On October 16, 2012, the government announced that in early 2013 Cubans would no longer be required to have an exit visa when leaving the country. This new policy was promised by President Raúl Castro in 2011 as a way to answer the rising calls for change by Cubans.
The new policy states that as of January 13, 2013, Cubans could leave the country on vacations or forever. They would only need a valid passport and a visa from the country of their destination. It also stated that Cubans could stay abroad longer, up to two years before they lose their citizenship and benefits. However, the new policy also stated that Cubans could be stopped from leaving the country for "defense and national security" reasons. This part of the new law suggested that while Castro and the Cuban government were answering the demands for change, they were also maintaining tight control of political dissidents.