The law applies to any native or citizen of Cuba who has been inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States after January 1, 1959 and has been physically present for at least one year; and is admissible to the United States for Permanent Residence.
Ways of coming to the United States Legally.
Cubans in Cuba can legally migrate to the U.S. through various migration programs that include: (1) immigrant visa issuance, (2) refugee admission, (3) diversity lottery, and (4) the Special Cuban Migration Program (SCMP), otherwise known as the “Cuban lottery”.
- Immigrant visas are issued to the parents, spouses and children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of U.S. citizens as soon as the I-130 petition is approved by USCIS.
- Immigrant visas are also available to a range of persons who can qualify for family or employment-based visas under the so-called “preference system” which controls numerically limited immigration to the United States, based on filing category and nationality. The preference system allows U.S. citizens to bring their siblings and their adult married children to the United States. Lawful permanent residents of the United States can petition for petition for their spouses, minor children, and unmarried adult children). The waiting period for preference visas varies by category.
- Those who have been persecuted in Cuba, or who fear persecution (on the basis of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion), may apply for U.S. resettlement through our in country refugee processing unit at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.
- The diversity visa program is also available in Cuba. There are 55,000 visas available annually to eligible applicants from around the world. Generally, the success rate for Cuban applicants is quite high, usually better than 70%.
- The Special Cuban Migration Program, or “Cuban lottery,” is open to all adult Cubans between the ages of 18 and 55 years of age who are resident in Cuba regardless of whether they qualify for our immigrant visa or refugee programs. The lottery provides an avenue of legal migration to a diverse group of Cubans, including those who might not have close relatives in the United States.