Immigrant Visa Frequently Asked Questions

What is an immigrant visa?

An immigrant visa is a document issued by a U.S. consular officer abroad that allows you to travel to the United States and apply for admission as a lawful permanent resident (LPR).  Once in the U.S., an immigration inspector of U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security makes the final decision as to whether or not to admit you as an LPR.  Once you are admitted as an LPR, you generally have the right to live and work in the United States permanently.

What is parole?

In our context, parole is an immigration benefit granted to certain Cuban citizens residing in Cuba by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).  Currently, the Immigrant Visa/Parole Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Havana processes two parole programs: the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Programs (CP1) and the Family-Based Parole Program (CP3).  Applicants who are approved at the discretion of USCIS and receive travel documents under any of these programs do not enter the United States as lawful permanent residents (LPR).

What time should I be at your office the day of my interview?

Applicants should arrive at the park located at Calzada and K Streets one hour before their appointment. Failure to arrive at that time could delay the interview process. 

I am disabled and using a wheelchair. How long do I have to wait? Can someone accompany me inside the building?

We give disabled applicants priority and process them first.  We also allow someone to accompany them if necessary.

Can my petitioner accompany me to the interview?

In general, petitioners are not allowed to accompany their relatives to the interview.  Only in marriage cases (IR1, CR1, K1 and F2A cases) will the petitioner also be admitted into the building.

I’m an American citizen.  Can I come inside your office to accompany my relative or to inquire about a visa case?

Building access is granted for American citizen services only (e.g. notarial services, birth reports, emergency assistance).  American citizens requiring services should show their American passport to the U.S. Embassy employees in order to approach the gate.  Access will not be granted for personal inquiries regarding visa cases or to accompany applicants, with the exception of the physically/mentally disabled, minors, or in certain marriage-based cases.

Should I get a lawyer to help me with my case?

The decision as to whether or not to hire a lawyer or other representative is yours alone.  We cannot tell you whether or not to obtain representation, nor can we recommend any specific lawyers.  Even if you hire an attorney or other representative, that person may NOT accompany the applicant to the visa interview.

How can someone obtain an immigrant visa?

There are three basic methods for obtaining an immigrant visa: 1) through a qualifying family relationship with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident or 2) through employment or 3) through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (the visa lottery).  Most applicants in Cuba obtain their immigrant visas via family relationships. Due to restrictions in U.S. Law, Cuban citizens generally do not qualify for employment-based immigrant visas.

Where should I start?

To obtain a family-based immigrant visa, you must be the beneficiary of an approved Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security. Your U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident relative in the United States generally must file the I-130 petition at the USCIS Service Center in the United States with jurisdiction over his or her place of residence.  The instructions for the I-130 will inform you relative where and how to file this.  Once your relative has filed a petition for you, you may check its status by accessing the USCIS Case Status Search Page.

If you wish to participate in the Diversity Visa Program, you must submit your entry online at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/ during the registration period, which normally runs from early October to early November.  Actual dates are announced by the U.S. Department of State each year.  IMPORTANT: Please read all the instructions carefully before submitting your Diversity Visa Program entry.  Failure to strictly follow the instructions, especially including ALL required family members, may result in denial of your case when you appear for the consular interview.

Can I file an immigrant visa petition at the U.S. Embassy?

Only U.S. citizens who officially reside in Cuba can file an immigrant visa petition at the USCIS Office in Havana, located in the U.S. Embassy Annex Building.  Other U.S. citizens must file their petition in the United States.  Fiancé(e) visa petitions may only be filed in the United States.

The family-based petition my relative filed for me was approved.  Now what?

USCIS will send the approved immigrant visa petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  The petitioner will receive notifications and instructions for further processing of the case from NVC.  NVC retains the approved petition until the case is current, i.e. ready for adjudication by a consular officer abroad.  Petitions may remain at NVC for several months or for many years depending on the visa category and country of birth of the visa applicant.

How do I find out if my petition has become current? 

The NVC will notify the petitioner. In any case, you may consult the monthly visa bulletin published by the Department of State. This information is also available by calling (202) 663-1541 in the United States.

How do I schedule an interview appointment for an immigrant visa?

Once the case is completed and there is an appointment slot available at the U.S. Embassy, the National Visa Center will send the petitioner in the United States a letter with the applicant’s interview date or further instructions regarding the scheduling of the appointment.

My immigrant visa petition has already been completed but an interview appointment has not been scheduled for the beneficiary.  Why?

Given the resources available, the U.S. Embassy can only offer a limited number of immigrant visa interviews per day.  At times, immigrant visa applicants may have to wait several months for their interview appointment.

How can I cancel a petition?

If the petition is with the National Visa Center, the petitioner should contact that office directly. If the petition is at U.S. Embassy, the petitioner should send a signed statement via e-mail to havanaconsularinfo@state.gov requesting to withdraw the petition. The petitioner should attach a copy of page 2 of his/her American passport or his/her permanent resident card, as applicable.

The beneficiary’s interview has been scheduled but the beneficiary has not received the packet of forms and instructions required for the consular interview.  What should I do?

The U.S. Embassy does not send packets to beneficiaries in Cuba.  Information on the documents required for the interview is sent by the NVC.  The required forms can be downloaded by visiting http://travel.state.gov/ or on our website.

How can the beneficiary have the required medical examination done?

Petitioners in the United States should send the beneficiary in Cuba a copy of their interview appointment letter along with the list of hospitals (PDF 120 KB) sent to them by the National Visa Center.  For information about the procedure to have the medical exam done, you need to contact the appropriate Cuban authorities.

The beneficiary was not able to get the required documentation on time for the interview.  What happens now?

Immigrant visa beneficiaries may still come to their interview, but the visa application will not be adjudicated.  The interviewing consular officer will refuse the case and provide the beneficiary a pass to return to the U.S. Embassy when the required documentation has been obtained. Once the beneficiary returns, the case will be reopened.  Beneficiaries must submit the requested documentation within one year of the date of their interview, or the case will automatically close.

The person who filed the petition on my behalf is not working. Does he or she still need to submit an Affidavit of Support?

Yes.  Most immigrant visa applicants are subject to the I-864 (Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act) requirement.  Therefore, the petitioner must submit an I-864 for you. Otherwise, the consular officer will not be able to issue you a visa.  This requirement applies even if the petitioner is not working or is working but does not earn enough money to support you. In these circumstances, your petitioner may find a joint sponsor who is willing to file an I-864 for you, or he or she may have a household member who is willing to file a Form I-864A (Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member). Every I-864 and I-864A must be accompanied by proof that the filer is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and at least the sponsor’s most recent income tax return (Form 1040) and Wage and Tax Statement (Form W-2). If the petitioner is not working, he or she must state this on the I-864.

Can the beneficiary of an immigrant visa request parole?

Most immigrant visa applicants who are over 21 years may request Family Based Parole for certain family members during their consular interview. The initial interview is their only opportunity to request Family Based Parole.  The applicant will need to complete a parole request sheet when they arrive at the U.S. Embassy the day of their interview.  Following the interview, the applicant will have no further opportunity to request Family Based Parole.  Final decisions regarding parole requests are made by an USCIS official.  Applicants generally are given the outcome of their parole requests sixteen weeks after receiving their visa.

Will I receive my immigrant visa on the same day of my visa interview?

No.  Immigrant visa processing generally takes one week.  However, some cases are subject to additional administrative processing. This process often lasts 90-120 days, but in some instances, it may take up to a year or more to complete. The U.S. Embassy cannot adjudicate a visa case until this process has concluded. The U.S. Embassy will contact the applicant as soon as this process has been completed and a final determination has been made on the case.

How do officers decide if my visa is approved or not?

Consular officers base their decisions solely on the law, regulations, and Department of State policy. On the day of your immigrant visa appointment, the consular officer will interview you and will either approve your visa or deny it.  If the consular officer approves your visa, you will receive a pass with instructions to pick up the visa package. If the visa is refused, the consular officer will give you a refusal letter listing the section of law under which your visa was refused. The letter will also give you detailed instructions on what to do next, e.g.: providing additional documents. It is very important that you follow the instructions exactly. If you don’t follow the instructions, your case may be delayed, and it is possible that you will lose your chance to live and work in the United States.

After I receive my visa, do I have to pay any other fees?

Most immigrant visa applicants who receive their immigrant visas are required by USCIS to pay an additional fee of $165 USD.  The fee covers the costs to process, produce and issue documents, such as your Green Card. Payments are made online at www.USCIS.gov/ImmigrantFee before the beneficiary travels to the United States.  Applicants subject to the fee are given a letter with more information and instructions when they pick up their visa.  For more information on the fee, please visit http://www.uscis.gov/. 

