Flights to Haiti won’t be starting any time soon; visas to come to the U.S. are on hold

Travelers who have been been waiting to fly in and out of Haiti’s volatile capital ever since international flights were canceled on March 4 shouldn’t make any travel plans before May. U.S.-based commercial carriers are still staying out of Port-au-Prince.

American Airlines, which had announced it would restart its daily service on Wednesday between Miami International Airport and Port-au-Prince’s Toussaint Louverture International Airport, is now saying that the earliest its flights may resume is May 2.

Fort Lauderdale-based Spirit Airlines, which flies into both Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien in the north, says all of its flights into Haiti remain canceled until further notice. Meanwhile, JetBlue Airways says it’s still looking at May 15 for the resumption of flights between Port-au-Prince and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International and John F. Kennedy International airports.

The ongoing flight cancellations come as armed gangs continue to create panic in Port-au-Prince with heavy gunfire. The violence has left many people stranded and few options for escaping. Sunrise Airways is flying to Miami from Cap-Haïtien, charging more than $900 for a one-way ticket.

High ticket costs and limited travel options are not the only obstacles facing Haitians wishing to get a respite from the capital’s violence and uncertainty.

READ MORE: Haiti’s journalists appeal for help amid increasing threats, country’s unraveling

On Monday, the U.S. State Department announced that its won’t be processing requests for immigrant and non-immigrant visas unless it’s a life-and-death emergency, with proof of travel plans, until further notice.

Haitians seeking to get a visa to visit the United States will need to continue to wait or go to a U.S. embassy or consulate outside of Haiti. To do the latter, an applicant would have to first write to the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country they plan on visiting to ask that their visa application be transferred from the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince for consideration. Applicants should be able to legally travel to the country in question and be prepared to stay there until their application is processed.

A State Department spokesperson also said for questions related to languages spoken by staff members, Haitians should ask when contacting the specific embassy or consulate. A consular officer may require an English translation of documents and applicants may need to provide an interpreter if they do not speak a language in common with staff in the embassy or consulate.

Applicants can find the contact information for Immigrant Visa Units at U.S. embassies and consulates at The applicant should provide evidence, if possible, of their presence in the country to which they would like their case to be transferred, or documentation of their ability to enter and remain in that country for the duration of the immigrant visa process.

If the application is pending at the U.S. National Visa Center, such as a petition for a green card for a relative, applicants may contact the center at to request a transfer to another immigrant visa processing post. Applicants should be prepared to provide evidence of the ability to enter and remain in the requested country for the duration of the process.

This is not the first time that the State Department has suspended regular visa service in Haiti, where both an escalation in gang violence and the COVID-19 pandemic created a backlog of applicants. In addition to facing increased refusal rates, Haitians were also waiting more than 18 months for an appointment.

In September, as many Haitian nationals faced an expiration of the visa fees they paid during the pandemic, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince announced it was opening up a large number of non-immigrant visa appointments. However, the first available openings weren’t until 2026.

At the time of the announcement, embassy officials acknowledged that they did not know when normal visa services would resume.