Cuba's private sector concerned over new visa policy

Cubans already face complex situation when seeking U.S. visas

HAVANA, Cuba – The new policy that limits tourist visas for Cubans traveling to the United States to three months and one entry has caused quite the stir on the island. 

On Monday afternoon, when the new policy went into effect, the U.S. Embassy in Havana held a question-and-answer forum on their Facebook page. More than a thousand people made comments or asked questions. 

The U.S. government says starting Monday, B2 visas will only allow a single entry for a three-month stay. 

Mara Tekach, the U.S. Embassy’s charge d’affaires, said the change was intended to achieve reciprocity between the visa rules of the U.S. and Cuba, which issues Americans single-entry tourist visas allowing a stay of up to three months. 

Miguel Morales Menendez, who owns Moneda Cubana restaurant in Old Havana, told Local 10 many private sector workers are forced to go abroad to buy products not found in Cuba. 

Now, entrepreneurs, or “cuentapropistas” as they’re known in Cuba, will have to travel to other countries or purchase merchandise from third parties likely at higher cost. 

With a partially shut down American embassy, Cubans already face a complex and costly endeavor in trying to obtain a tourist visa to the U.S. by having to travel to third countries for processing. 

About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.