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Clarifying doubts about the latest immigration measures

The series of immigration measures that entered into force this 1st. January 2018 demonstrate Cuba's willingness to continue updating its migration policy and adapt it to the current context and conditions

11 de enero de 2018 - Taken from Granma

The 1st of January 1, 2018, a group of measures came into force that give continuity to the updating of the migration policy and the strengthening of Cuba's relations with its emigration.

These sovereign decisions demonstrate the Cuban will to continue advancing along this path, despite the aggressiveness of the US administration, the strengthening of the blockade and the implementation of unilateral actions that hinder the natural flow of people between the two countries.

For its implementation, legal norms were issued and published in the Official Gazette on December 30 and from which these ten questions are formulated with their answers.

1. How can Cuban children born abroad  of Cuban parents obtain their citizenship ?

Until the entry into force of the new measures, it was necessary to remain in the country for a specific period of time (settlement) to complete the citizenship process for children born abroad of Cuban parents.
From this 1st. In January, the requirement of settlement is eliminated and the procedures can be carried out in Cuban consulates around the world and in the corresponding Ministry of the Interior offices, if the interested party or his representative is in Cuba.

The foregoing was established in Decree-Law No. 352, which adds that the application for the acquisition of Cuban citizenship by birth of minors or declared disabled is processed, duly authorized, by the parents or their legal representatives.

In the event that both parents are not present at the beginning of the process, the authorization of the one that is not presented by a document issued before a Notary Public or the corresponding Consul must be accredited.

It also provides for the case in which the applications relate to persons declared as disabled, with suspension of parental authority or deceased, for which these circumstances must be accredited with the corresponding official documents.

2. What will happen to the children of people who obtain citizenship in this way?

According to the stipulations, the children of persons who obtain Cuban citizenship by birth, when they reach the age of majority, can also request the acquisition of Cuban citizenship, provided that they demonstrate permanent ties and stable relations with the country during a period of time. Minimum period of two years prior to submitting the application and pass the citizenship test.

The Ministry of Education is in charge of the preparation of the exam, which will follow the international practices and check, among other aspects, that the interested person speaks clearly the Spanish language and understands it without difficulty; knows the constitutional regulations on the political, administrative and social organization of the country; the national symbols; citizens' rights and duties; the historical periods and their main leaders; the geographical characteristics of the country and the current general knowledge of the national events.

3. What is the cost and how long does it take to obtain citizenship?

In accordance with the resolutions issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the procedure for obtaining citizenship will be free of charge.

However, the legalizations, procedures and other necessary procedures that are required (for example, birth certifications) maintain the usual rates.

Regarding time, Decree-Law 352 establishes that Cuban consulates and paperwork offices have a period of 20 working days to send the files initiated to the head of the Directorate of Identification and Immigration of the Ministry of the Interior, who att the same time,  has 30 business days after the receipt to issue a resolution on its admission or  a denial.

In the event that any file is returned due to lack of any of the documents or requirements, the interested party has a period of one year to complete it. Likewise, anyone who submits an application for the acquisition of Cuban citizenship by birth and does not attend to be notified, without providing sufficient reason for their non-appearance, after one calendar year the file is filed.

According to information offered to Granma newspaper, the fact that the file is archived does not imply that the interested party can not go through the process again.

4. What limitations exist to obtain citizenship in this way?

Among the Special Provisions of Decree-Law 352, it is noted that when the Cuban father or mother or legal representatives of minors have committed acts or "carried out actions against the political, social and economic foundations of the Cuban State ", the file is filed and the applicant is notified. However, the minor children of the persons described, upon reaching the age of majority, can request the acquisition of Cuban citizenship following the current norms.

5. How does the emigration benefit the abolition of the authorization ?

The qualification of the passport was a requirement established in the Decree No. 26 of the Regulation of the Migration Law, of July 19, 1978, which remained in force after the migratory update of January 2013, when the entry and exit permits were removed from the country. The current measure abolishes this extra procedure that migrants had to carry out once and that was valid for all trips, benefiting more than 800,000 people. In the case of people who have the Residence Permit Abroad, the qualification requirement is maintained, according to the new regulations.

6. Is the renewal of the passport maintained every two years?

Yes. Although there is a tendency to confuse them, the authorization of the passport and its extension are two different things. According to the current law, the current passport is valid for two years and can be extended for an equal term up to a total of six years. Hence, the new regulations do not include the elimination or transformation of these requirements.

7. Who can travel on recreational boats to Cuba and which marinas are enabled?

In addition to foreign tourists, who were already approved, now opens the possibility that Cubans living abroad enter and leave the country on yachts. The points enabled are the International Tourist Marinas Hemingway, of Havana, and Gaviota-Varadero. According to the official information, once the conditions are created, it will be progressively extended to other marinas

8. Can residents of Cuba embark on yachts?

At the moment, no. In April 2016, a series of regulations on the enlistment of Cuban citizens in merchant ships, as well as the use of cruise ships and yachts were announced. At that time, it was established: "To authorize gradually and once the conditions have been created , the entry and exit of Cuban citizens, regardless of their immigration status, as passengers and crew on pleasure boats (yachts). But it was clarified that the implementation of this measure would be announced in due course. As previously explained by the competent authorities, the country is immersed in a process of expansion and creation of conditions in the marinas to be able to handle the flow of passengers.

9. What can authorized yachts do and bring with them?

Resolution No. 336 of 2017 of the General Customs Office of the Republic, published in the same Official Gazette No. 63, recalls that "foreign recreational vessels that arrive in the Republic of Cuba can only be used to carry out operations for tourism purposes. "It is also established that yachtsmen can only import their personal effects" provided that the quantities, articles and values  correspond to what is established in the legislation in force " , the temporary importation of motor vehicles that arrive aboard recreational vessels only to foreign yachtsmen is authorized. The latter excludes Cubans living abroad from entering the country in this way for the time being.

10. Who benefits from the measure that permits the entry into the country of citizens who left illegally?

The phenomenon of illegal migration in Cuba has undergone changes. The agreement with the United States in this matter signed on January 12, 2017 abolished the policy of dry feet-wet feet, although it left the Act of Adjustment in force.

The truth is that the number of people who use illegal paths has suffered a drastic reduction since then, ratifying Cuba's historical position that this policy was the main incentive to illegal migration of its nationals.

Now, in another sovereign measure, eight years of waiting to enter the country of Cuban citizens who left illegally are eliminated The measure benefits all those who used this route from 2010 until the date of entry into force. Except all those who did it through the illegal US Naval Base in Guantánamo, because they put national security of the country at risk .

In the case of those who abandoned medical missions, sports delegations or diplomatic or official functions, are not included in the present  dispositions, because they came out legally. However, since September 2015 the Ministry of Public Health approved that, in the case of doctors, those who wish may rejoin the tasks of the National Health System, where they will have similar conditions to those they had.