The principal beneficiary does not wish to immigrate to the U.S., but the derivatives want to continue with the petition.  Is this possible?

No.  The derivatives must immigrate either at the same time or after the principal beneficiary.

What happens if the petitioner dies before the principal beneficiary has immigrated to the United States?

If the petitioner dies before the principal beneficiary has immigrated to the United States, the petition is automatically revoked. This means that the consular officer will not be able to issue a visa to any of the beneficiaries of the petition and will be required to return the petition to USCIS for them to take final action.  There are exceptions in the laws for spouses of U.S. citizens applying with for an IR-1 visa.  Otherwise, an applicant may contact directly the USCIS office that approved the petition to request that it be reinstated for compelling humanitarian reasons.  If USCIS reinstates the petition, the consular section will contact the applicant and provide instructions for further processing.

What happens if the petitioner dies after the principal beneficiary has immigrated to the United States?

Eligibility of derivative applicants seeking to follow to join a principal beneficiary who has already acquired lawful permanent resident (LPR) status is dependent on the continuing lawful permanent resident status of the principal, not on the status of the petitioner. Therefore, if the petitioner dies after the principal applicant has already become an LPR and one or more derivative applicants seek to follow to join the principal applicant, the derivatives retain eligibility to follow to join despite the death of the petitioner.

What happens to the derivative beneficiary’s case if the principal beneficiary dies?

If the principal beneficiary dies at any time before the derivative beneficiary immigrates to the United States, the consular officer will not be able to issue a visa to the derivative beneficiary.

I was unable to travel to the United States during the validity of my visa. Can I get an extension?

No. Immigrant visa holders who are unable to travel to the United States during the validity of their visa for reasons beyond their control should contact the Consular Information Unit at (+53) 7839-4152 to schedule an interview appointment to be considered for a visa replacement. The applicant should take this step only when s/he is ready to travel to the United States.

What documentation do I need to bring to be considered for a visa replacement? 

Beneficiaries are required to bring (1) recent passport style photograph, current medical examination results and current police records (for applicants 16 years of age or older), valid passport, a nonrefundable visa fee (please see our consular fees), and the travel packet issued to the applicant by the U.S. Embassy. In addition, beneficiaries will need to demonstrate that they were unable to travel during the validity of their visa for reasons beyond their control.  Immigrant visas can only be replaced within a limited time, depending on the type of visa; once this time limit has passed, no replacement visa can be issued, even if the failure to travel was beyond the applicant’s control.

Will a replacement be automatic?

No.  All requests for visa replacements must be evaluated by a consular officer, who will evaluate that the visa applicant was unable to travel during the validity of their visa for reasons beyond their control, and that the applicant still qualifies for the visa.  The application is a new application, and all other legal requirements for the issuance of an immigrant visa must be met.

My visa was refused. Why did this happen and what do I do now?

U.S. consular officers are only allowed to issue immigrant visas to those applicants who qualify under the law.  A visa can be refused for a variety of reasons. For example, your immigrant visa could be denied if you have a criminal record, if you lie during your visa interview, if you lived in the United States without permission, or if your economic documents are insufficient, among many other possible reasons.  If your visa is denied, you will receive a letter from the consular officer explaining under what section of the law your visa was denied.

Can I overcome a visa refusal?

Some immigrant visa refusals may be overcome with additional evidence; some may require a waiver from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before a visa can be issued; and some refusals are permanent.  The refusal letter will state whether a refusal can be overcome or if a waiver may be available.

What is a waiver and how do I get one?

A waiver is a special authorization granted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to put aside an ineligibility. The Consular Section does not accept or decide waiver requests.  Waiver requests are filed directly with USCIS in the United States, although in limited cases they may be filed directly with the USCIS office in Havana.  For detailed information about the waiver process please visit the USCIS website.

Who is eligible?

If you filed a Form I-130 for your relative, you are known as the petitioner and your relative is known as the beneficiary. You will be eligible to apply for parole for your relative(s) in Cuba under the CFRP program if:

  • You are either a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR);
  • You have an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for a Cuban family member;
  • An immigrant visa is not yet available for your relative; and
  • You received an invitation from the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) to participate in the CFRP Program. To be eligible, the beneficiary must:
  • Be a Cuban national residing in Cuba; and
  • Have a petitioner who has been invited to participate in the CFRP Program.

Who is not eligible?

Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are NOT eligible for CFRP because they can immediately apply for immigrant visas once their Form I-130 is approved.  Immediate relatives are: (1) spouses of U.S. citizens, (2) unmarried children under 21 years old of U.S. citizens, and (3) parents of U.S. citizens over 21 years of age.

What do I need to do to have my family member participate in CFRP?

Visit the USCIS website  for information about CFRP eligibility and application procedures.  Do NOT apply for the CFRP program until the NVC invites you to do so.  Potential beneficiaries in Cuba cannot apply for themselves.

How can I make sure that NVC has my current contact information?

Immigrant visa petitioners must make sure that the NVC has your current mailing address.  You can contact the NVC with your current address by calling (603) 334-0700 or at https://secureforms.travel.state.gov/ask-nvc.php.  For additional contact information, please visit http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate/nvc/nvc-contact-information.html

How can I schedule my family member’s interview appointment?

NVC will send an appointment notice once the principal applicant and derivatives of the I-130 are scheduled for an interview at the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

How can I expedite the CFRP interview appointment?

Participation in the CFRP Program already expedites an immigrant visa case, often by a decade or more.  Only a very limited number of expedited appointments are available, and only in limited circumstances including: 1) The petitioner has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and death is imminent.  In such a case medical documentation of the illness and prognosis must be provided. 2) Minor children whose custodial parent is immigrating to the United States as the recipient of an immigrant visa and the visa will expire prior to the minor child’s appointment.  In such a case, the petitioner or beneficiary should e-mail our Consular Information Unit at havanaconsularinfo@state.gov and provide detailed information about the expedite request.

There is an error in the spelling on my relative’s parole application. How can I fix it?

Parole beneficiaries may correct any error in their biographical data the day of their interview.

Are there any fees to be processed under this program?

Cuban applicants approved to participate in the CFRP Program before February 17, 2015, will not need to pay any fees at the time of their interview.  Cuban applicants approved to participate in the CFRP Program after February 16, 2015, are required to submit a fee or a fee waiver request to USCIS with the I-131 Application for a Travel Document.
The USCIS green card fee for approved Immigrant Visa applicants does NOT apply to parole cases.

Is an Affidavit of Support required under CFRP?

Applicants admitted into the CFRP program before February 17, 2015, must bring an Affidavit of Support, Form I-134, to the CFRP interview, only if expressly requested by a consular or DHS officer.

Will the granting of parole under the CFRP Program be automatic?

The grant of parole is not automatic.  USCIS will use its discretion to grant parole on a case-by-case basis. USCIS will only grant parole to beneficiaries who meet the CFRP eligibility requirements and also:

  • Meet all eligibility requirements for an immigrant visa (except for the requirement that the immigrant visa number be available);
  • Pass security background checks;
  • Pass a medical examination; and
  • Are admissible to the United States.

Cubans who have committed serious crimes or who fail to pass security checks will not be granted parole.

How long will it take for my relative to obtain parole after being interviewed?

In most cases, applicants are asked to return to the U.S. Embassy in Havana 6-8 weeks after their interview, but during the busiest portions of the year, it may take several months before a parole decision is ready.  In addition, some cases are subject to additional administrative processing which often lasts 90-120 days, but in some instances, can take a year or more to complete.  In those cases, the U.S. Embassy informs the applicant we will contact them as soon as this process has been completed and a final determination has been made on the case.

My family member has been awaiting completion of additional administrative processing for several months.  Can you expedite it?

No.  Parole beneficiaries must wait until this process has concluded.  The U.S. Embassy will contact the applicant as soon as this process has been completed.

Can you provide me with an estimated date of completion for my family member’s additional administrative processing?

No.  It is not possible to anticipate how long the administrative process will take for a particular case.

I am unable to travel during the validity of my CFRP travel documents.  Can I get an extension? 

No.  We cannot extend the validity of a CFRP travel document.  However, USCIS can renew it.  CFRP beneficiaries who are unable to travel to the United States during the validity of their travel documents should contact the U.S. Embassy’s Information Unit at (+53) 7839-4152 or send an e-mail to havanaconsularinfo@state.gov to schedule an interview appointment to be considered for parole renewal.  The beneficiary should take this step only when s/he is ready to travel.

