FAQs About Cuba Travel Regulations | insightCuba

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Regulations

For the past 50 years, Americans have been all but forbidden to travel to Cuba. 

For only the third time since 1963, travel to Cuba is possible for any American through insightCuba’s people-to-people license issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. People-to-people travel to Cuba first became possible in 2000, and insightCuba led the way, sending thousands of Americans to Cuba for the first time in decades. 

We make the process easy.  Simply register on one of our Cuba Tours, and we take care of the rest. 

 

American's with a valid passport can travel to Cuba, provided they are traveling under one of 12 categories authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  The 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba are: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials; and certain authorized export transactions.

Guests traveling with insightCuba travel under the Support for the Cuban people license on all tours. Guests registered for the Havana Marathon travel under the Public Performances, Clinics, Workshops, Athletic and Other Competitions, and Exhibition license. 

For up-to-date information regarding the U.S. Embargo Against Cuba and the travel restrictions, please visit the U.S. Department of the Treasury's website at

http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/pages/cuba.aspx

 

 

Absolutely. By traveling with insightCuba, you are licensed and authorized to travel to Cuba. InsightCuba tours operate under a people-to-people license authorized by the United States Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Prior to your departure to Cuba, you will receive a certificate of travel to Cuba, allowing you to legally travel to Cuba.

Travel to Cuba for American citizens is still restricted by the U.S. Department of Treasury.  American's must travel within the 12 categories of authorized travel by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control. InsightCuba provides all of our participants authorization to travel under our People-to-People license, making their travel to Cuba 100% percent legal.

For more detailed information about travel restrictions for Americans visiting Cuba, please visit:  http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/programs/pages/cuba.aspx

It is still highly regulated by the U.S. Department of Treasury for Americans to travel to Cuba. However, any American can travel to Cuba with a valid passport, provided they are traveling under a license issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). InsightCuba is licensed to take any American with a passport to Cuba on one of our People-to-People Tours. 

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions, based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States. OFAC acts under Presidential national emergency powers, as well as authority granted by specific legislation, to impose controls on transactions and freeze assets under US jurisdiction. Many of the sanctions are based on United Nations and other international mandates, are multilateral in scope, and involve close cooperation with allied governments.

Travel to Cuba for Americans is still highly restricted by the U.S. Department of Treasury under the official embargo.  For Americans, only license travelers (through the Office of Foreign Assets Control) are legally allowed to visit Cuba.  Licenses are offered for educational travel, family travel (Cuban Americans), religious travel and people-to-people cultural travel programs.  InsightCuba has been a leader in providing any American with a valid passport the opportunity tor travel under our People-to-People license.

Travel to Cuba for Americans is still highly restricted by the U.S. Department of Treasury under the official embargo. For Americans, only licensed travelers (through the Office of Foreign Assets Control) are legally allowed to visit Cuba. Licenses are offered for educational travel, family travel (Cuban Americans), religious travel and people-to-people cultural travel programs. InsightCuba has been a leader in providing any American with a valid passport the opportunity to travel under our people-to-people license. 

You are free to take pictures of just about anything in Cuba except government buildings and military personnel. Cubans are quite willing to be the subjects of some of your most memorable photos. It is polite in any culture to ask permission before taking someone’s photo, and Cuba is no exception. Often holding up your camera with a simple nod is enough to ascertain whether or not somebody approves of having their picture taken. 

You may come across people dressed in elaborate historic or ethnic attire in Old Havana or other tourist areas. If you take their picture or pose with them, be prepared to pay 1 CUC or more.  This is how they make their living.

The U.S. Embargo Against Cuba is a series of sanctions imposed on Cuba by the United States which have existed since 1960. The embargo and ensuing Cuba travel restrictions are still enforced today however insightCuba is authorized to send any American to Cuba on one of our Support for the Cuban People tours under a general license issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control.  

Travel Restrictions: A brief history

1960- In the first trade restrictions on Cuba after the rise to power of Fidel Castro, President Eisenhower placed most U.S. exports to Cuba under validated license controls, except for non-subsidized food, medicines, and medical supplies. The action did not include restrictions on travel.

