Faced with continued emigration, the Cuban regime announced Tuesday (16) a new migration policy.
The move is intended to ease restrictions on citizens living abroad as the communist-led Caribbean island continues to struggle with an unprecedented exodus of migrants to the United States.
The State Department said that passports for Cubans over 16 would now be valid for ten years instead of six, and the cost of renewing travel documents abroad would be cut by more than half.
The ministry is also eliminating the requirement that Cubans pay a fee every two years to maintain their active status, even if their passport has not expired.
The new rules go into effect July 1, according to Ernesto Soberon, director of consular affairs at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry.
He said the measures aim to “strengthen relations with the Cuban community abroad.”
Cuba has for decades restricted emigration by its citizens, and many Cubans living abroad complain of bureaucratic hurdles and exorbitant fees for maintaining ties with their home country and renewing travel documents.
According to US Customs and Border Protection, more than 300,000 Cubans arrived at the US border last year, a record-breaking emigration amid an unprecedented economic crisis.
Emigration from the island has further impacted the country’s already near-collapsed economy and burdened Cuban society heavily, with many families broken up and scattered around the globe.
News Cuba, English news Cuba, Cuban politics, migration