What documentation do I need to bring to be considered for parole renewal?

Applicants are required to bring (1) recent passport style photograph, current medical examination results and current police records (for applicants 16 years of age or older), valid passport, and the travel packet issued to the applicant by the U.S. Embassy.

Will a renewal be automatic?

No.  All requests for parole replacements must be evaluated by the USCIS office in Havana and must still qualify for parole.  A renewal can be denied.  In addition, if the underlying immigrant visa case is now available for an interview, the applicant will no longer qualify for parole, and must interview for an immigrant visa.

I was denied parole under CFRP.  Can I appeal this decision?

There is no appeal process for denied CFRP cases, however, the applicant or petitioner may submit a signed request for reconsideration, within 45 days from the date of the denial, via e-mail to havanaconsularinfo@state.gov or by regular mail/courier to:

Embajada de los Estados Unidos en Havana
Attn: USCIS
Ref: Reconsideración de parole
Calle Calzada e/L y M
Vedado, La Habana, CP 10400

All reconsideration decisions are made by USCIS; the Consular Section cannot give you the status nor expedite the process of a reconsideration request.

How can someone request CP3 parole for a family member?

Eligible applicants who are at least twenty-one years old may request parole for certain family members at the time of their immigrant visa or CFRP interview.  Please note that the original immigrant visa or CFRP interview is the only chance the applicant will have to request parole.

I submitted my request for parole two weeks ago but haven’t been notified by the U.S. Embassy.  Why?

Requests for family-based parole take an average of 16 weeks to be reviewed, sometimes longer, from the day a decision was made in the case of the principal applicant.  Please wait for the U.S. Embassy to contact you.  If you have been waiting for 16 weeks or more and have not been contacted, please send a brief message using our Contact Us form.

Can I expedite my relative’s interview appointment so that we can travel together to the United States?

Expedited appointments are only available for minor children whose custodial parent is immigrating with a valid visa or parole document to the United States.  In such a case, the petitioner or beneficiary may send us a brief message using our Contact Us form.

I had a baby after my family based parole request was approved.  Can I include the new child in my case?

Yes.  Unless you are the derivative in your parent’s case.

I got married after my family-based parole request was approved.  Can I include my new spouse in my case?

No.

My request for family-based parole was approved.  Why does my family member need to be interviewed?

Eligibility to participate in the Family-Based Parole (CP3) Program does not guarantee that the applicant will be issued travel documents to immigrate to the United States.  All eligible family-based parole applicants must be interviewed by a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy, and the cases reviewed by a USCIS officer to determine the applicant’s qualification to immigrate to the United States as a CP3 parole beneficiary.

How can I schedule my family member’s interview appointment?

Family-based parole applicants may ask their family members or associates in the United States to contact our Visa Information and Appointment Scheduling Service at 1-866-374-1769, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 am. to 5:00 pm.  Callers pay a nominal fee to speak to the operators. The person calling should provide the visa/parole holder’s full name and case number, which will be provided with the results of the family-based parole request.

I called for an appointment request for my family member, and the interview date is well over a decade from now.  Is this right?

There is very high demand for the Family-Based Parole Program and the U.S. Embassy does not have the capacity to meet this demand.  As a result, there are very long wait times for an available interview.  In most cases, based on current processing times, it will likely be faster for the original immigrant visa or CFRP applicant who requested parole to enter the United States, obtain their Lawful Permanent Resident status or U.S. Citizenship, petition for their family members directly, and elect processing under the Cuban Family Reunification Program, which has much shorter wait times.

IMPORTANT:

Immigrant visa/parole holders are not required to remain in Cuba during the process of a family-based parole case and should not do so.  Choosing to stay in Cuba pending the processing of a relative’s parole case will generally not qualify as being beyond the immigrant visa/parole holder’s control, and thus immigrant visa or parole may not be replaced or renewed on those grounds.  Beneficiaries of an immigrant visa or parole should travel to the United States during the validity of their visa or travel documents.

 

I received an e-mail notifying me that I was selected to participate in the DV program. How can I confirm its authenticity?

DV applicants NO longer receive a notification letter or email informing them that they were selected for DV processing. If you receive an e-mail requesting personal information or money to pay for visa processing, please DO NOT send any of these since this is most probably a scam.

