In euros and only in cash: this is how the Spanish Consulate will charge the procedures in Cuba

The Consulate of Spain in Havana announced what Starting next Friday, July 1 the consular fees that people must pay in that institution will be only in euros and in cash.

In an update of these rates released on Friday by the diplomatic representation, it clarified that only the exact amount can be charged, so it will not give change when any procedure is carried out.

The new rates mean that Cubans will have to pay in a currency to which the vast majority do not have access and that in the informal market it has a prohibitive price of more than 100 pesos per euro. Until this announcement, Spain charged for consular services in Cuba in Cuban pesos.

Passports will cost 30 euros, visas 80, document legalizations ten, as well as compulsions. The Consulate published the complete list of the new rates.

This decision responds to a monetary measure established by the Central Bank of Cuba (BCC) that is considered as another step in the dollarization of the economy.and that forced several foreign representations in Cuba to temporarily suspend services that involve charging a certain amount.

The diplomatic representations of Panama, Mexico and Ecuador reported last week that they were indefinitely suspending their consular services, following the BCC directive that does not allow income from procedures invoiced in Cuban pesos (CUP) to be exchanged into foreign currency.

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The document issued by the BCC indicates that the embassies and consulates that determine to charge consular services in Cuban pesos, may only “deposit the funds in an account in that currency.”

Add that “From the accounts in Cuban pesos of the embassies and consulates” it will not be possible to make “transfers to accounts in freely convertible currency, nor payments abroad.”

The freely convertible currency (MLC) is a virtual currency valid only in Cuba whose reference is foreign currency. The MLC has been circulating in the country since the end of 2019 and is valid in a network of food and appliance stores established by the government and highly criticized for the economic apartheid they represent, since most Cubans do not have access to foreign currency.

The BCC instruction also allows consular procedures to be paid by transfer, either with pesos or with foreign currency, excluding the US dollar.

Given the complaints of the Cubans about the new measure, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX) minimized its effect.

“A very small number of Embassies accredited in Havana have recently announced their decision to temporarily suspend consular services,” MINREX reported on its Twitter account, replicating a message from Ernesto Soberón, general director of Consular and Cuban Affairs. Residents Abroad (DACCRE).

“In accordance with the provisions of BCC Instruction 01/2022, regarding the management of accounts in national and freely convertible currency, the diplomatic missions concerned require adjustments to the collection and payment mechanisms associated with their consular services,” he added. Soberón in a thread.

To conclude the message, he pointed out that the MINREX “keeps in communication with these embassies and Cuban financial institutions, with the aim of resolving this specific situation in the shortest possible time and with minimal damage to our nationals.”

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According to an EFE report, the order of the BCC was received with displeasure by some embassies, because it prevents them from transferring to their countries the money obtained by way of consular collection for the services they provide.

The measure is related, according to various sources, to the difference between the official exchange rate —from one dollar to 24 pesos— and the informal one, where the US bill costs about 100 CUP.

The exchange of national to foreign currency at the official rate and the departure of these currencies from the country is disadvantageous for the Government of Cuba, these sources added.

At least seven European embassies – including Italy and Germany – already charged for their consular services in euros before the BCC announcement.

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