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. Why the Bucs need a Dungy than a Gruden

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The worst week of Dirk Koetter's life rolls on.

  2. Love of science is the goal, now that every Pinellas elementary school has a lab

    K12

    SEMINOLE — It was hard for the second-graders at Orange Grove Elementary to resist the urge to rush into the school's science lab and tinker with the colorful objects neatly arranged on each table.

  3. Florida's $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks

    Real Estate

    In 2010, Florida was in the throes of an unprecedented housing crisis. One in every eight homes was in some stage of foreclosure.

  4. Being your own lawyer: bad idea. People in Tampa Bay do it anyway.

    Criminal

    LARGO — Daniel Richards walked into the courtroom in his orange jail scrubs. Carrying a stack of papers, he stood in front of Pinellas Circuit judge Chris Helinger as she glanced at the handwritten documents he filed days earlier.

  5. Dolls come in all colors at St. Petersburg's Woodson museum

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — As a little girl, Terri Lipsey Scott played with a baby doll named Sindy in Savannah, Ga. Scott is black, Sindy was white. Dana Battle, also black, had a white doll named Toni, in Los Angeles. There weren't many affordable dolls that reflected their race in the late 1950s and early 1960s, said …