How will I be notified that I’m a winner?

A successfully-registered entry results in a confirmation screen containing your name and a unique confirmation number which you should print and retain. Applicants can only find out if they were selected to continue with DV processing by checking their status online using their confirmation number at the “Entry Check Status” link at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/. This is the sole means of informing you of your selection for the DV program.

I was selected to participate in the DV program. Does this mean I’m getting a visa?

No.  Applicants selected to participate in this program are not guaranteed an immigrant visa to travel to the United States. More winners are selected than there are visas available, as a number of applicants will not qualify or otherwise choose not to proceed.  Selection only means the applicant may get a chance to be interviewed at the U.S. Embassy by a consular officer to determine an applicant’s eligibility for an immigrant diversity visa. If interviewed and found eligible, and if visas are still available for the year, the applicant can be issued an immigrant visa.

What is the cost of a DV visa?

There is no cost to enter the DV lottery.  Any person or website claiming the U.S. government charges a fee to do this is likely running a scam.  However, applicants selected for an interview are charged a nonrefundable fee per person, paid at the U.S. Embassy consular cashier on the day of their interview.  Please check our consular fees for up-to-date information.  There is no additional charge for the issuance of a DV visa.

After I receive my DV visa, do I have to pay any other fees?

All applicants who receive their immigrant visas on or after February 1, 2013, are required by USCIS to pay an additional fee of $165 USD.  The fee covers the costs to process, produce and issue documents, such as your Green Card.  Payments are made online at www.USCIS.gov/ImmigrantFee before the beneficiary’s traveling to the United States. For more information, please visit http://www.uscis.gov/.

I was issued a visa by the U.S. Embassy but I have not been able to travel. Do I lose my visa?

Only a limited number of diversity visas are available worldwide in the fiscal year.  The Diversity Visa program ends each year on September 30 or when the last available visa is issued, whichever is earlier.  After that point, no additional visas can be issued, for any reason.  Before this point, under some circumstances a replacement visa may be issued, but additional fees are required.

I was issued a DV visa years ago by the U.S. Embassy but I was not able to travel. Can I apply for a visa replacement?

No.  Diversity Visas cannot be issued or replaced after September 30 of the fiscal year in which they were issued, for any reason.

Can I request parole the day of my interview?

Yes, current regulations permit a DV winner to request parole for certain family members the day of the winner’s interview at the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

I was denied at my interview, is there an appeal process?

No.  There is no appeal process to overcome a visa denial under the DV program.

I was notified by the Kentucky Consular Center that I was a winner of this lottery.  Why was I denied at the time of my interview?

Diversity Visa applicants are subject to all the same general requirements as any other immigrant visa applicant.  In addition, the Diversity Visa program has very strict rules and requirements.  Failure to comply with these rules and requirements may result in the automatic denial of the application.

The consular officer said I was denied because I did not list all my stepchildren when I entered the lottery.  But my brother-in-law filled out the form for me and forgot about my stepchild.  Is there a way around this?

No. The strict rules of the Diversity Visa program specifically say that all entries must include the name, date and place of birth of the applicant’s spouse and all natural children, as well as all legally-adopted children and stepchildren, who are unmarried and under the age of 21 (except children who are already U.S citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents), even if the applicant is no longer legally married to the child’s parent, and even if the spouse or child does not currently reside with the applicant and/or will not immigrate with the applicant.  If the entry fails to include their spouse or any child or stepchild’s name on the original DV entry form, the consular officer is required to deny the visa, even if someone else filled out the entry on the applicant’s behalf.  The visa application fees will not be refunded.  New spouses or children acquired after the entry is submitted may be included.

IMPORTANT:

The Special Program for Cuban Migration (the Bombo) has been indefinitely suspended since 2007.  No new appointment requests are being accepted.  At this time, there are no plans to resume this program.

I was unable to travel to the United States during the validity of my parole travel documents. Can I get an extension?

No.  We cannot extend a parole visa.  However, USCIS may be able to renew it.  Parole beneficiaries who are unable to travel to the United States during the validity of their travel documents for reasons beyond their control may send us a message using our Contact Us form or by calling us at (+53)7839-4152 to schedule an interview appointment to be considered for parole renewal. The beneficiary should take this step only when s/he is ready to travel.

What documentation do I need to bring to be considered for a parole renewal?

