The United States Department of State announced the resumption of the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program (CFRP). A set of measures to help the Cuban people was also announced, as well as the increase in the capacity of consular services in Cuba.
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Resumption Of The Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program In 2023
The Family Reunification Program for Cubans is part of the humanitarian migration agreements between Cuba and the United States.
- Through such agreements (1994 and 1995), the US assumed the commitment to guarantee the minimum annual admission of 20,000 Cuban migrants.
- This figure does not include immediate relatives of US citizens.
Due to the diplomatic rapprochement between the US and Cuban governments, the CFRP program is being resumed. The decision is part of the policy changes announced by the Biden administration towards Cuba at the beginning of the year.
In a statement issued in June, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the start of contacts with Cuban citizens who have pending applications.
What Is The CFRP Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program In The United States
The Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program (CFRP) was created in 2007. It is a program administered by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 10 years after its creation, it was suspended by President Donald Trump.
For this, security reasons and the significant reduction of the personnel of the US embassy in Cuba prevailed. Subsequently, since December 2018, the USCIS field office in Havana was permanently closed.
This has prevented USCIS from being able to send new invitations for this program since 2016, which allows certain US citizens and legal permanent residents (LPR), to request an immigration parole for some of their relatives in Cuba. Fortunately, today the scenario is different with the announcement of the resumption of the program.
Family Reunification Process For Cubans In 2023
- They can only apply for the CFRP program for non-immediate relatives, who have received an invitation from the NVC.
- No resident of Cuba who meets the application requirements can self-apply.
Note: Prospective petitioners (citizens or permanent residents) should ensure that the NVC has their current mailing address. For this they need to contact the NVC and then submit an Online Public Inquiry Form.
Requirements Based On NVC Invitation Date
The requirements and application documents depend on the date the NVC invited you to apply for the CFRP Program.
- If the eligibility notice was received before December 18, 2014 then:
- You must have submitted the documents requested by the NVC by February 17, 2015.
- The process is free, so you do not have to pay a fee to apply for this immigration parole.
- People who did not apply for this program when they submitted documents to the NVC before February 17, 2015:
- They must wait for the NVC to issue a new written invitation before they can apply for the CFRP Program.
Upon receipt of the invitation the petitioner must:
- Complete and sign Form I-131, along with supporting documents; and
- Submit the required fee or, failing that, a fee waiver request.
Note: The invitation letter clearly specifies how and where to apply. Before receiving the letter of invitation, no application should be submitted to USCIS. Incomplete or fee-free CFRP applications submitted after February 17, 2015, will be rejected.
Benefits Of The Stay Permit Under CFRP
When this entry permit is granted, Cuban relatives can obtain a series of benefits including:
- Enter the US legally.
- Obtain an immigrant visa. They do not have to worry about the availability of visas or the immigration priority date.
- Apply for a work authorization upon arrival in the US, while processing the Green Card.
Remember that the entry permit alone does not grant legal immigration status to the beneficiary in the US. However, the Cuban Adjustment Act allows citizens of Cuba to become permanent residents. They just need to meet the requirements, have a residence permit and have been present for one year in the US.
Latest News On Family Reunification For Cubans In 2023
The Biden administration is taking a series of measures aimed at increasing aid to the Cuban people. Currently, the nationals of the Caribbean island face a severe economic and humanitarian crisis.
The suffering of Cubans has increased as a result of the increased repression against those who ask for more freedom and the deepening of the economic crisis. That is why the US government is resuming the family reunification program.
Chronology In The Resumption Of Family Reunification For Cubans
The concrete actions for the resumption of the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program are the following:
- In May of this year, the restoration of the program, which had been paralyzed since 2017, was announced. It was suspended after the serious “health incidents” that affected several consular officials in Havana.
- The resumption of operations related to the CFRP Program was announced for the summer.
- One of the first actions was to contact and inform petitioners who had a pending application about what to do to complete the processing of their application.
- The DHS clarified that the applicant for the Cuban parole cannot initiate this process by himself.
- The decision whether or not to grant parole is made on a case-by-case basis. For this it is necessary for the applicant to complete the process and attend an interview.
- In parallel to the CFRP, the government is also resuming the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRP).