1962/1963- In February 1962, President Kennedy imposed a trade embargo on Cuba because of the Castro regime’s ties to the Soviet Union. Pursuant to the President’s directive, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued the Cuban Import Regulations. On July 9, 1963, OFAC issued a more comprehensive set of prohibitions, the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, which effectively banned travel by prohibiting any transactions with Cuba.

1977- In March, the Carter Administration announced the lifting of restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba that had been in place since the early 1960s. The Carter Administration lifted the travel ban by issuing a general license for travel-related transactions for those visiting Cuba. Direct flights were also allowed.

1982- In April, the Reagan Administration re-imposed restrictions on travel to Cuba, although it allowed for certain categories of travel, including travel by U.S. government officials, employees of news or film making organizations, persons engaging in professional research, or persons visiting their close relatives. It did not allow for ordinary tourist or business travel that had been allowed since the Carter Administration’s 1977 action.

1999- On May 13, 1999, OFAC issued changes to the Cuba embargo regulations that loosened some restrictions on certain categories of travelers to Cuba including travel for the purpose of people-to-people educational exchanges. 

2000- The first specific license for People-to-People Education Exchanges were granted by OFAC.  InsightCuba received its People-to-People Educational Exchange license and was the first to begin sending Americans to Cuba under this license. 

2003- On March 24, 2003, OFAC announced that the Cuba travel regulations were being amended which included the elimination of People-to-People Education Exchange licenses.  InsightCuba sent the last Americans to Cuba at the end of December. 

2009- On April 13, 2009, President Obama directed that all restrictions on family travel and on remittances to family members in Cuba be lifted. The Administration also announced measures to expand the scope of eligible humanitarian donations through gift parcels and to increase telecommunications links with Cuba.

2011- On January 14, 2011 President Obama issued a press release announcing that changes be made to regulations and policies governing:  (1) purposeful travel; (2) non-family remittances; and (3) U.S. airports supporting licensed charter flights to and from Cuba.  These measures will increase people-to-people contact; support civil society in Cuba; enhance the free flow of information to, from, and among the Cuban people; and help promote their independence from Cuban authorities.

On January 28, President Obama’s policy to officially restore People-to-People Educational Exchanges with Cuba becomes official after a seven-year absence. 

2014- On December 17, President Obama and President Castro announce efforts to normalize relations between the U.S. and Cuba. 

2015- January 16, new regulations regarding travel to Cuba are issued making it easier for Americans to travel to Cuba. 

2016- U.S. commercial airlines offer flights from the U.S. to Cuba; people-to-people travel for individual U.S citizens is authorized; President Obama travels to Cuba, marking the first time an American President has visited Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. 

2017- President Donald Trump repeals individual people-to-people travel roughly more than one year after President Obama introduced it. Group people-to-people travel remains, and the White House leaves many of the Obama travel provisions which increased U.S. travel to the island, intact; The U.S. Department of State creates the first restricted list, instructing U.S. citizens and businesses which Cuban companies they are prohibited to spend money with;  insightCuba and acclaimed world music record label, Putumayo World Music collaborate on a series of tours to Cuba and beyond; Cuba's first luxury 5-star hotel, the Gran Manzanas Kempinski opens in Havana.

2018- Cuba achieves a record breaking 4.75 million travelers. The two leading markets are Canada and the United States. 

2019- President Trump issues new travel regulations barring most commercial cruise ships sailing from the U.S. to visit Cuba. However, cruises originating from countries other than the U.S. continue; President Trump eliminates group people-to-people travel but leaves the remaining 12 categories of travel intact. The Support for the Cuban People category of travel allows for any American to legally travel to Cuba. 

 

Click here to view insightCuba's specific history regarding legal travel to Cuba.

 

You can travel now. InsightCuba has over 150 start dates well into next year and more than seven Small Group and Specialty Cuba tours to choose from. If you are looking to travel privately or book a Custom-Made trip, please see our Personalized tour page or call an insightCuba travel specialist to beging planning your trip. We’ve been operating legal travel to Cuba since 2000 when President Clinton first introduced the people-to-people initiative. We have groups in Cuba now and have groups departing today. Many of our guests tell us that they chose to travel to Cuba because they wanted to see the country before it changes. There isn't a better time to go.

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