HAVANA, Cuba (ACN) -- US travel regulations have not changed and the requirements for a temporary or permanent visa application stay the same, said an official with the US Interest Section in Havana (USINT).
USINT General Consul Timothy Roche told Granma newspaper that his government “positively welcomes” the changes made to the Cuban Migration Law, but US regulations stay the same.
Roche said that Cubans who intend to travel to the United States must apply for a permit that must be approved by a consular official in an interview. He also stressed the need for the strict meeting of all established procedures to get a visa.
At present, Cubans have to wait 18 months to get an interview at the USINT, while the period of time to get the visa after the interview may vary, said the US official.
Non-immigrant visas are granted in two or three days, though for some cases needing an administrative process it could take up to 90 days, he said.
Those who apply for immigrant visas have to wait about 30 days after the interview to get their travel document, but some specific cases have to wait up to 120 or more days, said the official.
As to tourist visas, the law is strict, since the persons intending to travel to the United States must prove their strong links to the island in order to avoid that such persons do not stay in the US to work, the consul pointed out.
Roche said that all consular officials are required to assume that all Cubans applying for temporary visas are possible immigrants; therefore, it is very difficult for youths to get a visa to the United States.
However, figures published by the Cuban government revealed that most Cubans who travel to the US return to the island.
Since the year 2000 up to August 31, 2012, a total of 941,953 Cubans traveled abroad on personal business. Out of that figure, 120,705 did not return, which makes up just 12.8 percent, Granma daily reported.
The Consul General avoided talking about the Cuban Adjustment Act, which privileges illegal Cuban emigrants, or about the Cuban Medical Professional Parole program (CMPP), which promotes the defection of Cuban doctors working abroad.