REFUGEE APPLICATION PROCESS
If a person believes that he/she meets the refugee eligibility criteria, that person can apply for refugee status through the Havana Refugee Office.
To apply, the person must complete a Preliminary Questionnaire, 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 Office, located at Malecón and J, faxed to (537) 834-4515, or mailed to:
Sección de Intereses de los Estados Unidos
Oficina de Refugiados
Calzada e L y M
Vedado, Ciudad Habana
The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program involves a lengthy process. It can take several years from the submission of the Preliminary Questionnaire to final resettlement in the United States.
The application steps are as follows
- Submission of Preliminary Questionnaire
The applicant must submit a completed Preliminary Questionnaire to the Havana Refugee Office. The questionnaire must state the refugee applicant's claim and may include spouse and unmarried children under 21. Any child over 21 or married must complete their own preliminary questionnaire.
- Receipt of Active Case Letter
When the Refugee Office receives a completed Preliminary Questionnaire, the applicant is sent an Active Case Letter. This letter acknowledges receipt of the Preliminary Questionnaire, assigns a Case Number, and informs the applicant s/he may be contacted in the future for a pre-screening interview. Applicants are requested not to call or write to check on the status of their application. They should inform the Refugee Office of any change in address or telephone number where they can be contacted.
- 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 their interview. The purpose of the pre-screening interview is to make a preliminary determination of refugee eligibility. Cases that meet eligibility criteria will have a second interview with a United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) officer.
- 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 information about USCIS interviews, please, see the website: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis.
For information about requests for reconsideration by USCIS, see the website: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=c26164337c77e210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=385d3e4d77d73210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD
- Security Clearance
The refugee candidates must undergo a security clearance review by U.S. law enforcement agencies.
- Departure Documents
The refugee candidates must obtain documents from Cuban officials necessary to depart Cuba and enter the United States, including a passport, a medical examination certification.
- Refugee Flight Departure
Once all security clearances and documents are in order, the Refugee Office will contact the approved refugee for travel arrangements.
The Refugee Office 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.