Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Difficulty of Getting a Haitian Passport

A Haitian passport can be very difficult to procure. We have a patient, 16-year-old Ronald, who has been accepted for heart surgery in the United States. Ronald is very sick and getting sicker each day.

Ronald was accepted by the hospital two months ago. His American advocate hears various excuses when she attempts to get his passport in Port-au-Prince. Or she is told to come back another day and the passport will be ready, and then it isn't. We have heard that Haiti is out of the blue books that are used to make the passports.

When we were waiting in Haiti for our son's adoption papers--and at least this wasn't a matter of life and death--one of the things we needed was a particular agency's stamp. For weeks we were told that the stamp was broken and a new one was on order from Germany.

Excuses like "we are out of blue books" or "the stamp is coming from Germany" are hard to believe. It's difficult to know whether we're dealing with bureaucratic incompetence or bureaucratic lying.

In Haiti, we've noticed a lack of urgency about situations that are considered crises in the United States (like children dying). Perhaps this is because it happens too often.

We hope Ronald gets his passport soon.


Anonymous said...

What is actually required for a Haitian to get a passport to leave Haiti? I have been there 3 times and know a kid who would like to get out and come to the US. I don't even know the process of what to tell him on how he can even begin to obtain a passport and then a visa.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know the same.