About 3,000 Cubans Win the U.S. Visa Lottery, More Than Twice As Many as Last Year

A man poses with his immigration documents in front of the United States Embassy in Havana, Cuba. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 9 August 2023 — No fewer than 3,081 Cubans were selected by the United States in the Visa Lottery for 2024, the draw that takes place every year in that country for immigrants “with low representation.” The number is more than double that of the Cubans awarded in 2022 (1,358), when the Island was also the country that contributed the most winners in Latin America.

In total, the State Department will deliver permanent residency to 143,000 people, including the 55,000 selected, their spouses and their children, as detailed in the latest visa bulletin, published last Friday.

The winners were randomly chosen from more than 22.18 million applications from six regions in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and Latin America.

After Cuba, the countries that contribute the most citizens to the winning list are Ecuador, with 814, and Peru, with 742. In total, the State Department approved petitions from 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, a list that excludes Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Haiti given the high rate of migration.

Those chosen must attend an interview where they will have to present evidence of secondary education or its equivalent, as well as documentation that verifies that they have work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years of training.

The State Department urges those selected to “act quickly,” since they have to complete the entire process before September 30, 2024.

The economic crisis, aggravated in the last two years, has pushed hundreds of Cubans to migrate, mainly to the United States or Spain. The Customs and Border Patrol Office (CBP) records that since the beginning of the fiscal year, in October 2022, 164,475 Cubans with irregular immigration status have been arrested, of which 10,885 were apprehended last June alone.

Of those arrested, 113,044 were adults, 49,973 were family groups, 1,231 unaccompanied minors and 227 accompanied minors.

The United States has several programs for the entry of Cubans into its territory through legal channels, as well as an agreement with the Government in Havana to deport migrants who enter without documents.

The Biden Administration launched the humanitarian parole program last January, and last June announced that it will expand asylum requests for citizens from the Island who are in Mexico. Both projects also cover migrants from Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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