Haiti to open ID office in the Diaspora

Haitians living in the Diaspora will no longer have to fly to Haiti to get a national identification card, a critical document to obtain a Haitian passport or the ability to vote in the country’s elections, according to reports.

Starting next month, the head of Haiti’s civil registry, the National Identification Office (ONI), will open an office in Haiti’s Miami consulate and other consulates in the Diaspora to register Haitians, according to the Miami Herald.

The paper said approved applicants will be issued a card, valid for 10 years, with an assigned number similar to a Social Security number.

With the registry key in determining who can vote in upcoming elections, ONI’s Executive Director Jean-Baptist Fils St. Cyr said demand at the consulates will also dictate where voting bureaus outside of Haiti will be installed to allow Haitians to vote, the Herald said.

Under Haiti’s revised constitution, nationals living in the Diaspora will now be allowed to vote in future elections.

The logistics of Diaspora voting remains a work in process in Haiti, where there is still no schedule for the country’s legislative and local elections now three years delayed, the Herald said.

“There is a motivation among some people in the Diaspora, when they come to [Haiti] for 15 or 22 days, they rush to our office to get a number,” St. Cyr told reporters at a press conference in Little Haiti Cultural Center, downtown Miami.

“Even though the process is long, they never hesitate,” he added. “So we decided that if you have this kind of determination, why not bring the services to the people living in the Diaspora?”

St. Cyr said that, given Haiti Diaspora’s critical role in the country’s economic development, it is not normal for them to stand outside of the political sphere.

“There are a lot of opportunities people lose because they don’t have any identification,” he said, adding that the expansion of the office out of Haiti has become “a matter of necessity.”

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