Cuban Parole Programs
What is the Cuban Family Reunification Program (CFRP)?
The Cuban Family Reunification Program (CFRP) is a type of Special Public Benefit Parole granted to certain Cuban citizens residing in Cuba by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services.
The Immigrant Visa/Parole Unit at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana processes applications for immigrant visas as well as applications for CFRP. All applications for parole are reviewed by the Department of Homeland Security’s United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), and the final decision in all parole cases rests solely with DHS. More information about CFRP can be found here.
Cuban Parole Programs
Historically, there have been several special parole programs administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and its predecessor, the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS). Parole is a special type of admission to the United States, not a visa, although today Cuban Parole recipients receive a foil in their passports which appears very similar to a visa. Parole is a discretionary program administered by USCIS, though the consular section performs most parole processing. All final parole decisions are made by USCIS. Unlike immigrant visa recipients, parole recipients do not enter the United States as Legal Permanent Residents (LPR). However, the Cuban Adjustment Act currently allows most Cuban parole recipients to apply for LPR status after a minimum of one year’s presence in the United States.
Currently, the Immigrant Visa/Parole Unit handles the following Cuban Parole Programs.
Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program (CP1)
Under this program, which began on November 21, 2007, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers beneficiaries of approved family preference-based immigrant visa petitions an opportunity to travel to the United States rather than remain in Cuba until their immigrant visa case becomes current. Approved parolees can apply for legal permanent resident status (a “green card”) after spending the required amount of time in the United States. The purpose of the program is to expedite family reunification through safe, legal, and orderly channels of migration to the United States and to discourage dangerous and irregular maritime migration.
Filing a family reunification parole application
The Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) mails a written notice to the U.S.-based United States citizen and lawful permanent resident petitioners whose Forms I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, have been approved, informing them of their beneficiary’s eligibility to participate in the CFRP Program. Participation in the CFRP is voluntary.
Once a petitioner completes and returns the form requesting their beneficiary’s case be processed under the CFRP, the National Visa Center sends a letter to the petitioner with instructions and requesting documentation needed to process the case under this program. IMPORTANT: Please note that Cuban Family Reunification Parole (CFRP) program cases cannot use the new DS-260: Online Immigrant Visa Application Form. These cases must still use the paper-based DS-230.
The National Visa Center (NVC) also provides instructions to schedule the interview appointment through our Visa Information and Appointment Scheduling Center.
Applicants or friends, family and associates can schedule an appointment or ask questions about the appointment scheduling process by calling our Visa Information and Appointment Scheduling Service between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday-Friday. Operators who speak both English and Spanish are available and can be reached at the following numbers:
Calling from Cuba or any country: (52) 477-493-4152. International rates apply.
Calling from within the United States: 1-866-374-1769.
Callers will need to have a Visa or MasterCard ready to pay for the service which costs $11.00 for eight minutes of talk time
The Parole Interview
On the day of their interview, parole applicants should arrive at the park located near the U.S. Interests Section on Calzada and K streets one hour prior to the time of their scheduled interview with their original documentation, including any documentation already requested by the National Visa Center, even if that information was already sent to NVC, civil documents to prove the applicant's relationship to the petitioner, valid passport, and current medical examination results. The applicant must arrive alone for his/her scheduled appointment. After the interview, the case will be sent to USCIS for a final determination of eligibility. If the parole is approved, the applicant will receive their travel documents approximately four to six weeks from the date of the interview, although this time can be longer, particularly in the late summer and early fall. Some cases require additional administrative processing that can take additional weeks or months to complete. All parole applicants can check our website to verify their documents are available for pick-up.
To have their medical examination parole applicants should present to the hospital the letter to participate in the CFRP in which the National Visa Center states that the case has been forwarded to the U.S. Interests Section and the list of hospitals (PDF 120Kb) designated for that purpose. Please keep in mind that you may wish to have the medical examination for derivative children done ONLY IF the children are included in the case AND they will be under 21 years old and unmarried at the time of their scheduled interview. Derivative children who are 21 or older or are married on the day of interview will not be able to remain in your case and so will not need to submit a medical check or other documentation.
