Cuba Immigration and Customs Policy Changes under Consideration

By Daniel Palacios   (Café Fuerte)

Miami passenger arrivals to the Jose Martí International Airport of Havana.
Miami passenger arrivals to the Jose Martí International Airport of Havana.

HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban government is considering lowering to three years the period of prohibition of entry to the country after an act of illegal immigration and plans to expand the amount of currency that travelers can carry upon entry without formally declaring it.

Both measures are at an advanced level of analysis for implementation, and would constitute further changes to the immigration and customs regulations in force, according to an official of the Bureau of Identification, Immigration and Nationality of the Ministry of Interior (MININT) .

The source, who requested anonymity, told Café Fuerte that the implementation date of the new measures is uncertain, but did not rule that could be this year.

The new immigration policy, launched in January 2013, allows temporary return to the country to people who left the country illegally after 1990, provided eight years since their flight has passed. Exceptions to the possibility of returning are those who left through the Guantánamo Naval Base outside the exodus of 1994, endangering the country’s defense and national security.

Some resistance

As for the influx of money there are currently no restrictions on the amount of foreign exchange a traveler can bring into the country but he/she must declare the total amount if it exceeds US $5,000.

“The move to expand the amount of foreign currency that can be entered without declaring has received some resistance within the working group, as this could provide an opening money laundering operations, drug trafficking, among other possible negative results” said the official who did not specify the new amount to be authorized.

He added that so far “this is a topic that has been treated with the utmost discretion” within MININT.

According to the source, also under study are at least three other changes within the immigration regulations, some concerning the entry and movement in the country of the private sector, but declined to elaborate on the matter.

Government plans seem to point to a larger inflow of capital into the country and the monetary contribution of emigrants to the national economy in the shortest time possible.

Evidence of a new regulation on the entry of money into the country comes after recent moves by the Cuba Customs Office regarding the list of recognized operating package and message services from United States agencies, and the warning on passengers carrying packages for third parties, that could result in criminal penalties for travelers.


5 thoughts on “Cuba Immigration and Customs Policy Changes under Consideration

  • Does anyone know the immigration figures for Cuba – excluding returning Cubans. I am always interested in the Che T-shirt visitors extolling the virtues of “SOCIALISMO” and wonder why they don’t immigrate to Cuba. I watched a bunch of them fawning over their guide at the Che mausoleum in Santa Clara and expressing their admiration for Fidel and Raul Castro Ruz and Ernesto Guevara and wondered if they had similar admiration for the late Albert Pierrepoint. (The UK’s last official executioner).

  • My wife is a Cubana and has a five year passport.

  • The Castros motivation behind the reforms are very transparent. This is a regime desperate to attract hard currency to slow the tailspin of the moribund Castro economy. This impending action further makes the point to maintain the pressure the US embargo attempts to put upon the dictatorship. The Castros historically on respond when their backs are against the wall. They could have made these changes to immigration policy years ago but are only now considering doing so out of necessity.

  • The communist party needs to show some dignity and stop stealing money from cubans leaving overseas.

    Where is the need for the passport renovation every two years? This is only about stealing from cuban families. The Cuban passport should be valid for 10 years.

  • Translation: the Castro regime wants the gusanos to come and bring their money.

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