United States limits tourist visa for Cubans

Mara Tekach, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy in Havana (Screenshot)

MIAMI, United States. – The U.S. Embassy in Havana announced on Friday that starting March 18, 2019, the B2 visa, usually used for tourist travel, family visits and medical treatment, will reduce its validity to three months and a single entry.

The announcement was made by the Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Mara Tekach, who explained that this is an alignment of reciprocity that is taking place in U.S. embassies in all countries.

“When a country grants a visa or tourist card to U.S. citizens for a certain period of time, we will do the same with the citizens of that country who receive a U.S. visa,” the official said.

In this sense, Tekach specified that the modification is based on the fact that Cuba gives U.S. visitors a ticket valid for only two months, with a possible extension for an additional month, while, for this category, the United States gives Cuban citizens multiple-entry visas valid for five years.

The Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy also made it clear that the modification does not affect other visa categories for Cuban citizens, such as B1 visas for business travel or events, or F visas for academic or language studies.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Lydia Barraza told Univision journalist Mario Vallejo that the measure will not be applied retroactively, so people with multiple-entry visas to the United States can continue to enter the country until their permits expire.

Here is the communiqué issued by the U.S. Embassy in Havana:

Reduction of the Validity of the B2 Visa for Cuban Nationals

Beginning March 18, 2019, the United States will reduce the validity of the B2 visa for Cuban nationals to three months with one entry. U.S. immigration law provides that visa fees and visa validity periods are reciprocal, whenever feasible, with the treatment offered to U.S. citizens. Cuba grants U.S. tourists single-entry visas for a two-month stay, extendable for another 30 days for a total of three months, for a fee of $50. Before the change in validity, we granted Cuban B2 visa applicants a multiple-entry visa with 60 months validity for $160. The State Department has reduced the validity of the B2 visa to three months and a single entry for Cuban nationals to match the lower validity granted by the Cuban government to U.S. citizens in similar categories.

The B2 visa category is for tourism, family visits, medical treatment and similar travel purposes. No other visa categories for Cuban nationals will be subject to modification.

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