en end to the uncertainty regarding the status and citizenship of tens of thousands of foreigners born in conditions of illegality on Dominican soil, and whose citizenship had been revoked by a previous law enacted last September, which had left them in a sort of identity limbo… This brought many heated debates in national as well as international forums.

So, let’s take a look at the impact this new law will have.

The advantages that this special naturalization act brings to foreigners born illegally on Dominican soil are the following:

1.)  Those born on Dominican territory between the 16th of June 1929 and the 18th of April 2007 to non-resident parents who entered the country legally and are registered in the Dominican Civil Registry as having invalid documents due to the previous law. However they have the right to migrational documentation and even citizenship, meaning they can have their birth certificate drafted into the books of the Dominican Civil Registry and the Central Electoral Board must recognize them as Dominicans.

2.) The people benefiting from the previously mentioned advantage who had been previously been issued a ‘cedula’ (formal ID) will be able to obtain another one with their same former number (if theirs had been invalidated), and those who did not have it before shall have it issued.  

3.) All properly documented civil acts dating from the person’s date of birth will now will be recognized as valid.

4.) For those who were born on Dominican soil, but whose parents have been staying in the country illegally and thus do not appear in the Dominican Civil Registry, although they may have lived here all their life, because they may never have gotten a Birth Certificate due to their parents’ status, these people must be registered in the book for foreigners, referred to in the General Migration Law No. 285-04. This is to make sure their intentions of staying here are true, and to function as a penalty for the illegal entry. All of this can only be possible if reliable evidence of the birth is presented by means set forth in the regulation of the law, something which is still being drafted.

As for the naturalization process, children of foreigners who entered the country illegally will only be able to be naturalized after having first gotten migrational documents as established in the National Plan of Regularization of Foreigners and having spent two years within one of the migratory categories established in the General Migration Law No. 285-041.

Despite providing many advantages for the migrants, this law also helps control and penalize any attempt of false claims over somebody’s migratory situation, be it their own or their parents’. Such claims will be punished with 2-5 years in jail and fines going from 10-20 minimum wage salaries.

The carrying out of the Plan of National Regularization of Foreigners, which means regularizing everybody’s migrational status will continue until May 2015, until then they will continue to evaluate, revise and supervise the accreditation of migrational documents.

This article was contributed by Raisa Tapia of Marat Legal.

Marat Legal

Marat Legal is a boutique law firm, who specialize in the personal treatment of their clients. They offer a wide range of legal services and are proud to be known for their expertise and professionalism.

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The following video is in Spanish, but is a fantastic overview of who Marat Legal is and what they do: