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A New Dawn in U.S.-Cuba Relations: The Reopening of the USCIS Havana Field Office

  • By: Immigration Attorney Osas Iyamu
  • Published: August 19, 2023
U.S. and Cuba flags symbolizing renewed relations

The U.S.-Cuba relationship has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the years. However, a recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcement has brought a fresh wave of optimism. Through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), DHS has declared the reopening of an international field office in Havana, Cuba.

A Glimpse into the Past

The USCIS Havana Field Office was previously closed on December 10, 2018, due to a reallocation of agency resources. This followed the long-term suspension of operations in 2017 after the U.S. Department of State ordered all non-essential personnel and their families to leave Cuba.

Services to Look Forward To

The Havana office is set to assist with U.S. immigration benefits and services. This includes conducting interviews, processing cases for pending Cuban Family Reunification Parole (CFRP) cases, and handling Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petitions. Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, emphasized the importance of this move, stating that it aims to reduce unlawful entries, deny resources to smuggling organizations, and streamline access to lawful pathways for those seeking humanitarian relief.

Modernizing Immigration Processes

In recent developments, DHS has made efforts to modernize the immigration process. For instance, the Cuban Family Reunification Parole (CFRP) program, established in 2007, now allows applicants to complete most steps on a secure online platform. This makes the process more efficient and user-friendly.

A Broader Perspective

The reopening of the USCIS Havana Field Office is part of a broader effort to restore USCIS’s presence outside the U.S. This move aligns with the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to facilitate safe, legal, and orderly migration.

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