Cuban applicants eligible to participate in the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program will not need to pay any fees at the time of their interview. The new USCIS green card fee approved Immigrant Visa applicants pay does NOT apply to parole cases.
Affidavit of Support
In July 2012, USCIS began instructing all new applicants requesting Cuban Parole to bring an I-134 affidavit of support. Applicants with existing appointments are not required to do so, but must be able to demonstrate to the interviewing consular officer that they will not become a public charge in the United States. The interviewing consular officer or the office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service in Havana (USCIS) may still request an affidavit of support.
Family Based Paroles (CP-3)
Another part of the Cuban Parole Program permits eligible Cuban citizens who are at least 21 years of age and have been issued an immigrant visa or CP1 parole to request family-based parole for certain family members. CP3 parole is a two-step process –requesting approval to participate in the program, and then applying for the parole itself.
Applications to participate in the program must be made at the time of the immigrant visa or CP1 parole applicant’s interview. An immigrant visa or CP1 parole applicant will not be able to request parole after this time. All applications for family-based parole will be reviewed by USCIS to determine the applicant’s eligibility for the program. Final decisions regarding parole requests are made by an USCIS official. Applicants are given the outcome of their parole requests sixteen weeks after receiving the visa.
There is very high demand for the Family-Based Parole program and the U.S. Interests Section does not 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 lower wait times. Applicants can both request Family Based Parole at the time of their interview and, when they qualify to do so, later file I-130 immigrant visa petitions for their family members.
Once Request is Approved
If approved to participate, the immigrant visa or CP1 parole applicant will be scheduled to come to the U.S. Interests Section to pick up the packet of required forms needed for his or her relatives’ consular interview. If the immigrant visa applicant is unable to come to the appointment, the CP3 parole applicant may come to pick up the packet. On that day, the applicant will be provided with forms and instructions to schedule his or her interview appointment.
At the time of their interview, applicants will need to provide the following documents:
- Photocopy of the visa from the person requesting parole showing the immigrant visa or CP1 parole recipient has entered the United States.
- Valid passport.
- Immigrant visa forms DS-230, part I and II. Note: Given the long wait times for an appointment, these forms are likely to change prior to the applicant’s interview. At the time of the interview, the consular officer may require the applicant to complete a current form. IMPORTANT: Please note that Family-Based Parole (CP3) program cases cannot use the new DS-260: Online Immigrant Visa Application Form. These cases must still use the paper-based DS-230.
- (2) Frontal color photos measuring 50mm x 50mm, with white background.
- Legalized Birth certificate.
- Current legalized marriage certificate (if applicable).
- Legalized Divorce certificates from any previous marriage (if applicable).
- If widowed, legalized death certificate from previous spouse.
- Documents that prove the relationship between the visa holder and the parole applicant. In the case of a child, the applicant will need to provide a legalized birth certificate stating that the child is the son/daughter of the visa holder. In the case of a brother or sister, the applicant will need to provide his or her legalized birth certificate and that of the visa holder.
- Police certificates/court records (for applicants sixteen years of age or older).
- Medical exam. Applicants need to check the list of hospitals (PDF 120 Kb)where they can have their medical examination. Please keep in mind that you may wish to have the medical examination for derivative children done ONLY IF the children are included in the case AND they will be under 21 years old and unmarried at the time of their scheduled interview. Derivative children who are 21 or older or are married on the day of interview will not be able to remain in your case and so will not need to submit a medical check or other
- Affidavit of Support, Form I-134 (PDf 113 KB).
How to Apply
Once applicants have been approved to participate in the program, applicants or friends, family and associates can schedule an appointment or ask questions about the appointment scheduling process by calling our Visa Information and Appointment Scheduling Service between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday-Friday. Operators who speak both English and Spanish are available and can be reached at the following numbers:
Calling from Cuba or any country: (52) 477-493-4152. International rates apply.
Calling from within the United States: 1-866-374-1769.
