Restrictions on travel to Cuba?

Nov 13th, 2016, 06:21 PM
Original Poster
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Restrictions on travel to Cuba?

We're thinking of a couple day trip to Havana from Florida. Today's Washington Post says that "passengers must be eligible to travel to Cuba under one of 12 general license categories." Is tourism eligible? And how do you go about getting a license?

Joe18 is offline  
Nov 14th, 2016, 03:35 AM
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Today's Washington Post? The regulations changed in March with Obama's executive order.
You no longer need to apply to OFAC for a license.
You have to check off a box (your reason for travel, and tourism is NOT among them) of one of the 12 reasons, on the form the airline's third party agency provides once you book and pay. They keep this in case OFAC, the US government agency, ever comes asking, which they haven't in quite some time according to reports. You can Google and find the details of the 12 reasons.
The check boxes may possibly be on the same agency form as the application for the pink travel card that the Cuban government requires.
You are supposed to keep proof (detailed full time itinerary, receipts, etc) of your activities for 5 years, in case OFAC checks (which they haven't, reportedly in about 10 years).
Of course, the new guy has said he'd cancel all Obama's executive orders "immediately", and he might even fund OFAC to check up, but quite unlikely to prioritize this budget item.

If you go, note that Havana hotels are very expensive, often scarce, and not up to standard. Casas particulares (B&B type) are often not very comfortable .
SambaChula is offline  
Nov 14th, 2016, 06:30 AM
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Here are the OFAC categories for travel:
SambaChula is offline  
Nov 14th, 2016, 06:31 AM
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This FAQ, complied by the experienced Cuba travelers on TT is very informative:
SambaChula is offline  
Nov 15th, 2016, 07:50 AM
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SambaChula gave you some salient information. Some tour companies offer weekend adventures to Habana, Cuba. Consider taking one of these and extending your stay per your desire. Consult for your casa particulares or for your hotel. Do your own thing in terms of itinerary but detail the cultural components in which you participated.

In 2015 I joined a group of travelers via, a company that's based in Canada. ...had a wonderful, wonderful experience and plan to go next year with a company whose prices are quite, quite reasonable as well as contrasted with three, popular American tour companies. This trip is for 20 days, but I'm going five days in advance to travel in Habana independently. The company is making my lodging reservations for me at a casa particulare prior to my meeting my fellow travelers. I'm excited.

But in response to your initial query, US citizens can't travel to Cuba as a tour as we can in other parts of our world. Highly ludicrous indeed, but during my 2015 brief trip with the company, our superb and stellar guide did allow some of us to venture off on our own with the stipulation that we participate in 90% of the scheduled activites. None of us violated her trust in us. I did four things on my own which interested me, and all was for the better.
Eddwarm is offline  
Nov 15th, 2016, 08:47 AM
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" US citizens can't travel to Cuba as a tour"

That should be "as a tourist".
SambaChula is offline  
Nov 16th, 2016, 08:31 AM
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US citizens can't travel to Cuba as a tourist"

but as I understand it there's nothing to stop you travelling there independently so long as you comply with the requirements of one of the twelve categories.
annhig is offline  
Nov 16th, 2016, 09:30 AM
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"comply with the requirements" is not well defined. The actual wording of the categories is pretty loopen to interpretation. IMO most travelers are interpreting the wording as loosely as possible.

Anyone going on one of the 12 categories is required to keep proof of activities for 5 years.
No one can anticipate, with the new guy, if that proof would be required to be shown in future; currently and in the last few years, it has not. (Speculation is that funding is not, and will not be, there to do so.) If you are the kind that doesn't drive over the speed limit, that might be a deterrent.
SambaChula is offline  
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