Americans Traveling to Cuba
As an aid to our U. S. customers, here are some tips for Americans traveling to Cuba from the Cuba Handbook authored by Christopher P. Baker. These items indicate the United States position with regard to American citizens traveling to Cuba, including some of the travel options available to you.
Contrary to popular belief, US law does not prohibit Americans traveling to Cuba. However, tourism is effectively banned by the Trading With the Enemy Act, which prohibits US citizens from spending money there.
Following the Trump administration’s tightening of economic embargo against Cuba, many travelers report that the most difficult aspect of their trip is making sure that they do not spend money at a business with ties to the military.
Tourist Visa Required
Tourist travel to Cuba remains prohibited. You must obtain a license from the Department of Treasury or your travel must fall into one of 12 categories of authorized travel. See ENTRY, EXIT & VISA REQUIREMENTS below.
What You May Buy
Money may be spent only for purchases of items directly related to travel such as hotel accommodations, meals, and goods personally used by the traveler in Cuba at a rate not to exceed $100 per day or for the purchase of $100 worth of Cuban merchandise to be brought into the United States as accompanied baggage. Purchases of services related to travel, such as nonemergency medical services, are prohibited. The purchase of publications and other informational material is not restricted in any way.
Cuba Travel Tip! – Total Advantage Travel highly recommends that you choose a Canadian city for the Cuba travel departure. They will fly you to a Canadian gateway city easily, at reasonable rates, thereby eliminating some of the costs and inconveniences experienced by travelers to Cuba from Miami and other US departure points.read more
Cuba Has No Restrictions on American Tourists
The Cubans have no restrictions on US tourists. On the contrary, they welcome US visitors with open arms. The Cubans are savvy – they won’t stamp your passport. In 2017, Cuba received 1.5 million visitors from the U.S., including Cuban-Americans. In total, they had 4.7 million visitors, which was a 16 percent increase from 2016.
Cuba Travel Tip!
We highly recommend that you choose a Canadian city for your departure. We’ll fly you to Toronto, Montreal, Calgary or Vancouver easily, at reasonable rates, thereby eliminating some of the costs and inconveniences experienced by travelers to Cuba from Miami and other US departure points.
A Range of Options
Many ordinary US citizens and residents can also qualify for official travel status as “researchers.” The law states that “Specific licenses for transactions related to travel to, from, and within Cuba may be issued for persons engaging in professional research and similar activities” (my emphasis). Several organizations are licensed to offer educational trips and can assist you to meet qualification requirements.
In addition, “Specific licenses will be issued to persons for travel to Cuba for clearly defined educational activities – attendance at a meeting or conference – activities related to study for an undergraduate or graduate degree sponsored by a college or university located in the United States.”
Prior to October 1995, when the process became even more politicized as to who would be granted licenses, freelance journalists could travel to Cuba without asking Uncle Sam’s permission. Now they, too, need a license, thereby allowing the US government to veto the entry of particular journalists.
Read more ➝ Americans Going to Cuba for a Vacation
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