Callers will need to have a Visa or MasterCard ready to pay for the service which costs $11.00 for eight minutes of talk time.
Additional Information about Family-Based Parole
Currently, extremely high demand and limited appointments slots mean there is a lengthy wait to obtain a CP3 interview appointment. In many cases, it may be faster for the immigrant visa or the CP1 parole recipient to file an I-130 petition for the potential CP3 applicant once the immigrant visa or CP1 parole recipient qualifies to do so.
Please keep in mind that Family-Based Parole requests take a considerable amount of time to be processed. Visa holders do not need to be present during this process, and must enter the United States before the applicant will be issued a visa.
Cuban Lottery (1998) (CP2 and CP5)
The Special Program for Cuban Migration
The U.S. Interests Section is not currently accepting appointment requests for parole under this program. The Special Program for Cuban Migration, otherwise known as the bombo, is currently suspended,.
Other Information about Paroles
Cases in which Additional Documents are Requested
Applicants whose case is pending additional documents should return with those documents as soon as possible. Please arrive at the park located on Calzada and K streets at 10:00am, Monday thru Thursday. At that time, SEPSA personnel will make an announcement, “entregar los documentos” or those submitting documents. SEPSA will verify the applicant’s pass/documents and direct them towards the U.S. Interests Section (USINT) building. Once the applicant reaches the entrance to the building, he/she will be greeted by a consular employee who will collect the pending documents.
There is no appeal process of a CP1 or CP-3 parole denial, however, an applicant may submit a signed written request for reconsideration, within 90 days of the date of the adjudication, by e-mail to email@example.com or by regular mail/courier to:
Sección de Intereses
Referencia: reconsideración de parole
Calle Calzada e/L y M
Ciudad Habana 10400
Due to the nature of the Cuban Parole Programs, applicant interviews are already expedited significantly compared to applicants from any other nation. In addition, Cuban government restrictions on the number of our staff limit the number of interviews we can do per year. As a result, we can accept only a small percentage of expedite requests we receive, and only under very compelling circumstances. The U.S. Interests Section will consider expediting a parole appointment under the following circumstances:
- 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.
- 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.
- Male applicants who are currently military age (between the age of 14 and 16) and have a scheduled appointment within the next two years.
- Applicants who have been denied entry into the U.S. Interests Section on the day of their scheduled appointment.
- Applicants who have missed their scheduled appointment.
In such a case, the petitioner or beneficiary should email our Information Unit at HavanaConsularInfo@state.gov and provide information regarding the expedite request.
Appointment Procedures for Cuban Parole Cases
Family members and associates in the United States can schedule appointments on behalf of persons applying for parole as an eligible family member of an immigrant visa holder by calling 1-866-374-1769 from anywhere in the U.S, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Eastern Time), Monday-Friday or by Calling (52) 477-493-4152 from Cuba or any country.
To use the service family members or associates in the U.S. purchase a Personal Identification Number (PIN). PINs can be purchased for $11 USD using Visa or MasterCard. The PIN will allow the caller to access the service multiple times for information and appointment scheduling for up to a total of 8 minutes. The PIN is nonrefundable. In the event it is lost the applicant will have to obtain a new one. If the time allowed for the PIN runs out, the caller must obtain a new PIN and call the service again. Up to 5 immediate family members residing in the same household may be scheduled on one call using one PIN. The caller will need full name of the applicant as it appears in the passport; passport number; date and country of birth; applicant's complete address, including contact phone number in Cuba, and the applicant's unique identifying number provided by the National Visa Center.
Attorneys and Family members
The U.S. Interests Section (USINT) of Havana appreciates the contributions that attorneys and family members may make to the expeditious processing of immigrant visa applications, especially in ensuring that all required documentation is in order and properly prepared prior to the interview. However, USINT does not permit attorneys or family members, with the exception of those assisting minors and the physically disabled, to accompany immigrant visa or parole applicants to their interviews or to participate in the interviews.
For additional, prerecorded information regarding immigrant visa processing, please contact the Information Unit at (53)(7) 839-4101. For issues not answered by the telephone information, you may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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