TRAVELING TO CUBA IS STILL EASY WITH CUBA UNBOUND
President Obama’s December 17th, 2014 announcement that America was reestablishing diplomatic relations with Cuba has many positive consequences for travel plans. The resumption of good relations with Cuba means easier travel, trade, and financial relations between the two countries as well as Cuba’s removal from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list and a reopening U.S. embassy within Cuba. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) put President Obama’s declared changes into effect on January 16, 2015; this action effectively removed many legal obstacles and inconveniences that reduced Cuban travel and commerce. However, on June 16, 2017 the President Trump announced some modifcations to the regulations. The biggest change is that individual travel for educational people-to-people purposes is no longer allowed. However, the rules for group travel, as conducted by Cuba Unbound, are largely unchanged.
ESSENTIAL TRAVEL DOCUMENTS
Here's a simplified list of Cuban entry requirements:
- Return Travel Documents
- Valid Cuban Tourist Card/Visa
- Certification of Travel Form
- Valid Passport—valid for at least 6 months from arrival in Cuba with 2 blank pages
- Evidence of Sufficient Funds for Minimum Financial Needs
- Proof of Travel Medical Insurance
CUBAN TOURIST CARD or TRAVEL VISA
Travelers to Cuba require a Tourist Visa, also known as a Cuban Tourist Card. When you make your airline reservations with a U.S. carrier, they will inform you on how to obtain the tourist card. If you are flying from a third country, like Mexico, you can obtain the tourist card at the airport in Mexico.
MANDATORY MEDICAL INSURANCE
Cuba requires all travelers to Cuba to have travel medical insurance. Travel medical insurance must include coverage for medical evacuation, emergencies, and repatriation. The company providing your travel medical plan must be able to make payments from a non-U.S. banking institution.
U.S. airlines include the mandatory level of travel medical insurance in your ticket. Guests may purchase supplementary coverage at their discretion; we recommend such action as the mandatory amounts are set rather low.
Cuba Unbound partners with Travel Insured International for this supplementary coverage, the costs of which depend on coverage amount, length of travel, and age of traveler.
If you have further questions, the U.S Department of the Treasury is a great resource. Check out their updated FAQs for more information!
GENERAL LICENSES FOR CERTIFICATION OF TRAVEL FORM
- GENERAL LICENSES: Cuba Unbound has a general license that allows you to travel with us legally.
CUBAN TRAVEL AMENDMENTS
While not all changes have been fully implemented, and further amendments are expected, the following amendments are in effect and currently making Cuban travel easier:
- Travelers are no longer required to apply to OFAC for a "specific" travel license. (General licenses are still required - when traveling to Cuba with Cuba Unbound, you are in full compliance with US law.)
- Direct flights to Cuba are available to the public and can be booked via travel specialists to Cuba, travel agents and even on some travel websites.
- Travelers can return with goods worth up to $400 in U.S. currency including Alcohol and Tobacco.
- Travelers can now purchase travel insurance that will be applied to time spent in Cuba
RECREATIONAL TRAVEL STILL PROHIBITED
Restrains regarding visits for purely tourist and recreational purposes are still prohibited. Cuban travel remains more accessible than it has been since the embargo in 1961 because there are additional travel categories that do not require OFAC authorization, but visits must have a purpose beyond beachfront relaxation. Under the new regulations, “Recreational travel, tourist travel, travel in pursuit of a hobby, or research for personal satisfaction only” remain illegal.