- The United States Embassy in Cuba announced in mid-June the scheduling of immigrant visa appointments for immediate family members. That is, spouses and children under the age of 21 of US citizens.
- The restart of the interviews was announced for July 2022. But in May the IR-5 cases (parents of US citizens) began to be processed. Interviews for the CFRP take place in Havana.
DHS justified the policy change by saying that the people of Cuba and Haiti “are facing a humanitarian crisis and our policy is focused on empowering people to help them create a future free from repression and economic suffering.”
You may also be interested in reading our article on the Venezuelan Adjustment Act.
Who Is Eligible To Petition Relatives Under CFRP?
The CFRP program includes the following non-immediate relatives:
- First Preference: Unmarried children over the age of 21 of a US citizen.
- Second Preference (2A): Spouse of a permanent resident or Green Card holder and their unmarried children under the age of 21.
- Third and Fourth Preference : Married children of any US citizen and siblings of a US citizen.
Eligibility Conditions To Request A Cuban Relative
The CFRP application is filed by the petitioner through Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. The eligibility conditions to apply for Cuban relatives under the CFRP program are the following:
- Be a US citizen or permanent resident;
- Have a Form I-130 approved by USCIS;
- An immigrant visa is not yet available for the requested family member; and
- Have been invited to participate in the program by the National Visa Center (NVC).
While to be the main beneficiary of the alien program there are two fundamental requirements:
- Be a Cuban citizen residing in Cuba; and
- Have a sponsoring family member (petitioner) who has received an invitation to participate in the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program.
Steps To Verify Eligibility For CFRP
To determine if you qualify to apply for parole for a Cuban relative you must:
- Access the CFRP verification section of the official USCIS website.
- Enter the case number assigned by the Department of State for the approved Petition for Alien Relative (I-130).
Do you know that it is possible to become an American citizen without speaking English. In our blog you will find the answer.
How Much Does It Cost To Apply For The CFRP Program?
The applicable application fee for filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document is $575. This fee is paid for each CFRP Program application submitted. Although you can also request a fee waiver.
If you wish to do so, you must follow the USCIS instructions on how to file a fee waiver.
To pay the fee, petitioners residing outside the US should contact the respective US embassy. You can also check the USCIS website. Those within the US have several options for paying this fee:
- Online via credit/debit card or bank withdrawal.
- By mail with check, money order or card.
- In person at a local USCIS office by check.
However, the USCIS field office in Los Angeles no longer accepts money orders or cashier’s checks. If you wish to pay by check, please make sure you have sufficient funds in your account. This will avoid delays in the processing process or rejection of the application.
If you apply online, make sure you do so on an official US government website. All government sites as well as emails end in “.gov”.
What Happens After USCIS Receives The CFRP Application?
USCIS reviews the application form and supporting documents. If you meet the eligibility requirements, the NVC forwards the application to the US Embassy in Havana.
The consular staff of the embassy interviews the beneficiary in Havana to decide whether to grant the entry permit. During the process, beneficiaries must provide their biometric data, that is, fingerprints and photographs.
This migratory parole is not obtained automatically. The final decision is left to the discretion of USCIS officials, but is generally granted to those who:
- Meet the eligibility requirements for the CFRP program.
- Meet the eligibility requirements to obtain an immigrant visa. Unless you already have an immigrant visa number available.
- Pass the criminal background check.
- Pass the immigrant medical exam.
- They are admissible in the US.
- They guarantee an exercise of favorable discretion.
Having committed a felony or having a criminal record will be a barrier to obtaining CFRP. Before applying, it is advisable to speak with a criminal lawyer who is an expert in immigration law.
What Happens After USCIS Grants CFRP Parole?
- Officials from the Embassy of the United States in Havana issue the parole to the beneficiary. With this document, the Cuban beneficiary can travel to the US.
- Once you are at a US port of entry, you can apply for a CBP officer’s parole.
USCIS advises waiting until you have the CFRP travel document before making any final decisions. This will avoid problems in the future if something goes wrong with the CFRP award.
The agency does not guarantee that this program is the most expeditious path in the immigration process. The Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program is not always the most suitable for all eligible national foreigners.
How Quickly Are CFRP Program Applications Processed?