Parole applicants are required to bring (1) recent passport style photograph, a DS-230 immigrant visa application form, current medical examination results and current police records (for applicants 16 years of age or older), valid passport, and the travel packet issued to the applicant by the U.S. Embassy.  In addition, parole applicants will need to demonstrate that they were unable to travel during the validity of their travel documents for reasons beyond their control. 

Will a renewal be automatic?

No. All requests for parole renewals must be evaluated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in Havana and must meet the criteria for the program.

What is a fiancé(e) visa?

A fiancé(e) visa (or K-1 visa) is for foreigners who wish to marry a U.S. citizen in the United States and then become lawful permanent residents without having to leave the United States. K-2 visas are for the children of K-1 applicants.

How do I obtain a fiancé(e) visa?

Your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) must file a Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the U.S.  The form instructions will provide the information about how and where to file the I-129F.  Once your fiancé(e) has filed a petition for you, you may check its status by accessing the USCIS Case Status Search Page.

Once my fiancé(e) visa petition has been approved by USCIS, what comes next?

USCIS forwards the approved petition to the National Visa Center, which then sends it to the Immigrant Visa/Parole (IV/) Unit of the U.S. Embassy in Havana. The NVC will provide with a letter that contains information about the necessary next steps.  After receiving the letter, you will be able to schedule an appointment through the website http://www.ustraveldocs.com/cu. Applicants will also be able to schedule appointments by telephone in the United States (786) 408-5995.  Detailed information about the required documentation is located at: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate/family/fiance-k-1.html#6

Can I file a fiancé(e) petition at the U.S. Embassy in Havana?

No.  All fiancé(e) petitions must be filed in the United States. Please visit the USCIS website for information on how to file a petition./

I scheduled my fiancé(e)’s interview appointment but the date given is past the expiration date of my petition.  Could you expedite the appointment?

No.  If the visa is approved but the petition has expired, a consular officer will revalidate the petition at the time of the interview.

How can I cancel a petition?

If the petition is with the National Visa Center, the petitioner should contact that office directly.    If the petition is at U.S. Embassy in Havana, the petitioner should send us a signed statement via e-mail at havanaconsularinfo@state.gov requesting to withdraw the petition. The petitioner should attach a copy of pages 2-3 (the biographic data page with the photo and the page with the signature) of his/her U.S. passport.

Are there any interview fees for beneficiaries of a fiancé(e) visa?

Yes, the beneficiary and any derivatives in the case must pay a nonrefundable fee. Please refer to our consular fees for up-to-date information.

I have wedding plans, can you expedite my appointment?

No. Given the large demand of applicants and the limited resources available at the U.S. Embassy, we are unable to expedite fiancé(e) interview appointments unless there is a critical and urgent situation that justifies expeditious processing. Wedding plans do not justify expeditious processing.

Does the beneficiary need an Affidavit of Support the day of the interview?

We strongly recommend one. Fiancé(e) visa applicant must be able to demonstrate that they will not become a public charge in the United States. The simplest way to do so is often by submitting an affidavit of support (Form I-134), accompanied by a copy of page 2 of the petitioner’s American passport, and at least the most recent IRS income tax return (Form 1040) and Wage and Tax Statement (Form W-2).

Can the petitioner provide an Affidavit of Support from a joint sponsor?

Yes, if the petitioner’s income is insufficient to show the applicant will not become a public charge in the United States.

Can I request parole for a family member?

No, beneficiaries of fiancé(e) visas are not eligible to request parole.

I was unable to travel to the United States during the validity of my visa.  Can I get an extension?

No. Fiancé(e) visas cannot be extended, but can be replaced under limited circumstances.  Fiancé(e) visa recipients who are unable to travel to the United States during the validity of their visa for reasons beyond their control should ask the petitioner, a family member or associate in the United States to schedule an appointment through the website http://www.ustraveldocs.com/cu. Applicants will also be able to schedule appointments by telephone in the United States at (786) 408-5995, to be considered for a visa replacement. The beneficiary should take this step only when s/he is ready to travel to the United States. The visa holder will be required to interview again and show that the relationship is still valid.

What documentation do I need to bring to be considered for a visa replacement?

