Frequently Asked Questions

When will the U.S. Embassy in Havana return to normal operating status?
The Department is required to review the Ordered Departure status at least every 30 days.  In these reviews, the Department weighs a variety of factors to determine if conditions on the ground warrant the lifting of departure status. Until the Government of Cuba can assure the safety of U.S. government personnel in Cuba, our embassy will be reduced to emergency personnel.

How will reduced staffing impact the migration accords agreement between the U.S. and Cuba?
The Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security are currently exploring ways to ensure the United States continues to meet its commitment under the migration accords agreement to issue 20,000 travel documents per year.

Which types of travel documents are included in the Migration Accords?
The goal of 20,000 migration documents per year includes preference immigrant visas, Cuban Family Reunification Parole recipients, refugee cases, family members following to join those that have received asylum, Diversity Visa recipients, recipients of fiancé (K-1/K-2) visas, and spouse and children of Cuban Medical Professional parolees.

Where is the best place for the public to get information?
Information about visa operations at the U.S. Embassy in Havana can be found at cu.usembassy.gov/visas/.  Additional information about applying for a U.S. visa can be found at www.ustraveldocs.com

Will nonimmigrant visa fees be refunded?
Nonimmigrant visa application fees are non-refundable and are not transferrable to another embassy/consulate.  However, fees paid for Havana remain valid and may be used for a visa application in Havana within one year of the date of payment.

If I have already paid for my nonimmigrant visa interview in Havana, but have decided to travel to another country to complete the application process, will I have to pay again?
Yes.  Nonimmigrant visa application fees are not transferrable to another embassy/consulate. 

For applicants who are unable to travel to another country for a visa interview, will they receive a refund?
Nonimmigrant visa application fees are nonrefundable.  However, fees paid for Havana remain valid and may be used for a visa application in Havana within one year of the date of payment.

 

Are applicants attending already-scheduled visa interviews?
No.  The U.S. Embassy in Havana has canceled all previously-scheduled nonimmigrant and immigrant visa interview appointments.  Cuban applicants for U.S. nonimmigrant visas may apply at a different U.S. embassy or consulate.  Please visit www.ustraveldocs.com to schedule an interview.

Can Cuban nationals apply for nonimmigrant visas at U.S. embassies or consulates in other countries?
Yes.  Cuban nationals, like nationals of other countries, may apply for visas at any U.S. embassy or consulate around the world, but must be physically present in that country. Nonimmigrant visa application fees paid in Havana, however, are not transferrable to another embassy or consulate, so the fee must be paid again for the new application.

Will the U.S. Embassy process nonimmigrant visas in emergency situations?
The only nonimmigrant visa applications at the U.S. embassy in Havana will be able to process are those for diplomatic or official (category A or G) visas or extremely rare emergency cases in when the applicant has a life-threatening illness requiring treatment in the United States.  This requires a letter from a physician or medical facility in the United States, stating they are willing to treat your specific ailment and detailing the projected length and cost of treatment (including hospitalization fees, and all medical-related expenses).  If the applicant meets these circumstances, please contact havanaconsularinfo@state.gov in order to make an appointment with U.S. Embassy Havana. 

How do applicants schedule an appointment with a different embassy or consulate?
Please visit www.ustraveldocs.com to schedule an interview.

What if I already paid for a visa interview, will the U.S. Embassy in Havana schedule an nonimmigrant interview for me in a third country?
No, applicants are responsible for rescheduling their own nonimmigrant visa interviews.  Cuban nationals, like nationals of other countries, may apply for visas at our embassies and consulates in other countries around the world.  Please visit www.ustraveldocs.com to schedule an interview.

Will the type of visa change if I apply in a third country?
The visa type will not change depending on where you apply for a U.S. visa.  For more information on which types of visas are available, please visit http://www.ustraveldocs.com/cu/cu-niv-visatypeinfo.asp

Do all members of a group need to travel to a third country for a visa interview or can the group leader interview for everyone?
All Cuban applicants require an in-person interview, so all applicants will need to travel to a third country for the interview. 

For applicants who are unable to travel to another country for a visa interview, what can they do?
Fees paid in Havana remain valid for one year from the date of payment and may be used for a visa application in Havana should visa operations resume within that time frame.

 

Are immigrant visa and Cuban Family Reunification Program (CFRP) applications closed?  Has the CFRP program ended?
The U.S. Embassy in Havana has cancelled all previously-scheduled nonimmigrant visa, immigrant visa, and CFRP interview appointments.  We regret the inconvenience this causes you and your families.  In the coming weeks, we will begin transferring current immigrant visa applications to the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá, Colombia and scheduling immigrant visa interviews there for Cuban nationals.  The U.S. Department of State is working with our colleagues in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to ensure continued operation of the Cuban Family Reunification Program (CFRP) and will soon announce arrangements for CFRP applicants. 

 Why was Bogotá chosen?
In determining an alternative location to process Cuban immigrant visa cases, we weighed a variety of factors, including proximity, language ability of staff, space to accommodate additional case files, potential inconvenience to applicants, and available officers to adjudicate the cases.  While transferring immigrant visas cases to another post is never an ideal solution, based on an evaluation of all of these factors, moving these operations to the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá is the current best solution.  In FY2016, Bogotá was one of the highest volume visa processing posts in the Western Hemisphere.

How are you communicating with applicants?
We will continue to provide updates on the U.S. Embassy in Havana’s website.  The National Visa Center (NVC) will contact applicants who received a notice for an immigrant visa appointment between September 12, 2017 and December 31, 2017 to reschedule their appointment.  Those who have not yet received an immigrant visa interview appointment notice should contact the NVC to update their contact information if it has changed and for a status update on their case. You can contact the NVC through the Ask NVC online contact form.

