Security Minister explains change to visa free transit arrangement for Cubans
The government has indicated that abuse of visa-free transit arrangement for Cubans led to a visa requirement for those travelers. Effective March 13, the visa free transit arrangement, for a period of up to three days for Cuban nationals, will be discontinued.
Government issued a statement Thursday seeking to clarify the matter, stating that a visa regime has always been in place for Cubans entering Jamaica, and it remains unchanged.
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang said recent conversations in the public domain regarding the government’s decision to equalize the visa regime for Cuban nationals transiting Jamaica’s ports have not benefited from all the facts.
He said while transiting Jamaica with return tickets has never required a visa, data however indicate that over the last 3 years, and particularly over the last year, there have been significant breaches of this arrangement by Cuban nationals.
Dr Chang explained that based on the abuse of this arrangement, the government took the decision to equalize the visa arrangements for Cubans visiting and transiting Jamaica.
He further explained that the current change, equalizes the process where both those passengers landing and transiting require a visa.
Noting that between July and December 2022, tens of thousands of Cuban nationals transited Jamaican ports en route to Central America and did not return, Dr Chang said the government cannot allow Jamaica to be used as an illegal transit point, whether perceived or detected, for people or contraband.
The security minister noted however, that Jamaica continues to enjoy a positive relationship with the government and people of Cuba, and all programmes and partnerships continue uninterrupted.