WASHINGTON (AP) — Even though Cuba's government will no longer require Cubans to get an exit visa in order to leave the country, Cubans still won't be able to just get on a plane to the United States.
An immigration lawyer points out that Cubans still need to get a visa issued by the State Department in order to travel to the United States. Homeland Security officials who review passenger lists for U.S.-bound flights are likely to order an airline to deny boarding to anyone who doesn't have that permission.
A State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, says U.S. visa requirements "remain unchanged." But she says the U.S. welcomes any reforms that will let Cubans leave their own country and return there freely.
Under 1994 accords between the two countries, the U.S. has encouraged Cuba to take steps to prevent any mass exodus.
Cubans who do make it to the United States, regardless of whether or not they have a visa, are generally admitted.