The Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program (CFRP) created in 2007 remains in effect, but is currently suspended. Although it is quite probable that under the administration of President Joe Biden it will be reactivated again.
However, if you are a Cuban citizen, we can advise you on everything related to American residency by family petition. Our Los Angeles California immigration attorneys have more than 50 years of combined experience helping immigrants.
Get in touch with us and in a no-obligation consultation we can analyze your case and give you some useful advice.
What is the CFRP Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program
The Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program (CFRP) was suspended in 2017. They deprived security reasons and the significant reduction of the staff of the US embassy in Cuba.
Likewise, the USCIS field office in Havana was permanently closed since December 2018. This has prevented the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from sending new invitations to the program since 2016.
Through the CFRP program, certain US citizens and legal permanent residents (LPR) can request an immigration parole for some of their relatives in Cuba.
The Family Reunification Program for Cubans is part of the humanitarian migratory agreements between Cuba and the United States.
Through such agreements (1994 and 1995), the US assumes the commitment to guarantee a minimum of 20,000 Cuban migrants per year. This figure does not include immediate family members of US citizens.
To meet the number of immigrants set forth in the settlements, in 2007, USCIS created this program.
CFRP permanency permit benefits
If this entry permit is granted, Cuban relatives can obtain a series of benefits:
- Legally enter the U.S.
- Obtain an immigrant visa. They don’t have to worry about visa availability or 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 only need to meet the requirements, have a residence permit and have been present for one year in the US.
Family reunification process for cubans in 2021
Only those who have received an invitation from the NVC can apply for the CFRP program. No resident in Cuba who meets the application requirements can self-apply.
Potential petitioners (citizens or permanent residents) should ensure that the NVC has their current mailing address. To do this they need to contact the NVC and then submit a Public Inquiry Form online.
The application requirements and documents depend on the date the NVC invited you to apply for the CFRP Program.
- If the notice of eligibility was received before December 18, 2014 then:
- You must have sent the documents requested by the NVC before February 17, 2015.
- The process is free so you do not have to pay a fee to request this immigration parole.
- People who did not apply for this program when they submitted the documents to the NVC prior to February 17, 2015:
- They must wait for the NVC to send them a new written invitation before they can apply for the CFRP Program.
Upon receiving the invitation, the petitioner must:
- Complete and sign Form I-131, along with supporting documents; and
- Send the required fee or, failing that, a fee waiver request.
Note: The invitation letter clearly specifies how and where to apply. Before receiving the invitation letter, no application should be submitted to USCIS.
Incomplete or no fee CFRP applications submitted after February 17, 2015, will be rejected.
Who is eligible to petition for relatives under CFRP?
The CFRP application is submitted by the petitioner through Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. The eligibility conditions to request Cuban relatives under the CFRP program are the following:
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident;
- Have a Form I-130 approved by USCIS;
- There is not yet an immigrant visa available for the requested relative; Y
- Have been invited to participate in the program by the National Visa Center (NVC).
While to be the main beneficiary of the program abroad there are two fundamental requirements:
- Be a Cuban citizen with residence in Cuba; Y
- Have a sponsoring relative (petitioner) who has received an invitation to participate in the CFRP Program.
Steps to verify Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program eligibility
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 Alien Relative Petition (I-130) already approved.
How much does it cost to apply for the CFRP program?
The 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 the fee exemption.
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. They can also check the USCIS website.
Those within the US can pay this fee:
- Online through a 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 local USCIS office in Los Angeles no longer accepts money orders or cashier’s checks.
If you want to pay by check, you must ensure that you have sufficient funds in your account. This will avoid delays in the processing process or rejections of the application.
If you apply online, be sure to apply on an official United States government website. All government sites and 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 immigration parole is not automatically obtained. The final decision is left to the discretion of USCIS officials, but 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 examination.
- They are admissible in the USA.
- They guarantee a favorable exercise of discretion.
Having committed a felony or having a criminal record will be an obstacle 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 at the United States Embassy in Havana issue the travel permit to the beneficiary. With this document, the Cuban beneficiary can travel to the United States.
Once you are at a US port of entry, you can request parole from a CBP officer.
USCIS advises waiting to have the CFRP travel document before making any final decisions. This will prevent problems in the future if any issues arise with the CFRP grant.
The agency does not guarantee that this program is the most expeditious route in the immigration process. The family reunification program for Cubans is not always the most suitable for all eligible foreigners.
How fast are CFRP applications processed?
There are two circumstances to take into account:
1. It will depend on several factors whether this program or the visa processing is faster for the immigrant. Namely:
- Availability of the immigrant visa for the Cuban relative.
- Speed with which immigration parole is requested on behalf of the relative.
- If you need to submit additional information requested by USCIS to determine the beneficiary’s 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.
People who obtain a permit to stay under CFRP, can apply for permanent residence after one year of being present in the US or when their visa is available.
Other elements to consider
Foreigners who wait outside the US for an available visa number, when they enter they do so as LPR.
Once admitted to the US, they also receive work authorization. You do not need to pay a work permit application fee for this.
If an immigrant visa is available during the CFRP immigration parole process, you can:
- Choose to continue with the entry / stay permit process; or
- Wait for the Department of State to process your immigrant visa application.
If you choose the second option, you will have to pay the fees associated with that. The application fee for the CFRP program will not be reimbursed to the applicant.
Documentation to be submitted on the day of the interview
During the interview at the headquarters of the US embassy in Havana, applicants need to present 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 undergone any changes.
- 2 front photos, size 50mm x 50mm, in color and with a white background.
- Birth certificate.
- Marriage certificate (if requested).
- Divorce certificate (if requested).
- In case of being a widower, present the death certificate of the spouse.
- Evidence of the family relationship between the CFRP parole applicant and the claimant (who asks for the Cuban relative).
- If the main applicant is a sibling, you must present both your birth certificate and that of the claimant.
- Certification of criminal records and / or court decisions if the applicant is over 16 years of age. The document must have been issued within the 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 and unmarried should be done as well. But only if they are summoned to the interview together with the applicant.
- Affidavit of Financial Support, Form I-134 . If the applicant applied for the program before February 17, 2015 and if the consular officer requests it.
Scheduling appointments for the CFRP program
The NVC sends an appointment notice for the interview at the United States Embassy in Havana. Both for the main applicant and 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 data 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, he or she should contact the Information Unit of the Department of State. The email is: [email protected] .
Only applicants for immigration parole should attend the interview. Lawyers or relatives are not allowed. Except in cases where the beneficiary:
- Be a disabled person;
- A minor under 17 years of age; or
- Belong to IR1, CR1, F2A and K1 visa categories .
Is it possible to request an advance appointment for the interview?
Only in the following circumstances could the US embassy consider an appointment advance:
- The claimant is terminally ill and his death is imminent. Medical evidence of the disease must be presented 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 this case, you should also send an email to the Information Unit of the Department of State.
Appeals for denial of CFRP immigration parole
Actually, there is no way to appeal 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:
Embassy of the United States in Havana
Reference: Reconsideration of parole
Calzada between L and M
Havana City 10400.
In early February 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to “expedite” the naturalization of immigrants. Within its policy of immigration inclusion, it also signed the decree for the reunification of separated migrant families.
Likewise, it is expected that at any time the family reunification process for Cubans will be reactivated at any time.
If you need further information about the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program or any immigration related matter you can call us. Schedule an appointment without obligation with us to clarify all your doubts on the subject.