US Embassy in Cuba restarts interviews for immigrant visas

The US embassy in Cuba resumed this Thursday the interviews in its consular section as part of the reactivation of the process of granting immigrant visassomething that has not happened since 2017.

The appointments were originally scheduled for January 4, 2023 —January 2 and 3 are holidays in Cuba for the anniversary of the triumph of the revolution in 1959—, but the US legation in Havana decided to move the date to this Thursday.

the original ad made at the beginning of November, after a meeting in the island capital between the Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Rena Bitter, the director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ur Mendoza Jaddou, and the Cuban Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs , Carlos Fernandez de Cossio.

Months earlier, Washington explained that the visas provide those eligible to apply for them with a “safe and orderly” path of migration.

This change will also eliminate the need for Cubans applying for immigrant visas in family preference categories to travel out of Cuba to Georgetown, Guyana, for their interviews.

In parallel, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is increasing its staff in Havana to process cases “effectively and efficiently” and conduct interviews.

US Embassy in Havana announces visa appointments for immediate family members of US citizens

On September 1, the United States embassy in Cuba began processing pending applications for the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program (CFRP), suspended since 2017.

The program was initially launched in 2007 under the mandate of President George W. Bush (2001-2009) and provides a legal path for Americans and legal residents in the US to claim their family member within Cuban territory. However, it was suspended ten years later by the Donald Trump Administration (2017-2021).

The island and the US have shown some signs of rapprochement in recent months, especially to deal with immigration issues. The Government of Cuba has reiterated that these are steps in the right direction, although it considers that they are “insufficient”.

The restart of visa procedures takes place in the midst of an unprecedented migratory exodus to the US. In the recently concluded fiscal year 2022, a total of 224,607 Cubans arrived at the southern border of the North American country.

Likewise, since last October 1, the date on which the current fiscal year began, more than 3,000 islanders have been detained in the waters of the Straits of Florida, a figure that reaches half of the arrests for the same reason that occurred throughout the previous fiscal year (6,182).

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