How to travel to Cuba from the United States?

In the Trump era, can Americans travel to Cuba? The answer is “yes,” despite President Trump’s recent announcements. But it is recommended that they get information to comply with the new travel to Cuba restrictions.

According to what Trump promised, the persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction will not be able to wake up one morning and decide to travel to Cuba individually. That is still an aspiration.

During the Obama administration the ban on tourism was maintained, but Americans could plan on their own their trip and their itineraries, as long as they could justify before OFAC that their stay in Cuba allowed for a “significant interaction” with the Cubans to increase “people-to-people” contacts.

The new policy of the Trump administration modifies that status by categorically banning self-directed individual travel. The trips to Cuba will probably require more paperwork and will be regularly audited to ensure compliance with the restrictions.

Group travel

However, it is still allowed to enroll in group trips, through authorized agencies – like OnCuba Travel -, if the trip’s aim corresponds to one of the 12 categories authorized to travel to the island.

These are:

  1. family visits
  2. official business of the U.S. government
  3. foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
  4. journalistic activity
  5. professional research and professional meetings
  6. educational activities
  7. religious activities
  8. public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
  9. support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects
  10. activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
  11. exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials
  12. and certain authorized export transactions.

U.S. citizens or residents in the United States who were born in Cuba or are descendants of Cubans can visit their first-degree relatives (parents, children, siblings or spouses) or of second degree (uncles, cousins and second cousins) with unlimited frequency or duration of the visits.

When does the new policy come into force?

The announced changes will not come into effect until new regulations are issued,” affirms the Treasury Department’s page of FAQs.  It will take months for this to come into force.

Meanwhile, the Cuba destination will continue being a real possibility for Americans.

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