Cuba visa processing halted, again

By Gay Nagle Myers
The Cuban Interests Section (CIS) has suspended consular services for the second time in less than three months, after being unable to find a U.S.-based bank to handle its diplomatic accounts.

That means the CIS is not issuing visas for travel to Cuba.

"Consular services will only be provided for humanitarian cases," the CIS said, adding that it regretted any negative impact on travelers.

The CIS first stopped processing applications on Nov. 27 for passports and visas for travel to Cuba when its bank, Buffalo-based M&T Bank, said it would no longer provide financial services to foreign diplomatic missions.

On Dec. 9, CIS temporarily reopened its consular services, following M&T's decision to postpone until March 1 the closing of accounts of Cuba's mission in Washington and New York.

Feb. 14 was set as the last date for deposits, according to a CIS statement.

Last November, CIS had cited restrictions stemming from the U.S.'s 53-year trade embargo with Cuba for the inability to find a new bank.

Travelers scheduled to depart on people-to-people tours to Cuba in March already have their visas.

Visa processing can take as long as 45 days.

Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly. 
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