HAVANA, January 14 (RIA Novosti) – Cuban authorities have lifted decades-old travel restrictions allowing citizens to go abroad without exits visas and spend more time overseas starting Monday.
The new measures scrap regulations imposed back in 1961 that obliged Cubans to obtain the exit visa and a letter of invitation from someone in their country of destination.
The exit visa fees could total around $300, what is 15 times higher than an average salary in the Communist-run island. Now, the Cubans need a one-time application for a passport worth $100, and renewable for $20 every two years.
Under the new rules, the Cubans are allowed to stay abroad up to 24 months without losing their residency rights. The limit was 12 months before the rules were enacted on Monday.
The eased rules also repealed travel restrictions for Cuban healthcare professionals, who were not eligible to leave the island without a special permit issued by top officials.
The Cuban officials have kept their right to deny trips abroad for those citizens involved in defense, national security and “public interest” as well as famous sportsmen. The new rules also forbid people whose work is related to economic development, scientists and people facing criminal charges to leave.