It's extremely hard to keep track of the fluid situation with Cuba-USA.

As of now, can a normal Cuban (I just mean - not a political activist, not a trillionaire, etc) visit the US for one week, on the usual "tourism or basic business meeting" rationale?

What's the situation?

  • Except those who can be supported by family already in the USA, I doubt a normal Cuban has any way to visit the USA regardless of visa status. Most salaries are paid entirely, or nearly so, in a non-convertible Cuban peso. The exchange rate to convertible pesos is 25:1. Mar 27 '18 at 0:26

While the US Embassy in Cuba continues its suspension of visa services, Cuban nationals are able to apply for a nonimmigrant visa to enter the US.

Nonimmigrant Visa Scheduling

Are applicants attending already-scheduled visa interviews?
No. The U.S. Embassy in Havana has canceled all previously-scheduled nonimmigrant and immigrant visa interview appointments. Cuban applicants for U.S. nonimmigrant visas may apply at a different U.S. embassy or consulate. Please visit www.ustraveldocs.com to schedule an interview.

Can Cuban nationals apply for nonimmigrant visas at U.S. embassies or consulates in other countries?
Yes. Cuban nationals, like nationals of other countries, may apply for visas at any U.S. embassy or consulate around the world, but must be physically present in that country. Nonimmigrant visa application fees paid in Havana, however, are not transferrable to another embassy or consulate, so the fee must be paid again for the new application.

Will the U.S. Embassy process nonimmigrant visas in emergency situations?
The only nonimmigrant visa applications at the U.S. embassy in Havana will be able to process are those for diplomatic or official (category A or G) visas or extremely rare emergency cases in when the applicant has a life-threatening illness requiring treatment in the United States. This requires a letter from a physician or medical facility in the United States, stating they are willing to treat your specific ailment and detailing the projected length and cost of treatment (including hospitalization fees, and all medical-related expenses). If the applicant meets these circumstances, please contact havanaconsularinfo@state.gov in order to make an appointment with U.S. Embassy Havana.

How do applicants schedule an appointment with a different embassy or consulate?
Please visit www.ustraveldocs.com to schedule an interview.

What if I already paid for a visa interview, will the U.S. Embassy in Havana schedule an nonimmigrant interview for me in a third country?
No, applicants are responsible for rescheduling their own nonimmigrant visa interviews. Cuban nationals, like nationals of other countries, may apply for visas at our embassies and consulates in other countries around the world. Please visit www.ustraveldocs.com to schedule an interview.

Will the type of visa change if I apply in a third country?
The visa type will not change depending on where you apply for a U.S. visa. For more information on which types of visas are available, please visit http://www.ustraveldocs.com/cu/cu-niv-visatypeinfo.asp

Do all members of a group need to travel to a third country for a visa interview or can the group leader interview for everyone?
All Cuban applicants require an in-person interview, so all applicants will need to travel to a third country for the interview.

For applicants who are unable to travel to another country for a visa interview, what can they do?
Fees paid in Havana remain valid for one year from the date of payment and may be used for a visa application in Havana should visa operations resume within that time frame.

Thank you to @yms who commented that there has been a recent change. On March 29, 2018, the State Department announced the following:

Update to Immigrant Visa Processing for Cuban Nationals

Since January, immigrant visa interview appointments for Cuban nationals have been scheduled at U.S. Embassy Bogota. This was due to a drawdown in staffing in Cuba to protect the safety of our personnel.

On April 1, we will begin transferring current immigrant visa applications and scheduling immigrant visa interviews for Cuban nationals at U.S. Embassy Georgetown, Guyana. Guyana will then be the primary site for processing immigrant visa applications for Cubans. The first interviews will take place in June.

As we transition immigrant visa operations for Cuban nationals to Guyana, we will continue to communicate with applicants, so they have current information. No applicants should make travel plans until they have a scheduled visa interview appointment.

In determining an alternative location, now Georgetown, Guyana, we considered a number of factors including availability of flights, visa requirements, space to accommodate additional applicant files, and availability of staff. Cubans do not need a visa to travel to Guyana. As before, Cuban applicants for routine non-immigrant visas may apply at any U.S. embassy or consulate outside Cuba.

  • Fascinating, are you saying basically Cubans have to go to a US embassy >in another country< (say .. Canada?? Brasil??) to get a US tourist visa?? thanks for this!
    – Fattie
    Mar 26 '18 at 18:48
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    @Fattie, yup, that's exactly what they must do currently. For immigrant visas, it must be at the Embassy in Bogotá, Colombia, requiring a two-week stay, at minimum.
    – Giorgio
    Mar 26 '18 at 19:02
  • Thanks - I see, but for ordinary tourist visa (1 week stay in the states), really what countries do they have to go to ?? Cheers
    – Fattie
    Mar 26 '18 at 19:07
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    @Fattie closest would be in Haiti, The Bahamas, Jamaica, Dominican Republic... much would depend on an individual's circumstances, wouldn't it.
    – Giorgio
    Mar 26 '18 at 19:33
  • 4
    @Giorgio this is not accurate, the only embassy that deals with Cuban visas is the one in Guyana. Until very recently, it was only in Colombia. They changed it to Guyana because Cubans don't need a visa to go there. caribbeanlifenews.com/stories/2018/4/…
    – yms
    Apr 15 '18 at 20:34

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