Cuba Legal Travel just got a bit more complicated. After Trump rolled back on travel liberations made by the Obama Administration, he cut off not only “people-to-people” visa category but now the group educational category that affects largely cruise ships.
But, No Need to Fear! Cuba Legal Travel is still here!
Trump might have disrupted cruisers (honestly, why would you come to an amazing place like Cuba on a ship for less than 24 hours I will never get) but the travel restriction did not affect flights
And most importantly….
It did not take away the “Support the Cuban People” visa category.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN, MARI?
Well before we start, it is important to note that Cuba does NOT have an embargo against the United States. Regardless of what passport you carry or what country (if you come from a third country i.e. Cancun to Havana) in from, Cuba will welcome you with open arms, café, and most likely dance lessons.
It defines the visa as activities are recognized human rights organization, independent organizations designed to promote democracy or individual’s organization that promote independent activity intendent to strengthen civil society in Cuba. Provision § 515.574(A) to this means the traveler must have a log of their itinerary for up to 5 years.
It means this visa has to record that you kept a full schedule seeing individuals or organization that directly help or show Cuban society.
You can’t you use your bank card to it, as that evidence against “supporting the Cuban people”..
But this visa category is extremely vague. The OFAC does not or will have a list of such organizations or individuals that promote “democracy” or “civil society” in Cuba. Nor can the OFAC track your cash money on the island.
What you need to do to fall under this category?
Like all categories, you must have a log of your itinerary for up to 5 years (501.601). It also means that itinerary has to show at least 8 hours of cultural experience. You do NOT need to have an itinerary prepared before you go, but if you want I got you!
Itineraries of such activities can include several tourist experiences.
- Curating a local tour with a local guide
- Eating at a local paladar (restaurant) can be considered “support of the Cuban people”
- Buying Cigars from a cigar farm directly from the farmer, not the government
- Classic Car Tours with Private car owners!
- Taking a class at a private owned business like salsa dancing, mojito class, afro-cuban history, cuban history, cooking class, ETC! so Much!
- Staying at a local casa particular, found on Airbnb!
- MANY MORE!!!
How Do I get My Support the Cuban People Visa? Mari, Help!
When you book your flight to Cuba you will be warned on all airline websites. Check the box that says Support of the Cuban people (if prompted to do so, some airlines don’t even have you do this rather just put the warning).
When you get to the airport, check-in will ask you the purpose of your travel. You simply state “Support of the Cuban People.” If they ask you for an itinerary and you don’t have one, you simply state you didn’t produce a hard copy. Or, you can have me customize one for you 😉
After that, all you have to do is buy the visa right at the gate or check in. Remember, Cuba does not have an embargo on the US so Americans are welcomes with open arms in Cuba.
ITS THAT SIMPLE!
When you come back to the US, it is very rare you will asked further questions besides “what did you bring” question at Immigration. And if you do, if you followed your itinerary, you have nothing to worry about!!
And remember, Cubba is cash-only and totally guilt-free.
So please don’t let the travel ban stop you from visiting this INCREDIBLE ISLAND!