Cuba has been well informed in recent years, and there is great confusion about how Americans can visit Cuba. After my unbelievable 48 hours in Havana, the magical capital of Cuba, I've got a lot of questions about logistics.
While there is some bureaucracy, it is still very likely that Americans visit this unique Caribbean island and worth it! Certainly some programming is needed, but Cuba is a good place worth a place in each traveler's spoon list.
Ready for tropical escape you will never forget? Here's all you need to know about how Americans can visit Cuba.
New Laws for Americans Traveling to Cuba
Cuban-American relations are a constantly evolving situation. In fact, only in April 2019, new sanctions were introduced.
The new regulations hinder "non-family travel" along with the limitation of the amount of money people can send to the US in Cuba. Tightening up constraints is not so great news for cruise companies and for some airlines that offer direct flights daily to Cuba.
The good news is that you are still very likely to get there.
Understand the categories of trips
There are 11 categories of travel that allow Americans to visit Cuba. It is important to know that you will choose your own category.
It's a bit like depositing your taxes when you choose what's right then keep your documentation in case of a possible check.
Here are the travel classes in Cuba that have been approved by OFAC:
- Family visits
- Official activities of the US Government or foreign governments
- Professional research and business meetings
- Educational activities
- Religious activities
- Public performances, clinics, workshops, sports and other events and exhibitions
- Support for the people of Cuba
- Humanitarian projects
- Activities of private institutions or research or educational institutions
- Export, import or transmission of information or information material
How To Travel Independently In Cuba
For independent trips, "support for Cubans" is usually the best option. In order to use this category, you will want to have "contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba or promote the Cuban people's independence from the Cuban authorities leading to substantial interaction with people in Cuba"read here the fine print).
To travel as an independent traveler, you can follow the new policies:
- State that you are traveling to any of the 11 categories, including the Cuba Support category. You can register this category when booking your flights, cruise and your stay, and when you are re-admitted to the United States.
- Make sure your route reflects your category or the reason for your trip to Cuba. Stay in locally-run accommodation, "Casa Particulars" (and Airbnbs), eat at local restaurants and support local businesses.
- Avoid staying in hotels that are banned by the US Department of State and you spend money on businesses belonging to military operations (read here).
The whole process of selecting your purpose seems a bit complicated, but simply saying that you support the locals is quite simple and is the best way to live in Cuba! Americans can visit Cuba under this travel category by supporting local businessmen.
Go to local museums, independent markets, artistic performances, and generally just deal fully with the inhabitants of Cuba. The simple discussion of culture with the locals is enough to make it fit for this purpose.
The basic thing to keep in mind is that you need to create a full-time path that indicates you will do the above.
Read more: How to spend 48 hours in Havana
How to travel to Cuba on a group trip
The category "People in Educational People" allows you to travel to Cuba with a group of tour guides. To claim this type of travel, you must be a US travel agent during your trip – as part of the new sanctions, the travel agent is required to be an American company that focuses on the educational activities that bring the traveler in touch the Cuban people, not the Cuban government ".
Like the Cuban People's Democracy Support Group, you need to have a full-time trip full of cultural exchanges and learning. Again, this is not really really hard to do.
Eating Cuban dishes in local restaurants, chatting with people on the beach, going to galleries and the like is enough.
If you arrive in Cuba on a cruise, you can still choose to explore independently or make land excursions, but you have to follow the same general rules – avoid spending money on military operations. Take care of local facilities and companies! You will also need to get your Cuban "tourist card", which can be purchased through your cruise operator.
Read more: Top 15 things to do in Havana
How to Get the Cuban Tourist Card
Whatever choice you will have, you will need to get a Cuban "tourist card". It is important to note that this is not the same as a "tourist visa", although both names could be used.
Only people from the following countries need a real "tourist visa" to travel to Cuba: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka .
Most other countries only need one tourist card. This card means that Americans can visit Cuba for 30 days (or up to 90 days for Canadians and some other selected nationalities).
You will also need a valid passport and travel insurance receipt covering emergency medical and evacuation medical conditions. I bought my insurance policy through World Nomads, and I never had any issues to claim them!
If you fly from the US to Cuba, you will need a more expensive tourist card (pink card) that costs $ 99. If you can, have a stay outside the US, and you can buy a green tourist card for $ 39 even if you have a US passport.
Cuba Visa Services is the official partner of American Airlines and Southwest Airlines. They are known to give the best prices on the Pink Tourist Card for Cuba and are generally a trusted company, so this is a good place to get started.
You can buy Cuba Travel Card online with Cuba Visa State Visa Services, or through your airline, before your flight or at the gate.
Remember to stay organized! I had a great time on my cruise to Cuba, but it was largely organized for me, so it was very simple and easy to keep the records (but very limited in free time!). Whether you are traveling on a tour or traveling independently, you have to keep proof.
In fact, the US government requires you to keep them for up to five years to prove your expenses there!