Reduced Visitor Visas Hit Cuban Business Owners
Cuban business owners and investors are struggling under new visitor visa rules imposed by the U.S. government.
The Miami Herald reports the coveted 5-year visitor visas relied upon by many Cubans are being eliminated. B-2 visas will now be valid for three months and allow one entry. The visas cover visits by relatives, tourism, and travel for medical purposes. But many small business owners and investors also use them.
WGCU News profiled one Cuban entrepreneur who had overcome the tight restrictions of Cuba's regime to become a successful maker of paper bags. He moved on to invest in several Miami ventures but is facing expiration of his visa.
A spokeswoman at the U.S. embassy in Havana said the change aimed to bring U.S. visas for Cubans in line with the length of visas Cuba gives to Americans. Supporters of the move contend it could force Cuba to extend longer visas to U.S. residents who wish to visit or return to Cuba. The visas Cuba issues U.S. citizens allow one entry and are good for two months, with an option to extend the stay by one additional month. Cuba also has a high rate of rejecting visa applications.
The Obama administration extended the visas for Cubans to five years in 2013, shortly before it announced the establishment of diplomatic relations with Havana.
A U.S.-Cuba immigration accord approved by the Clinton administration in 1996 guarantees 20,000 visas to Cubans each year in order to stem illegal emigration. Last year, the U.S. did not issue the limit of 20,000 visas for the first time in the 22 years since the agreement was signed.
Cuban Business Immigration Visas in Miami
While it's true many business owners and investors used the visitor visas to invest in Miami, better options are often available. The B-2 visa is a visitor or tourism visa, with its equivalent being the B-1 temporary business visa. Our business immigration lawyers in Miami can help best determine how to protect your rights. The most common options for Miami business visas include:
- E-2: Investors visa
- EB-2: Employment, exceptional ability or national interest
- L: Company transfers
- O: Persons of extraordinary ability
B-1 Temporary Business Visa
These visas are issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for a number of reasons:
- Consulting with business associates
- Traveling for educational or professional reasons
- Settling an estate
B-1 Visa Requirements include:
- Traveling to the U.S. for legitimate business
- Remain in U.S. for limited time
- Trip is appropriately funded
- Applicant has sufficient family or binding ties to ensure return to home country after visit
A B-1 temporary business visa can allow for stays in the U.S. of up to six months on any one trip in a 1-year time period. Applicants in the U.S. with another valid status may be eligible to change to B-1 status.
In today's political climate, it's the immigration enforcement efforts that make the news. But the truth is an experienced business immigration lawyer in Miami can be a surprisingly affordable resource when it comes to using a variety of legal means to keep valid your U.S. immigration status while protecting your rights as a business owner.