Beneficiaries are required to bring (1) recent passport style photograph, current medical examination results and current police records (for applicants 16 years of age or older), valid passport, a nonrefundable visa fee (please see our consular fees) and the travel packet issued to the applicant by the U.S. Embassy in Havana. In addition, beneficiaries will need to demonstrate that they were unable to travel during the validity of their visa for reasons beyond their control and evidence that demonstrates that the bona fides of their relationship.

My fiancé(e) was denied a visa because the interviewing consular officer determined that our relationship was not bona fide, can I appeal this decision?

No. Once a case is denied by a consular officer, the file is forwarded to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with a recommendation that it be revoked.  There is no appeal process for a denied fiancé(e) visa at the U.S. Embassy.  Petitioners should wait to be contacted by USCIS or may direct their inquiries to USCIS National Customer Service at 1-800-375-5283.

My fiancé(e) was scheduled for a relationship interview at the U.S. Embassy.  Does the petitioner need to be present?

No.  While we strongly encourage the petitioner to be present, we recognize that this is difficult or impossible for some people due to the unique circumstances of travelling to Cuba.

The relationship interview was scheduled three months from today. Can you expedite the appointment?

No.  Given the large demand of applicants and the limited resources available to us, we are only able to schedule a small number of relationship interviews per week.

The beneficiary withdrew the visa application at the time of the interview but later changed her mind. Can we reverse the action taken?

No.  Once a beneficiary signs a withdrawal form, the case is automatically sent to USCIS for revocation.

Could the case be reconsidered if I marry my fiancé(e)?

No.  Marriage prior to the adjudication of the case will automatically invalidate the fiancé(e) petition. The petitioner would have to file an I-130 petition with USCIS to petition for the new spouse.

My petition was sent to the U.S. for revocation.  Will that have a negative impact on future immigration matters?

It may.  Individuals who seek to obtain a fraudulent fiancé(e) visa may face immigration consequences, including exclusion from obtaining parole benefits.

I think I am a lawful permanent resident, but I have been out of the United States for one year or longer.  I want to return to live in the United States.  What do I do?

It is possible that you may qualify for returning resident status.  Returning resident status is for an alien who meets the following requirements:

  • was a lawfully-admitted permanent resident of the United States at the time of departure;
  • at the time of departure, had the intention of returning to the United States;
  • while residing abroad, did not abandon the intention of returning to the United States; and
  • is returning from a temporary residence abroad that extended beyond one year for reasons beyond his/her control.

In this case, you may contact the Embassy of the United States of America by sending an email to the Consular Information Unit at havanaconsularinfo@state.gov or by telephone at (+53) 7839-4152  to receive information about how to proceed.

Can my relative in the United States send you the money to pay for my interview at the U.S. Embassy?

No. The immigrant visa fee must be paid while your appointment is scheduled through the http://www.ustraveldocs.com/cu website.  Applicants processing under any of the parole programs currently processed by our consular office do not have to pay any fees. Please see our consular fees. 

In which currency may I pay the immigrant visa fee?

Payment in U.S. Dollars (USD) is preferred, but the consular cashier can accept Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) as well.  However, the payment must be in one currency (i.e., you must pay the total entirely in USD or entirely in CUC).  We can only accept cash, in all bill denominations, preferably bills of 100 and 50.  The current consular exchange rate is 1 USD=1CUC.  Please be advised that you should only pay money to the Consular Section cashier, regardless of what anyone else may tell you.  The consular cashier will issue you a receipt showing how much you paid and what services you paid for.  Make sure you receive and keep your receipt, as you will need to present it during your interview.

If my immigrant visa application is denied, can I get my money back?

No.  All consular fees are intended to pay for the applicant’s processing, which occurs regardless of the decision in the case.  Therefore all consular fees are non-refundable.

I received my immigrant visa/parole and I am about to move to the United States.   Where can I get more information about living in the United States?

Please see Welcome to the United States:  A Guide for New Immigrants.  This booklet, produced by USCIS, contains a wealth of information on topics such as registering your child for school, maintaining your immigrant status, finding a job, and becoming a U.S. citizen.

I still have questions about immigrant visas/paroles.  How can I find more information?

More information may be found elsewhere on our website, as well as at the State Department’s Travel.State.Gov website. To listen to prerecorded information regarding visa processing in Havana, please contact the Information Unit at (+53) 7839-4101. If your question is not answered on these websites or by the telephone information, you may send us a brief message using our Contact Us form.