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Cuba announces new migration policy & validity for 10 years instead of six

For Cubans over the age of 16, the State Department said passports will be valid for 10 years instead of six, and the cost of renewing travel documents outside the island will be cut by more than half.

Cuba on Tuesday announced measures easing restrictions on its citizens living abroad as the communist-run country continues to grapple with an unprecedented exodus of migrants to the United States.

For Cubans over the age of 16, the State Department said passports will be valid for 10 years instead of six, and the cost of renewing travel documents outside the island will be cut by more than half.

The department also removed the requirement that Cubans pay a fee every two years, even before their passports expire, to maintain their active status.

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The new rules will go into effect on July 1, said Ernesto Soberon, director of consular affairs at the Cuban Foreign Ministry. According to him, the measures are aimed at “strengthening ties with the Cuban community abroad”.

Cuba has restricted the emigration of its citizens for decades, and many Cubans living abroad complain of bureaucratic red tape and exorbitant fees for maintaining ties and renewing travel documents with their home country.

More than 300,000 Cubans arrived at the U.S. border last year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol data, a record exodus amid an unprecedented economic crisis.

Migration from the island has further stressed the country’s already near-collapsed economy and is weighing heavily on Cuban society, with many families broken and scattered around the world.

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