Currently, Aruba has become a good place to seek international protection by Venezuelans and Colombians mainly. This fact is attributed to the fact that this beautiful Caribbean island provides multiple benefits during the application process, such as education, work permits and access to public health.
Statistics show that until 2015, approximately 33,000 foreigners lived in Aruba, both as refugees and with special residence permits. However, since 2018 the registries are headed by citizens from Venezuela and Colombia. Keep reading and discover the steps to follow to find help in this impressive country.
First considerations to apply for asylum in Aruba
In the first place, it is important to consider that for the migration system of the Aruban territory a person has the right to request asylum as long as they have suffered persecution, discrimination or violence in their country of origin. This means that abandonment due to personal or economic reasons is not a reason to start the international protection process.
Second, that any type of assistance in Aruba must be done at its points of entry (ports or airport) or within the nation. Only in this way will the government allow the respective registration to be completed and continue the case, in accordance with the provisions of its asylum laws.
Procedure for making the request for protection
The steps to follow to apply for asylum in Aruba, once you are in the territory or points of entry, are:
Step 1. make request
Citizens who are at the entry points of the Caribbean island can announce to immigration officials the desire to request asylum, so that they capture the data and travel or identification documents. Later, this information will be sent to the Department of Integration, Management and Admission of Foreigners (DIMAS), who will indicate electronically the steps to follow.
However, regular people who are located within Aruba must apply by scheduling an appointment on the DIMAS portal. Under no other method can this meeting be scheduled, so you should not go to the offices of the department if you do not have the respective confirmation email.
For their part, newborn babies and older adults (from 65 years of age) can present themselves at DIMAS without such an appointment. There, the officials will give them the necessary advice to be attended.
Step 2. Online dating
To obtain the appointment, you must enter the DIMAS portal, which is: https://www.dimasaruba.aw/, During office hours. It should be noted that the portal language is Dutch by default, since Aruba is an island located in the Caribbean Sea, but it belongs to the Netherlands. However, you have the option to switch to Spanish and English.
When requesting the appointment online, try to be in a quiet space and with identification documents. In this way, you will avoid mistakes that are crucial for the start of the process. Then the steps to follow are:
- At the bottom of the portal you will find and click on the button called “Protection Appointment”, where a list of instructions for requesting said appointment will be displayed. But on the back is the “Protection (AAT)” option, which you need to press.
- When you press “Protection (AAT)” the months of the year will appear and you must select one of them. It is important to consider that those that have been written in red letters indicate that they are the busiest.
- After defining the month of the year, you will be able to see the available dates and times in green. Try to make it a day you can actually attend so you don’t reschedule.
- When selecting the date, a form will be generated, in which you will complete the record with data and information of interest to DIMAS. This questionnaire is only available in English and when you send it, you will automatically receive confirmation of the appointment to your email.
Step 3. asylum appointment
This appointment is basically to complete the registration of the request for international protection. Therefore, you will be attended by an official, to whom you must express the reasons for the asylum request in Aruba and deliver the following elements:
- Printed mail with the confirmation of the appointment.
- Photography white background.
- Original identification documents and copies.
- Supports of the facts that merited the request for asylum in Aruba.
At the end of the reception of documents and supports, they will grant you the registration letter that is mandatory to advance in the process. With this paper you must go to DIMAS in the period indicated as a kind of control, until the day of the interview.
Step 4. Interview
For the interview you must wait for notification from DIMAS by email, by phone or directly one day after the registration document is sealed. In this meeting you must indicate to the officer the explicit reasons why you want asylum in Aruba, in detail and chronologically.
Both the day of the appointment and the interview you can go with your spouse as long as there are documents that support the legal union. The non-existence of marriage or cohabitation certificates implies independent application records.
Step #5. Decision of the procedure
The possible resolution options are: subsidiary protection or denial of international protection. The first case means that the person is recognized as a refugee and, therefore, has the right to remain in the country and fully develop with his or her family. In the second scenario, the petitioner has to leave Aruba as soon as possible.
Benefits for asylum seekers
The main benefit for applicants is to be able to access a work permit, since it is independent of the asylum process. To do this, you must find a job offer and specify it, so that the employer manages, before the competent bodies, an authorization for professional performance.
Regarding public health, foreigners can contact professionals through 730-7770 or visit the HIAS center directly. Many of the services are free, such as primary care and child psychology; however, specialties such as gynecology and obstetrics have costs around AWG 2,000 (Aruban florin). It all depends on whether or not the person has AZV insurance.
For their part, children have an education, since the government and DIMAS work in terms of children’s academic training. However, places in public schools are limited, so parents must follow up months before the start of classes (August), when children can take their mandatory Dutch language course. For more information call +297 521 2300 or +297 523 1800.
Rights and duties during the resolution of the procedure
In summary, the rights and duties of asylum seekers in Aruba are:
|Remain in the country without being expelled, even if the entry was illegal.||Respect the different laws and authorities of the country.|
|Primary education, even though the children do not have legal documents.||Provide information you will see at the time requested by DIMAS.|
|Work permit, through the management of the employer.||Do not leave the country until the final resolution of the case is generated.|
|Rent homes without any type of discrimination or high costs due to the lack of Aruban documents.||Keep the authorities informed of your contact details.|
|Free primary health and special care without AZV insurance.||Go to DIMAS to seal the registration document.|
In addition to the aforementioned benefits, the beautiful beaches and landscapes that Aruba has can also be mentioned. Undoubtedly one of the most impressive tourist places in the Caribbean Sea, which are a source of inspiration for those who need to settle in a new territory.