Full U.S. visa processing for Cuban citizens to resume in early 2023

Cuba Biden
The move marks the first time in almost exactly five years that the U.S. has allowed full visa processing for Cubans.

Four and a half months after announcing visa processing services for Cubans would resume on a limited basis, President Joe Biden’s administration confirmed Wednesday that the United States Embassy in Cuba will begin processing full immigrant vises early next year.

The two neighboring nations have reached accords ensuring the legal migration of at least 20,000 Cubans annually, not including immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. As part of the agreement, the U.S. government will stop requiring Cubans to seek visas in family preference categories to travel to Guyana for their interviews.

“Supporting the Cuban people and Cuban-American families remains a top U.S. priority,” said Ambassador Brian Nichols, the Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

The move marks the first time in almost exactly five years that the U.S. has allowed full visa processing for Cubans. In September 2017, former President Donald Trump’s administration paused services for the citizens of its former Cold War foe.

Under Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, the two countries had eased relations, opening embassies, expanding travel options, negotiating policy agreements and restoring commercial flights. In March 2016, Obama became the first U.S. President to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge traveled there in 1928.

Both men delivered speeches when they visited. It remains to be seen whether Biden will follow suit.

Data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection show attempted border crossings in into the U.S. have increased sharply over the last year. U.S. officials stopped Cubans trying to enter the U.S. 19,057 times in August alone, a more than fourfold increase from August 2021.

Unrest on the island has also grown louder. In July 2022, thousands of Cubans openly protested in the largest nationwide demonstration against the government since the 1959 Cuban revolution. Cuban activists in America did the same stateside, while several Republican politicians criticized Biden for not taking a stronger stance against the communist regime of Miguel Díaz-Canel.

Several Democratic political players in Florida praised the Biden administration for reestablishing consular services at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba.

“These actions will help Cuban families reunited with their loved ones, alleviate the high cost for Cubans and their families having to travel to Guyana for consular interviews, and prevent many Cubans from the dangers of crossing the borders of, in some instances, several countries fleeing from the Castro-Canel regime in their quest for freedom,” Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz said in a statement.

Miami Sen. Annette Taddeo, who immigrated to the U.S. from Colombia after Cuban-funded terrorists kidnapped her father, expressed similar sentiments on Twitter.

“Today’s announcement by the Biden administration will ensure Cubans no longer have to travel to Guyana to apply for a visa, which is costly and impractical for most, and provide them with an orderly process for handling their applications,” she wrote in Spanish. “It will also help reunite Cubans in the United States with their loved ones and enhance the Cuban Family Reunification Permit Program for eligible individuals.”


This is a developing story and will be updated. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Elliott Offen

    September 22, 2022 at 10:44 am

    Illegals pouring in from Cuba. As long as they vote for the neo nazi GOP then it’s ok. Hand citizenship out like pancakes…

  • PeterH

    September 22, 2022 at 12:26 pm

    Great development. Cuban citizens are highly dedicated! Florida and the USA in general has so many businesses dangerously understaffed.

    We need about 11,000,000 new immigrants.

    • Elliott Offen

      September 22, 2022 at 12:30 pm

      That’s because they don’t want to pay people shit. I don’t feel sorry for them. Let em rot…

Comments are closed.


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