The United States will resume all its services to process immigrant visas in Cuba

US Embassy in Havana (REUTERS / Alexandre Meneghini) (ALEXANDRE MENEGHINI /)

The United States government announced on Wednesday that its embassy in Cuba will resume in early 2023 all its services to process immigrant visas for the first time since 2017.

According to a statement, with this measure, Washington “announces the expansion of the usual routes available to Cubans who want to come to the United States and an increase in the staff of the US embassy” on the island.

The US Government explained that immigrant visas provide people eligible to apply for them a “safe and orderly” migration pathway.

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

In parallel, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are increasing their staff in Havana to process cases “effectively and efficiently” and conduct interviews.

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 US will resume its services to process immigrant visas in Cuba (REUTERS / Amanda Perobelli)
The US will resume its services to process immigrant visas in Cuba (REUTERS / Amanda Perobelli) (AMANDA PEROBELLI /)

The program was initially launched in 2007 under the mandate of President George W. Bush (2001-2009) and provides a legal way for Americans and legal residents in the United States to claim their relative within Cuban territory.

The program it was suspended ten years later by the Donald Trump administration (2017-2021).

In its statement this Wednesday, the Government of Joe Biden explained that these efforts are “a key step” to fulfill the commitment made by the United States under the Migration Agreements with Cuba to guarantee that total legal migration from the island to the territory is a minimum of 20,000 Cubans each year, not including direct relatives of US citizens.

And he pointed out that the State Department continues to evaluate further expanding its visa services in Havana if conditions allow.

Since the arrival of Democrat Joe Biden to the presidency of the United States, the US embassy resumed the issuance of visas for migrants last May after a four-year pause.

In addition, his government suspended the limit of 1,000 dollars per quarter on remittances and authorized group trips to make contact with the Cuban people, known in English as “people to people travel.”

Last June, the embassy extended the processing of visas for immediate relatives.

During his campaign for the 2020 elections, Biden promised to return to the thaw with Cuba started by Barack Obama and reverse many of the sanctions imposed by Trump.

(With information from EFE)

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