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Unpopular exit permits in Cuba to be abolished

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Unpopular exit permits in Cuba to be abolished
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Cubans will soon no longer have to obtain exit permits and official invitations before travelling to other countries. Only a passport and visa will be required.

They will also be able to stay abroad for up to two years instead of 11 months.

The move is likely to be widely welcomed as the current exit permit process is long, expensive and unpopular.

For decades Cubans have faced massive restrictions on the right to travel. It failed to stop hundreds of thousands of people from leaving illegally. Many went to the US.

The new rules will come into force in January. Observers will want to see what the latest reform under President Raul Castro means in practice.

Highly-qualified people are still likely to face red tape, and it is thought the rules will still allow the government to prevent dissidents from travelling.