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. Fox renewed O'Reilly contract despite knowing of allegations

    Nation

    NEW YORK (AP) — The Fox News Channel says the company knew a news analyst planned to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against Bill O'Reilly when it renewed the popular personality's contract in February.

    Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly appears on the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," in New York. O'Reilly has lost his job at Fox News Channel in April following reports that several women had been paid millions of dollars to keep quiet about harassment allegations. [Associated Press file]
  2. Conviction overturned 30 years later in neo-Nazi murder case

    Criminal

    TAMPA — A judge on Friday overturned the murder conviction of Dean McKee now that new evidence has raised doubt about McKee's guilt in a Tampa slaying that occurred nearly three decades ago when he was 16.

    In 1987, a St. Petersburg Times reporter interviewed Dean McKee for a story about young skinheads in Tampa. [Times | 1987]
  3. Experts have some theories on who's carrying out Seminole Heights killings

    Crime

    The words serial killer tend to conjure an image of a middle-aged white man, likely a loner. He stabs or chokes or strangles, murdering up close for the thrill, straight out of central casting.

    A memorial was set up where Anthony Naiboa, 20, was found shot to death in Seminole Heights. Some experts who have reviewed information in the case say that whoever is behind the three Seminole Heights killings may live in the area. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  4. Late fumble, field goal send Florida State to another loss

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher didn't have an explanation for the turning point in Saturday's 31-28 last-second loss to Louisville.

    Louisville's Lamar Jackson gets past Florida State's Matthew Thomas to score in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Tallahassee Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) FLSC102
  5. Funeral starts for soldier at center of Trump fight

    Military

    COOPER CITY, Fla. (AP) — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102