14ymedio, Havana, 1 September 2022 — The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) reported on Thursday the resumption of the procedures for the Cuban Family Reunification Permit (CFRP) program at its embassy in Havana.
In a statement, the USCIS explains that it will process applications to the program that are pending and that it has already sent notifications to the beneficiaries, but it will not issue “new letters of invitation at this time.” In fact, USCIS started doing interviews on August 18.
The government body warns that the embassy “has limited capacity” and that applicants should not “take any action” without having received an appointment.
The USCIS also warns applicants in its text to have their postal addresses updated. “We will not send you an email or call you to ask for money or the payment of fees,” they reiterate. “Don’t become a victim of an immigration scam.”
The decision to resume the Cuban Family Reunification Program was brought forward at the beginning of last June, when the US Department of Homeland Security explained that the decision was part of the search for “safe and orderly alternatives to irregular migration and its many dangers and indignities.”
The CFRP, established in 2007, “provides a safe and orderly path” to U.S. territory for “Cuban beneficiaries of approved family-based immigrants,” the institution said at the time. The permission granted by this program allows the family member to travel to the United States and go to an immigration authority there to process their residency.
The United States reduced the staff of its embassy in Cuba in 2017, after about thirty of its diplomats suffered mysterious health incidents known as “Havana syndrome,” whose causes haven’t yet been clarified.
Since then, family visa procedures have been carried out at other embassies outside the island, mainly in Georgetown, Guyana, where hundreds of Cubans still have to wait for the resolution of their procedures, not exempt from irregularities.
The United States Consulate in Havana resumed the processing of visas for immigrants on May 3, processing only the IR-5 category. Two months later, it expanded the visa categories and began processing the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, including spouses and children under the age of 21.
Despite this restart of procedures, the US immigration authorities have made it clear on several occasions that the headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana, would continue to be “the main place of processing for most Cuban applicants for immigrant visas.”
Translated by Regina Anavy
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