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Cuban travel restrictions lifted for citizens

The communist Cuban government has lifted some highly restrictive travel laws which will make it easier for citizens to leave the country.

This is the first major landmark reform to the island’s migration policy in the last half a century. Starting from 14 January next year, changes are being made to reverse the tough travel restrictions imposed in 1961 when the government tried to put a stop to mass migration following the 1959 revolution which put dictator Fidel Castro in power.

The government announced earlier this week that it would lift restrictions on obtaining an exit visa which allows Cubans to leave the country and a letter of invitation from someone in the destination country. Once this comes into force, Cubans will only have to show their passport, national identity cards and, if required, a visa to the country they intend on visiting

The move to lift restrictions should make it easier for Cubans to travel, work overseas and return home when they want. Whilst Cubans might be able to move more freely within international boarders, there are concerns that those who leave might not want to return to the island.

According to Reuters, this is why many Cubans will still need to obtain visas from most countries they wish to visit. The new law also extends to the time limit of visas for foreigners wishing to live in Cuba.

“They want people to come and live in Cuba, and invest in the country,” said Antonio Zamora, a Cuban-American lawyer in Miami who travels frequently to the island to study Cuba's legal system. Cuba is a hugely popular holiday destination, attracting thousands of holidaymakers every year. The Foreign Commonwealth Office advises holidaymakers to take out comprehensive travel insurance, which you will be expected to present when arriving in the country.

Date Created: 19 October 2012

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