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Thursday, December 01, 2022

US begins full immigration visa process in Cuba in January

Venezuelans set up camp on US-Mexico border

The United States will resume full processing of immigrant visas at its consulate in Havana on January 4, suspended since 2017, officials from the two countries announced on Wednesday after meeting in Cuba.

“We are pleased to announce that @USEmbCuba will resume full immigrant visa processing on January 4, 2023,” a tweet from the US Embassy in Havana said.

The announcement is the result of a meeting on Wednesday in the Cuban capital between Cuba’s Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Fernández de Cosio and Rena Bitter, deputy secretary of the Department of Consular Affairs and Ur Mendoza Jaddou, director of the Citizenship and Immigration Services. of the Department of Homeland Security.

According to a statement from the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Fernández de Cosio “reaffirmed his willingness to contribute with the steps necessary for the full operation of the expatriate and consular services of the diplomatic headquarters of the United States of America”.

But he also reiterated the importance of fully resuming consular services, including tourist visa processing at the embassy.

After being suspended in 2017, United States consular services in Havana began to be reactivated in a “gradual” and “limited” manner after the embassy alleged “sonic attacks” that affected the health of diplomats and officials. did.

Since 2017, a large number of Cubans have had to travel to a third country, mainly Guyana, to apply for a visa to the United States, which involves a huge expense for them.

The measure has been announced amid a strong migrant exodus facing the island and its worst economic crisis in 30 years.

A record number of 224,000 Cubans entered the United States irregularly in the last fiscal year, according to data from the US Customs and Border Protection Office in October. A much higher number than last year’s 39,000.

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AFP

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