There are two circumstances to consider:
1. It will depend on several factors to make this program or visa processing faster for the alient:
- Availability of the immigrant visa for the Cuban relative.
- Speed with which the immigration parole is requested in the name of the family member.
- If you need to submit additional information requested by USCIS to determine beneficiary eligibility.
- Date scheduled to travel to the US after CFRP approval.
2. The fees associated with the CFRP program and waiting for an immigrant visa outside of the US differ.
Individuals who obtain permission to stay under CFRP can apply for permanent residence after one year of being present in the US or when their visa becomes available.
Other Elements To Consider
Aliens waiting outside the US for an available visa number enter as LPRs when they enter.
Once admitted to the US, they also receive work authorization. There is no need to pay a work permit application fee for this.
In the event that an immigrant visa becomes available during the immigration parole process under CFRP, you can:
- Choose to continue with the process of permission to enter / remain; or
- Wait for the Department of State to process your immigrant visa application.
If you go for the second option, you will need to pay the fees associated with it. The CFRP application fee will not be refunded to the applicant.
Do you know what an immigration waiver of inadmissibility is? Here we explain it in detail.
Documentation To Be Submitted On The Day Of The Interview
During the interview at the US Embassy in Havana, applicants need to submit the following documents:
- Valid passport as a Cuban citizen.
- Immigrant visa form DS-230 (part I and II). Make sure before filling it out that the form has not had any changes.
- 2 photos of the front, size 50mm x 50mm, in color and with a white background.
- Birth certificate.
- Marriage certificate (if requested).
- Divorce certificate (if requested).
- If you are a widower, submit the spouse’s death certificate.
- Evidence of the family relationship between the CFRP parole applicant and the claimant (who is requesting the Cuban relative).
- If the primary applicant is a sibling, you must submit both your birth certificate and the claimant’s birth certificate.
- Certification of criminal record and/or judicial sentences if the applicant is over 16 years of age. The document must have been issued within six months prior to the date of the interview.
- Medical examination carried out in one of the accredited hospitals for this purpose. The medical examination of children under 21 years of age and unmarried must also be done. But only if they are summoned to the interview together with the applicant.
- Affidavit of Financial Support, Form I-134. If the applicant joined the program before February 17, 2015 and if the consular officer requests it.
CFRP Appointment Scheduling
The NVC sends an appointment notice for the interview at the US Embassy in Havana. Both for the main applicant and for their relatives included in the I-130 form, if applicable.
It is not necessary to contact the NVC or the embassy again. Unless it is required to report a change in the information provided that affects the eligibility of the beneficiary. That is, marriage, divorce or the birth of a child.
If for reasons of force majeure the applicant cannot attend the scheduled appointment, they must notify the Information Unit of the Department of State. The email is: [email protected].
Only applicants for immigration parole should attend the interview. The presence of lawyers or relatives is not allowed. Except in cases where the beneficiary:
- Be a disabled person;
- A minor under 17 years of age; either
- Belong to the IR1, CR1, F2A and K1 (Fiancé(e) visa) US visa categories.
Is It Possible To Move the Appointment for the interview Forward?
Only in the following circumstances could the US embassy consider moving the appointment forward:
- The claimant is terminally ill and death is imminent. Medical evidence of the disease must be submitted with its respective diagnosis and prognosis. It also applies to CFRP applicants.
- Minor children in the custody of parents benefiting from immigrant visas, which expire before the minor’s scheduled appointment. In such a case, you must also send an email to the Information Unit of the Department of State.
CFRP Immigration Parole Denial Appeals
The truth is that there is no provision for appealing the denial of CP1 (main applicant) and CP3 (Cuban family parole).
But the applicant can send an email or letter asking USCIS to have their case reconsidered. This must be done within 45 days of the date the decision was made.
You should also write to: [email protected] or send the letter by mail to the following address:
Embajada de los Estados Unidos en La Habana
Referencia: Reconsideración de parole
Calzada entre L y M
Ciudad Habana 10400.
Can an immigration appeal be won? In the link we explain everything you need to know about the subject.
If you have a relative in the US and you need to start the process of family reunification for Cubans, we can help you. We are lawyers of Cuban origin, experts in immigration matters.
If you wish, you can call us and schedule an appointment without commitments with us to clarify all your doubts on the subject.
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