You cannot officially apply for asylum in Cuba, but you can apply for refugee status with the United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) in Cuba.
You can contact UNHCR in Cuba on
+53-7204 1512, +53-7204 1513, +53-7204 1514, or +53-7204 1515.
Their email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Their address is Calle 18 No. 110 between First and Third, Miramar, Havana, Cuba.
It’s open to the public on Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m.
In compliance with applicable international and national law requirements, UNHCR is obligated to assist refugees in finding a long-term solution to their predicament. Long-term remedies include:
Voluntary repatriation (voluntarily returning to your country of origin);
Local integration (staying legally and integrating in the country where you are); and Resettlement to a third country (applicable only if the above are not possible, subject to strictly established criteria and the willingness of a third country to accept a refugee who is not on its territory).
Resettlement is not a refugee’s right; even if she qualifies, she cannot select the destination country.
UNHCR determines which of the three durable solutions listed above is most appropriate for each refugee at the time that corresponds to the existing possibilities (situation in the country of origin and asylum; quotas resettlement available for certain countries, etc.) and other duly regulated criteria.
It should be highlighted that only a tiny proportion of refugees for whom resettlement in a third country is the most acceptable long-term solution are finally resettled.
Asylum process in Cuba
The legal procedure of determining refugee status is divided into many stages.
The initials are as follows:
A preliminary interview with UNHCR Cuba, during which they will present you with the required information about the determination procedure and provide you the paperwork that you must fill out if you want UNHCR to recognize you as a refugee.
If you decide to proceed with the process following the preliminary interview, you must complete and submit the form. In the same form, you must fill out your personal information, details regarding leaving your country and arriving in Cuba, as well as the reasons why you are unable to return home.
Along with your application, you must include all documentation that establish or support your identification, the manner in which you arrived in Cuba, and the aspects on which your application is based. The UNHCR registers you as an asylum seeker the moment your application is submitted.
The process of determining refugee status takes between one and two months on average and is overseen by the UNHCR Regional Office for Central America, Cuba, and Mexico, which is situated in Panama.
In the case of a family group, all adults must complete documents and will be interviewed individually. Adolescents, and in certain situations both boys and girls, may be interrogated if judged necessary.
I’m waiting for a response
Following the submission of your application, the refugee status determination process proceeds through the following stages:
Individual interview to comprehend and define all aspects of your issue.
Preparation of the legal assessment of the case and presentation of the appropriate documentation to the decision-makers;
Acceptance or rejection of your case;
The applicant will be notified in writing of the decision taken in accordance with international norms.
If you are recognized as a refugee, your family members may be granted the same status. You and your family members will be given a Certificate that will allow you to prove your refugee status. This is a certificate, not an official identification paper.
If your application is denied, you have the option of filing an appeal, for which UNHCR Cuba will explain the procedures and dates. The outcome of an appeal is final.
If your status as a refugee was not recognized in the final decision, you must explain your immigration status in Cuba with the appropriate authorities.
Because there are currently no rules in Cuba that guarantee the right to family reunification of refugees, UNHCR will be unable to assist other family members who do not accompany you in joining you in Cuba.
In some situations, and after being recognized as a refugee, material aid may be awarded in a timely manner as support to cover basic necessities, as long as the socioeconomic and vulnerability criteria of UNHCR’s internal regulations are met. In general, UNHCR cannot give you material aid until you have been officially determined to be a refugee.
Even if your case is accepted, keep in mind that material help is not a refugee’s right and is only supplied after an individual assessment and in compliance with internal processes.
Sources: Help UNHCR on Cuba