Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Cubans seeking move to U.S. must get visas in Colombia now

The U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba, is closed to most visa applicants now because of mysterious "health attacks" against personnel there. Applicants now must travel to Bogota, Colombia. [Associated Press]

The U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba, is closed to most visa applicants now because of mysterious "health attacks" against personnel there. Applicants now must travel to Bogota, Colombia. [Associated Press]

The State Department has announced a plan for issuing visas to Cuban citizens while the service is suspended at the U.S. Embassy in Havana over mysterious "health attacks" against American diplomats.

Here's how it will work, according to an e-mail from the State Department in response to a query from the Tampa Bay Times:

"In the coming weeks, we will begin transferring current immigrant visa applications and scheduling immigrant visa interviews for Cuban nationals at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia."

Applicants must be physically present.

"Cuban applicants for nonimmigrant visas may apply at any U.S. embassy or consulate overseas, but must be physically present in the country at the time of the application," according to the statement.

"The only nonimmigrant visa applications at the U.S. embassy in Havana will be able to process are those for diplomatic or official visas or extremely rare emergency cases in when the applicant has a life-threatening illness requiring treatment in the United States.

"We understand this is a significant change and an inconvenience for visa applicants. The number of consular personnel in Cuba at this time, however, does not allow us to continue normal visa operations in Havana."

Citing concerns about mysterious health problems among American diplomats, including brain injury and hearing loss, the State Department ordered home more than half the personnel at its newly re-established embassy in Havana.

"Due to the drawdown in staffing, we have suspended almost all visa processing in Havana," the State Department said. "Staff remaining in Havana will carry out core diplomatic and consular functions, including providing emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in Cuba."

The United States has been providing 20,000 visas a year to Cuban immigrants.

The Tampa Bay area is home to the nation's third largest Cuban-American population.

Contact Paul Guzzo at pguzzo@tampabay.com. Follow @PGuzzoTimes.

Cubans seeking move to U.S. must get visas in Colombia now 10/12/17 [Last modified: Thursday, October 12, 2017 8:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Southeast Seminole Heights holds candlelight vigil for victims' families and each other

    News

    TAMPA — They came together in solidarity in Southeast Seminole Heights, to sustain three families in their grief and to confront fear, at a candlelight vigil held Sunday night in the central Tampa neighborhood.

    A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  2. It's not just Puerto Rico: FEMA bogs down in Florida, Texas too

    HOUSTON — Outside Rachel Roberts' house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads "Waiting on FEMA."

    Ernestino Leon sits among the debris removed from his family’s flood-damaged Bonita Springs home on Oct. 11. He has waited five weeks for FEMA to provide $10,000 to repair the home.
  3. McConnell says he's awaiting Trump guidance on health care

    STERLING, Va. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he's willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor if President Donald Trump makes clear he supports it.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “not certain yet” on what Trump wants.
  4. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.
  5. Jones: Where are the difference-makers on the Bucs defense?

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — They can't tackle. They can't cover. They can't pressure the quarterback, let alone sack him.

    Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) scrambles past Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (98) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]