14ymedio, Havana, 9 June 2022 — The U.S. Embassy in Cuba continues to expand the categories of immigrant visas that it will process in Havana. On Thursday, it announced that by July, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, including spouses and children under the age of 21, will be able to be interviewed in the island’s capital.
Immediate family visa applicants who will be processed in Cuba must be notified beginning June 9 by the National Visa Center or by the Embassy itself that they “will have their interview scheduled in Havana, and not at the consular headquarters of Georgetown, Guyana,” the legation clarified on its website. Applicants who were informed of their interview before that date “will continue to be processed in Georgetown.”
This expansion of services, “follows the steps taken in May to start the processing of all IR-5 cases, or parents of U.S. citizens, for interviews in Havana,” the Embassy said.
“Preferred family immigrant visas for Cubans will continue to be processed in Georgetown,” the diplomatic headquarters also reported. Within this group are “brothers and children over the age of 21” of U.S. citizens and some relatives of permanent residents.
Regarding the decision to work only with the categories selected so far, they indicate that they recognize “the importance of family reunification for U.S. citizens” and insist that they understand “that other applicants may have difficult circumstances,” but “the Havana Embassy is still unable to accept applications for transfer of other visa categories.”
(1/2) A partir de junio de 2022, el Departamento programará todas las citas de visado de inmigrante en la @USEmbCuba a familiares inmediatos, incluyendo cónyuges e hijos menores de 21 años de ciudadanos de EEUU, con entrevistas por Julio de 2022. Lea más abajo: pic.twitter.com/qYB3ZDHBQL
— Embajada de los Estados Unidos en Cuba (@USEmbCuba) June 9, 2022
Twitter text above: 1/2) Starting in June 2022, the Department will schedule all immigrant visa appointments at @USEmbCuba for immediate relatives, including spouses and children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens, with interviews scheduled for July 2022.
“We will continue to evaluate, as conditions allow, a further expansion of visa services in Havana,” the legation said, while recalling that its consular staff in the Cuban capital “continue to provide essential services to U.S. citizens and the limited processing of emergency visas for non-immigrants.”
The U.S. Embassy in Havana resumed the processing of visas for immigrants on May 3, processing only the IR-5 category.
Both on that occasion and in its announcement this Thursday, the legation insisted that while work continues to expand services on the island, the headquarters in Guyana “will continue to be the main processing place for all Cuban applicants for family preference immigrant visas and cases of immediate relatives who are already scheduled to be processed in Georgetown.”
The resumption of consular processes “is part of a general expansion of the functions of the Embassy to facilitate diplomatic and civil society engagement,” the legation said at the beginning of last month.
The U.S. reduced the staff of its embassy in Cuba in 2017, after about thirty of its diplomats suffered mysterious health incidents known as “Havana syndrome,” and whose causes have not yet been clarified. Since then, Cuban visa applicants have had to travel to a third country to process their documents such as Guyana, where hundreds of island nationals have to wait for the resolutions of their visas, not exempt from irregularities.
Translated by Regina Anavy
COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.