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Cuba on the Verge of Significant Immigration Changes

Havana, Jan 9 (Prensa Latina) Just five days before new immigration changes take effect regarding the flow of Cubans to and from the country, local authorities are providing additional information about the immigration updates announced last October.

Starting January 14, Cubans will no longer need to apply for an exit permit to travel abroad, nor will they need to present a letter of invitation from hosts abroad. The change is greatly anticipated both within and outside the country.

Cubans will also be able to stay outside the country for up to two years without losing their residency, as opposed to the previous 11 month restriction. Minors under the age of 18 will be able to travel as long as they have authorization from their parents, and émigrés will be able to visit the country for up to 90 days as opposed to the previous 30 day limit.

Those who left the country illegally after the 1994 immigration accords with the United States will also be able to return to Cuba as long as eight years have passed since their departure, and the bases for repatriation have been increased.

Travel restrictions will still apply to those whose military service is pending, or are part of a professional workforce considered key to the country´s socio-economic development, or for reasons of defense and national security.

Colonel Lamberto Fraga said on national television last night that every country has the right to defend their societal interests and preserve their professional workforce, nevertheless, the majority of the travel requests ought to meet with a positive response, and the causes for a delayed request need not be permanent.


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