The Canadian Embassy in Havana has reopened following a temporary closure in May which left many Cubans without immigration services. Services previously provided such as visitor visas, study and work permits, and interviews for permanent residence applicants to Canada were no longer available after the shutdown.
The embassy is now offering some services to visa and permanent resident applicants.
The embassy closure was in response to employee safety concerns after several of the Canadian diplomatic staff and their families demonstrated symptoms of an un-diagnosed illness. Five Canadian diplomats and their families are suing the Canadian government for $28 million in damages.
None of the Cuban staff were affected.
Local staff has been employed and embassy services are partially restored. Biometrics collection, passport drop-off and visa pick-up is now available at the Canadian Embassy in Havana.
On its website, the Immigration Department stated:
“These services will facilitate the travel of Cubans to Canada and will make the process quicker, easier and less costly for applicants.”
However, the available services are currently limited. The embassy is not accepting paper applications for visas, work or study permits and applicants must apply online. It is hoped that full services will be resumed in the near future.
Applicants are still required to travel abroad for medical examinations and interviews to the Canadian visa offices in Mexico City or Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago causing increased costs to immigration applicants.