14ymedio, Havana, 10 January 2020 — The Mexican Embassy in Cuba is preparing a new system to apply for visas that will come into force soon, although it has already detailed how it will be done. Online appointments will put an end to the lines, as well as the ’business’ that some make out of the current system, hence the announcement boldly highlights the phrase “Remember that obtaining times and appointments are free.”
The new formula, Citas Cuba (Cuba Appointments), will require entering a page not yet available and the link to which will be provided to a registered user with passport data. The holder must select the procedure that he wishes to perform once he has accessed his space and there he will be assigned a turn from the list that has been digitally created.
The user will receive their turn by email and must appear on the day and time assigned with the documentation required for the procedure and the printed appointment. If they have not received it, they can enter the system and find out when the last appointment was.
In Cuba, the slowness and lack of digitalization of most procedures generates long waiting times and lines. Many people who do not have the time available to lose it in these procedures are willing to pay to save their time, which has resulted in an informal business usually covered by retirees who supplement their low pension selling places in line.
The previous mechanism to obtain a consular appointment at the Mexican embassy was harshly criticized and accused of mishandling. The applicants complained that the online registration did not work and the appointments were sold out a few minutes after each month’s places for interviews were announced.
This created another informal appointment buying system, which cost between 300 and 500 CUC (roughly the same in dollars). The digital classified sites offered the possibility of obtaining “an appointment at the Mexican consulate, without lining up and with guaranteed success.”
Outside consular headquarters, located on 12th at the corner of 7th in Miramar, west of Havana, it was also common to find people who were loitering and offering “a quick appointment for next week,” a phenomenon that was further enhanced when Mexico introduced 10-year visas and multiple entries, much requested by the ’mules’, who travel especially to the Cancun area, with short and cheap flights.
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