Immigrant Visas and Cuban Family Reunification Program
Immigrating to the United States to live permanently is an important and complex decision. In this section, you will learn about who may immigrate to the United States, the different types of immigrant visas, the required forms, and the steps in the immigrant visa process.
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).
In general, to apply for an immigrant visa, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen relative(s), U.S. lawful permanent resident, or by a prospective employer, and be the beneficiary of an approved petition.
Due to the restrictions in U.S. Law, Cuban citizens generally do not qualify for employment-based immigrant visas.
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.
Types of Immigrant Visas
- Immediate Relative
- Family Sponsored
- Diversity Visas
- Cuban Parole
- Fiancés (K1)
- Returning Residents
The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA)
The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) requires that the United States government provide, to an immigrating fiancé or spouse of a citizen or resident of the United States, an information pamphlet on legal rights and resources for immigrant victims of domestic violence. The USCIS pamphlet for applicants for K non-immigrant visas (aka “fiancé visas”) and family-based visas provides detailed explanations of what constitutes domestic violence and is intended to help applicants understand U.S. laws regarding domestic violence and how to get help if you need it. To access the pamphlet, please click on the following link:
New USCIS Immigrant Fee
Effective February 1, 2013, USCIS will require immigrant visa recipients to pay an additional fee of $165 USD. The fee covers the costs to process, produce and issue documents, such as your Green Card.
Immigrant visa recipients must pay the fee prior to traveling to the United States. Payments are made online at www.USCIS.gov/ImmigrantFee. Payments cannot be made at the U.S. Interests Section. Payments can be made with either a credit or debit card or via transfer from a U.S. bank account. Anyone can pay the USCIS immigrant fee on behalf of the visa recipient. The Alien Number and Case ID are necessary to make the online payment.
For more information, please visit http://www.uscis.gov/.
Special Requirements and Circumstances
Since July 2002, the Enhanced Boarder Security and Visa Reform Act some applicants require additional administrative processing. While we make every attempt to promptly issue travel documents to qualified applicants, at times it may be necessary to wait several weeks to several months for the completion of the additional administrative processing.
Under certain conditions, the Cuban government may delay or impede the travel of Cuban citizens who obtain U.S. immigrant visas or transportation letters. The United States government plays no part in this process, and cannot intervene on behalf of any individual to assist with or expedite their travel.
Scheduling Immigrant Visa Appointments
With the exception of fiancé visas and the few immigrant visa petitions that are filed in Havana, all immigrant visa cases are processed and scheduled by the National Visa Center (NVC). The petitioner will be sent the necessary forms and instructions, and will submit the fees and most of the required documents to the NVC. When the file is complete and the case is current, the petitioner will be notified of the time and date of the interview appointment for his or her relative in Cuba by mail. Appointment availability can vary but generally, appointments for immigrant visa applicants are scheduled within two months of the file being complete.
Filing Petitions for Immigrant Visas in Havana
Federal regulations state that only persons who can demonstrate that they reside in Cuba will be allowed to file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative in Havana. Please contact the Havana office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to see if you qualify and to obtain the forms and current fees. Petitions filed in Havana are filed at the USCIS office at Malecón and J in the Vedado section of Havana, not at the consular section, although petitioners must pay the filing fee at the cashier in the consular section. All persons not residing in Cuba should file their petitions with USCIS in the United States.
AMERICAN CITIZENS WITH EMERGENCIES
If you are an American citizen and have an emergency, please call the main switchboard at (+53)(7) 839-4100 and dial 1 to speak with the emergency operator.
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