Cuba Strengthens Ties with the Diaspora with New Migratory Measures

By Alejandra Garcia on May 18, 2023

Starting this July 1, Cuba will apply a group of migratory measures longed for by Cubans on the island and the diaspora, aimed at strengthening ties between the country and its citizens living abroad. The measures include extending the validity of migratory documents and the cost of applying for them from other countries, and come in the midst of a high exodus of people and an economic crisis spurred on by the U.S. blockade.

The island decided that passports would be valid for ten years, instead of six, for Cubans over 16 years of age and cut by more than half the costs associated with renewing the travel documents off-island. The fee for passports at consulates will be US$180/€180 for those over 16 years of age and US$140/€140 for minors.

Also, the Cuban government will eliminate the requirement to extend the passport every two years and keep in force Cubans’ extension of stay abroad beyond 24 months automatically and free of charge, which was announced in March 2020 in order to support Cubans who were overseas during the critical period of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The new provisions are in tune with the policy of continuous enhancement of Cuba’s ties with its nationals abroad,” explained the director general of Consular Affairs and Cubans Residing Abroad of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ernesto Soberón Guzmán.

Passports valid for ten years will be those issued as of July 1, 2023, but this measure will not  apply retroactively. Those passports valid for six years and those to be issued soon will coexist until the first half of 2029.

Although officials considered placing stickers on passports that expire after six years, they determined that this would not be a solution since the volume of passports of Cubans inside and outside the country is very large, and this would take a long time. “It would go against the logic of the measures, which is to reduce paperwork and costs,” Soberón clarified.

Another of the population’s recommendations was to extend the validity without placing anything in the document. However, the MINREX official explained that foreign immigration authorities cannot be responsible for controlling the validity of passports.

The practical and objective approach is for these two official documents to coexist. When the six-year passports expire, the 10-year document will prevail. Likewise, as of July 1, no extension will be required for any travel document.

Another important measure announced by the authorities was that people who emigrated before January 1, 1971, no longer need an entry permit every time they travel to Cuba. They will be able to obtain a new passport and travel to the island with that document only.

As of July 1, Cubans, permanent residents abroad, those known as emigrants, will be able to stay in Cuba for up to one year. Foreign relatives, such as husbands or wives or children, will be able to stay on the island as long as they wish with their loved one, also for a period of one year.

According to Soberon, these decisions were being studied and respond to aspirations raised by nationals abroad in meetings with officials and the Foreign Ministry. “We must build a relationship with Cubans of respect and admiration,” the official said, quoting Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel’s own words.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – English