New US restrictions on travel is causing some confusion but TRAVEL TO CUBA IS STILL POSSIBLE & LEGAL for US Citizens/Residents!
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Only one of the 12 categories for travel to Cuba has been eliminated: Group People-to-People Educational Travel. This is the category that most tour operators were using to sponsor legal travel to Cuba for groups (accompanied by a Tour Director).
If you already booked and made a payment on a people-to-people program prior to June 5, 2019, you can still travel on that program. Check with your company to ensure the tour will still operate.
Cruises may no longer stop in Cuba on their itineraries as of June 5, 2019. Check with your cruise line for your updated itinerary.
So who does this impact?
This change impacts people only traveling from the U.S. (U.S. citizen, U.S. resident or anyone traveling from the U.S. to Cuba.)
You can check the full press release here on the US Department of the Treasury Website: https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm700
Lots of changes have taken places with travel to Cuba over the past 7 years, but it is still possible for travelers to visit Cuba.
How can I still travel to Cuba LEGALLY?
There are still several other licenses that you can travel under that DO NOT REQUIRE any additional applications or requests prior to travel. You can still fill out an online travel affidavit self-certifying that you will travel under one of those categories. Here are the categories:
- Family visit [515.561(a)]
- Official business of U.S. or foreign government, or intergovernmental organization [515.562]
- Journalistic activities [515.563]
- Professional research or meetings [515.564(1), 515.564(2)]
- Educational activities –for credit in connection with degree [515.565(a)] OR Educational Activities – not for credit through sponsoring organization/school [515.565 (a)(2)
- Religious activities in Cuba [515.566]
- Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions and exhibitions [515.567(a), 515.567(b)]
- Support for the Cuban people [515.574]
- Humanitarian projects [515.575]
- Activities of private foundations or research/ educational institutes [515.576]
- Activities related to the exportation or importation of informational materials [515.545]
- Certain export transactions [515.533]
Now let’s talk SUPPORT FOR THE CUBAN PEOPLE!
According to The US Department of the Treasury’s recent FAQ’s, this category for legal travel is still legal! The document states that you should “engage in activities that enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote Cuban people’s independence”.
Though a straightforward “tourism” category does not exist for travel to Cuba, don’t be thrown off by this! Under Support for the Cuban People you can still experience the magic of Cuba and its warm and inviting people. Going to places like a Casa particular, or private bed and breakfast, which will support a local family, using a private driver to get you around, going to private galleries, frequenting privately owned paladars (or local restaurants), are all examples of how you can qualify. And there’s many other types of activities that would support the Cuban people while visiting the country.
Let’s Get you to Cuba!
It is really important to understand that although one license or purpose of travel to Cuba has gone away, there still are many others that people can qualify under.You should work with a company that can help you understand what some of those licenses are and help you create a program that really will capture the essence of Cuba, while abiding by all regulations so that the travel is still legal.
For more information, feel free to contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 35-399-5882 so that one of our specialists can help you get started. You can also check out some of our Support for the Cuban People programs online: https://daiquiriusa.com/site/destination/cuba