Refugee Application Process

If a person believes he/she meets the eligibility criteria, that person can apply for refugee status through the Havana Refugee Section.

To apply, an individual person must complete a Preliminary Questionnaire (PDF 65 KB), which can be downloaded from this site, or requested in writing.  The written request can be placed in a drop-box located at the gate of the Refugee Section, located at Malecón and J, faxed to (+53) 7839-4317, or mailed to:

Embajada de los Estados Unidos
Sección de Refugiados
Calzada e L y M
Vedado, La Habana

The application steps are as follows:

  1. Submission of Preliminary Questionnaire
    The applicant must submit a completed Preliminary Questionnaire (PDF 65 KB) to the Havana Refugee Section in person, by mail (see address above) or fax (+53) 7839-4317.  The questionnaire must state the refugee applicant’s claim and may include spouse and unmarried children under 21.  Individuals over 21 or married must complete their own preliminary questionnaire.
  2. Receipt of Active Case Letter
    An individual who appears to meet eligibility criteria will be scheduled for a pre-screen interview in the future.  Those who do not qualify will receive a letter informing them that they are not eligible for the program.  Applicants are requested not to call or write to check on the status of their application.  However, they should inform the Refugee Section by telephone of any change in address or telephone number.
  3. Pre-Screen Interview
    When the time has arrived for a pre-screening interview, the applicant will be called or sent a letter asking them to schedule the interview.  The purpose of the pre-screening interview is to determine whether an individual meets eligibility criteria.  Cases that qualify will have a second interview with a United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) officer.
  4. USCIS Interview
    A USCIS officer interviews the applicant(s) and makes a determination of refugee status under Section 101(A)(42) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  For more http://uscis.gov/graphics/lawsregs/INA.htminformation about USCIS interviews, please, see their website.  For information about requests for reconsideration by USCIS, follow this link.
  5. Security Clearance
    Refugee candidates must undergo a security clearance review by U.S. law enforcement agencies.
  6. Departure Documents
    Refugee candidates must obtain the documents from Cuban officials needed to depart Cuba and enter the United States, including a passport and a medical examination certification.
  7. Flight Departure
    Once all security clearances and documents are in order, the Refugee Section will contact the approved refugee to schedule travel.

The Refugee Section will arrange a flight for the refugee(s) from Cuba to the United States. The refugees are required to sign a loan repayment note and pay back transportation costs after arrival in the United States.