How does the change affect immigrant visa applicants?
Immigrant visas for Cubans will be processed at the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá, Colombia.  The U.S. Embassy in Bogotá is currently determining when these interviews can begin.  If you already received an appointment notice for an interview at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, the National Visa Center will contact you with further instructions about processing at the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá.

What if my case takes a long time to process? Will I need to stay in Bogotá the entire time?
Immigrant visa applicants should plan to spend at least two weeks in Colombia.  However, if additional administrative processing is required, applicants may return to Cuba while their case is pending.  Please note an individual’s immigration status in Colombia is ultimately up to the Government of Colombia.   Applicants will receive additional instructions about the processing of their case and may address case-specific questions during their interview at U.S. Embassy Bogotá.

What about applicants who previously had an immigrant visa interview scheduled in Havana?
We will begin scheduling immigrant visa interview appointments for Cuban nationals at the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá as soon as possible.  We anticipate the first appointments to be made available no sooner than November 2017.  The National Visa Center will contact applicants who received a notice for an immigrant visa appointment between September 12, 2017 and December 31, 2017 to reschedule their appointment.

What if I would prefer to process my immigrant visa case at another U.S. embassy or consulate?  Am I required to process my case in Bogotá?
While current immigrant visa applications will automatically be transferred to, and scheduled at, the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá, immigrant visa applicants may request to process their application, or continue processing their application, at another U.S. embassy or consulate.  Such applicants must provide justification for the case transfer (such as, for example, a move or change in residency to another country) and show that they can legally reside in the country while their case is being processed.  If the case file has already been transferred to Embassy Bogotá, a transfer request must be forwarded directly to the Immigrant Visa Unit at the chosen U.S. embassy or consulate.  If the case file is still held at the National Visa Center (NVC), you can contact them using the Ask NVC online contact form.  If the U.S. embassy or consulate agrees to accept the case and the case is qualified for scheduling, NVC will transfer the case to your requested U.S. embassy or consulate.

What are the requirements for Cuban nationals to enter Colombia?
The Government of Colombia makes determinations regarding the entry of foreign nationals into that country.  Cuban nationals traveling to Colombia for an immigrant visa appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá must first obtain a visa to enter Colombia.   Applicants should not seek a Colombian visa until they have been notified they have an appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá.  For more information, please contact Migración Colombia or the nearest Colombian embassy or consulate.

When should I apply for my visa to Colombia?
Please do not apply for your visitor visa to Colombia until you have received notification of your immigrant visa interview in Bogotá from the National Visa Center. 

How much time will I have between receiving notification of my immigrant visa interview and my appointment date at the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá?
You will receive notice of your interview with sufficient time in advance to make preparations.
You should not apply for your Colombian visa until you have received an appointment notice for your immigrant visa application interview.

Will I need to travel to Colombia if I already had one interview in Havana, and my immigrant visa case is pending a second interview?
If your case requires a second visa interview, you will be contacted with further instructions.

What if some of my documents are no longer valid by the time my visa interview is scheduled?
You should make every effort to ensure that all of your documents are valid when you travel to Bogotá for your immigrant visa interview, as certain expired documents will delay the processing and approval of your visa application.  Please follow the instructions on your appointment letter.  For more information on what documents are required please visit http://www.ustraveldocs.com/cu/cu-iv-visaapplyinfo.asp.

Will medical exams from Cuba be valid in Colombia?
Medical exams already completed in Cuba are acceptable for processing, so long as they are still valid.  However, no new medical exams will be able to take place in Cuba.   For new cases, when you receive notice of your interview in Bogotá, you will receive additional information about making arrangements for a medical exam in Colombia.

If my immigrant visa case is transferred to Bogotá, can I get a refund for a medical examination performed in Havana but that has expired?
If the NVC sent you a notice for an interview in Havana and your case was subsequently transferred to Bogotá, it’s possible you may use your medical examination performed in Cuba so long as the results are still valid.  Embassy Bogota will send instructions to applicants who require a new medical exam at the panel physician sites in Bogota.  We regret that no refunds for prior examinations are possible.

What is the status of the 2018 Diversity Visa Lottery Program?

Cuban winners of the Diversity Lottery Program 2018 should continue to check the status of their entries for information about their interview appointment along with instructions for processing at U.S. Embassy Bogota.

Can I travel straight from Colombia to the United States, or do I need to return to Cuba and travel to the United States from there?
If your visa is approved, you may travel directly to the United States from Bogotá.

Why can’t this be done at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station?
The U.S. Government does not have the facilities or personnel to process visas at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station.  The Naval Station is a military facility, not a diplomatic facility.

Who do I contact if I have questions about my case?
Please email HavanaConsularInfo@state.gov with any questions you have about how individuals resident in Cuba obtain visas to the United States.

How will applicants get their approved visas and passports back from the U.S. Embassy in Havana? 
Applicants whose visas have been approved will be contacted when their documents are ready to be picked up.

What should I do if my case is under administrative processing?
When administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case, but most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview.  Nonimmigrant and immigrant visa applicants will be contacted when their visas are ready for pick-up.

I have not received an appointment notification from the National Visa Center for my IV/CFRP interview. What happens to me now?
The State Department will work with its colleagues in the Department of Homeland Security to ensure continued operation of the Cuban Family Reunification Parole program and the refugee processing center.  The State Department will soon announce arrangements for CFRP and refugee applicants.

What happens if my visa expires and I have not been able to travel?
All foreign nationals need to have valid travel documents to enter the United States.  Non-immigrant visa holders may renew their visas at our embassies and consulates in other countries around the world.  Immigrant visas for Cubans will be processed at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia.