F.A.Q

Updated 6/19/2017

What is individual person-to-person travel and how does the President’s announcement impact this travel authorization?

Person-to-person travel is educational trips that: (i) do not involve academic study in accordance with a degree program; And (ii) does not take place under the auspices of an organization subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to promote person-to-person contact. The President instructed the Treasury to issue regulations that will put an end to person-to-person travel. The announced changes do not take effect until the new regulations are issued.

Will the person-to-person journey continue in groups?

Yes. The person-to-person mode in groups is an educational trip that does not involve academic studies in accordance with a degree program that is conducted under the auspices of an organization that is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States sponsoring such Exchanges to promote person-to-person contact. Travelers using this travel authorization must maintain a comprehensive agenda of educational exchange activities aimed at improving contact with the Cuban people, supporting civil society in Cuba, or promoting the independence of the Cuban people from the Cuban authorities, And that results in significant interaction between the traveler and the individuals in Cuba. An employee, consultant, or group agent must accompany each group to ensure that each traveler maintains a full schedule of educational exchange activities.

How do the changes announced by the President on June 16, 2017 affect person-to-person travelers who have already started making travel arrangements (such as buying flights, hotels, or rental cars)?

The announced changes will not take effect until OFAC issues new regulations. Provided that the traveler has completed at least one travel related transaction (such as buying a flight or booking accommodation) prior to the President’s announcement on June 16, 2017, all additional travel related transactions occur before or after That new OFAC regulations are issued, would be authorized, provided travel related transactions are consistent with OFAC regulations as of June 16, 2017.

How do the changes announced by the President on June 16, 2017 affect other authorized travelers to Cuba whose travel arrangements may include direct transactions with entities related to Cuban military, intelligence or security services that may be involved in The new policy towards Cuba?

The announced changes will not take effect until OFAC issues new regulations. Consistent with the Administration’s interest not to adversely affect Americans for organizing legal travel to Cuba, any travel-related agreement that includes direct transactions with entities related to Cuban military, intelligence or security services that may be implicated by The new Cuban policy will be allowed, provided that such travel arrangements have been initiated before the issuance of the next regulations.

Is it legal for U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba?

Yes. OFAC regulates travel to Cuba pursuant to the Helms-Burton Act and other pertinent regulations. Currently, there are 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba.

People-to-people travel is one of the ways for Americans to visit Cuba and gives you an opportunity to discover Cuba through its people and from a local perspective. All guests will be required to self-certify that activities meet the requirements above, so you must retain records of your activities for a period of 5 years. For additional information on people-to-people exchanges, please refer to “What is a people-to-people exchange?” below.

How do I certify that I am traveling under one of the OFAC-approved categories of travel?

All guest must complete a certification form which sets forth and confirm that they will be participating in OFAC-compliant activities.

Travelers must qualify for one of two licenses, or authorization from OFAC to travel to Cuba.

1) Specific license: Are issued only in certain cases to the traveler directly by the U.S. Department of State. Anyone planning travel to Cuba should review the legal restrictions contained in the Cuban Asset Control Regulations at 31 CFR § 515. More information can be found in the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Cuba FAQs

2) General license : Most U.S. travelers will qualify for this license. A general license means travelers do not have to seek approval from the U.S. government before traveling to Cuba as long as they fall within OFAC’s 12 reasons for travel below.OnCuba Travel customers will qualify under our people to people curated programs. For more information about on people-to-people travel and other general license categories, visit the OFAC FAQ page .

When you book a program to Cuba with OnCuba Travel, you will be asked to select from one of these categories as a reason for travel:

1)I am a Cuban National and resident of Cuba

2) Educational activities, including people-to-people exchanges open to everyone

3) Professional research and professional meetings

4) Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions and exhibitions

5) Religious activities

6) Humanitarian projects

7) Journalistic activities

8) Family visits

9) Activities in Cuba by private foundations, or research or educational institutes

10) Support for the Cuban people

11) Exportation, importation, or transmission of information technologies or materials

12) Certain authorized export transactions including agricultural and medical products, and tools, equipment and construction supplies for private use

13) Official business of the US government, foreign governments and certain intergovernmental organizations

14) Specific license

What is a people-to-people exchange?

An individual traveler may travel to Cuba under the people-to-people authorized travel category, as a self-certified traveler, so long as he/she maintains a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people and that will result in meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba.

Legal Travel To Cuba

Our programs operate a people-to-people general license issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s, Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC). This license allows any American who books a Cuba tour with OnCuba Travel to travel to Cuba legally.

Whatever the region or city, OnCuba Travel will design custom programming and deliver a wide range of products and services, including:

State-of-the-art exclusive tours, packages and experiences

  • Visa & Immigration Services
  • Unique culinary classes
  • People to People Programing
  • Cultural and educational programs
  • Museum visits and musical events
  • Private guided services
  • Ground logistics & transportation
  • Hotel reservations & Private house bookings

Could you take a cruise instead?

You can. And, you can book your next cruise with us here. Under regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

How much free time is there?

OFAC requires that individuals traveling under a people-to-people license participate in a full-time schedule of people-to-people exchange activities that result in meaningful interaction between the travelers and individuals in Cuba.

What are the documents required for Cuba travel? Do U.S. Citizens require a visa for travel to Cuba?

Yes. Cuba requires all U.S. and non-U.S. citizens (excluding Cuban-born) to have a visa (e.g. tourist card, business visa, etc.) to enter the country.

The Cuban government requires anyone who is traveling to Cuba on a passport other than a valid Cuban passport to obtain a visa prior to their arrival into Cuba. For all visitors who were not born in Cuba, this visa, also known as a “tourist card” (for U.S. residents, this visa also known as a “rosada” must have a pink and blue background; for non-U.S. residents, this visa is issued by the Cuban embassy or consulate in the background color applicable to their country of residency), is required to enter Cuba for non-business purposes. U.S. residents may obtain this visa (or “rosada”) through OnCuba Travel for a separate processing and procurement fee of $75. For non-U.S. residents, if the Cuban visa issued by the Cuban embassy or consulate in the background color applicable to your country of residency is not accepted by Cuban immigration officials, you will be required to purchase the same Cuban visa (or “rosada”) as a U.S. resident.

The Cuban visa is a two-part card. Cuban immigration officials will take both parts upon arrival in Cuba.

How long is the tourist card for Cuba valid?

A tourist card can be used once within 180 days after the date of issue. The tourist card is valid for a single-entry for a period of up to 30 days. Upon arrival in Cuba, a portion of the tourist card is retained by immigration authorities, and the remaining portion is collected at the airport prior to departure from Cuba.

For U.S. and non-Cuban foreign residents:

Do I need a passport to travel to Cuba?

Yes. A valid passport* is required for all guests to travel to Cuba. We recommend guests review the passport requirements of travel to Cuba from their home country and that the expiration of your passport be greater than six months from the date of your voyage.

*NOTE: All guests must have a valid passport book for travel. A passport card WILL NOT be accepted.

Health insurance: The Cuban government requires all visitors to have health insurance that covers the territory of Cuba; for U.S. citizens, this means local Cuban health insurance.
Plus one of the following visas:
Cuban tourist visa, which is sufficient for only certain categories of OFAC-permitted travel, this is included in your OnCuba Travel program package.
OR
Other visa types , which must be obtained prior to travel via the Cuban Consulate.
Customers must contact the Cuban consulate in Washington, DC, to determine what type of visa will be required.

For Cuban Nationals with U.S. residence:

Requirements for Travelers Born in Cuba

Guests born in Cuba who emigrated before January 1, 1971 and reside in a country outside of Cuba are required to carry either (i) a valid Cuban passport or (ii) a valid passport from your country of citizenship along with an HE-11 visa obtained from the Cuban embassy or consulate in your country of residency (except in those cases where such country has entered into a visa exemption agreement with Cuba) for entry to and departure from Cuba. The estimated processing time for an HE-11 visa is up to 60 days.

Guests born in Cuba who emigrated on or after January 1, 1971 and reside in a country outside of Cuba are required to carry a valid Cuban passport for entry to and departure from Cuba. These guests do not need a Cuban visa. The estimated processing time for a Cuban passport is up to 6 months.

Guests born in Cuba who require a visa or passport should contact the Cuban embassy or consulate in their country of residency. Those residing in the United States may contact the Cuban Embassy in Washington, DC:

The website of the US Embassy in Cuba http://havana.usembassy.gov/service.html states that U.S. citizens who are Cuban-born will be treated in Cuba solely as Cuban citizens and the Cuban government may require these individuals to enter and depart Cuba using a Cuban passport. Using a Cuban passport for this purpose does not jeopardize one’s U.S. citizenship; however, such persons must use their U.S. passports to enter and depart the United States. Citizens of countries other than the United States should check with their embassies in Cuba for regulations pertaining to their citizenship and use of passports.

The required documents depend on when you left Cuba: before or after December 31, 1970.

If BEFORE:

  • A U.S. passport that’s valid for the entire length of stay
  • A HE-11 visa, which can be obtained through the Cuban Consulate and takes four to six weeks to process

If AFTER:

  • A Cuban passport with the appropriate “Habilitacíon” authorization and Prorroga sticker
  • (Please contact the Cuban Consulate for details on how to obtain a “Habilitacíon” authorization and a Prorroga sticker)

For Cuban Residents:

  • A Cuban passport with the appropriate “Habilitacíon” authorization and Prorroga sticker
  • (Please contact the Cuban Consulate for details on how to obtain a “Habilitacíon” authorization and a Prorroga sticker)
  • Residence of re-entry permit issued by Cuba
What can/can’t I bring to Cuba?

Please refer to the Cuban customs site for policies on allowances, restrictions and limitations.

Where can I go to learn more?

There are a number of considerations for travel to Cuba. Please keep in mind any requirements or additional documentation that the trave
ler may be required to have.
Stay up-to-date on any additional or evolving travel requirements.
Additional travel information can be found on the websites of the U.S. and Cuban governments:

  • U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Cuba FAQs
  • Embassy of Cuba in the USA
Do I need any immunizations prior to my travel?

Please refer to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for the most current information and recommendations.

How safe is it to travel to Cuba?

Please refer to the U.S. Department of State for the most current information and recommendations.Cuba is a safe country where violent crime is rare. As when traveling in any urban area, keep your valuables in sight at all times and be aware of the possibility of petty crime.

What currency is used in Cuba?

CURRENCY

Cuba operates as a dual currency system. Cuban convertible peso (CUC$) is the currency which you will exchange and use in Cuba. CUC$ come in the following denominations: 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. Please note that CUC$ 1 comes in both a coin and paper money configuration. There is a second currency, the Cuban peso, also called moneda nacional or CUP which is used only by Cuban citizens.

Can I exchange money in Cuba?

Yes. Once in Cuba, the airport, tourist hotels, banks, and CADECA bureaus (Cuban government exchange bureaus) can exchange currency (U.S. and Canadian dollars, Euros, British pounds, etc.) for a fee. Non-U.S. currencies such as Euros and Canadian dollars usually have a more favorable exchange rate than the U.S. dollar. Be sure to have proper ID (passport) on hand.
The U.S. State Department advises that the export of CUCs is strictly prohibited, regardless of the amount.

Are credit, debit or ATM cards accepted in Cuba?

While U.S. citizens are allowed to use debit and credit cards in Cuba, the vast majority of U.S. banks are still considering whether to allow for these transactions to take place. Thus, it is advisable to assume that all transactions in Cuba will be done using cash.Credit, debit and ATM cards issued by U.S. banks may not yet work in Cuba. Passengers should arrive in Cuba with enough cash to last them through the end of their trip.

How much can I spend while in Cuba?

There are no per diem limits on authorized expenses.

Who can passengers contact if they lose their passport in Cuba?

Passengers may contact the U.S. Embassy, American Citizen Services Unit at (53)(7)-839-4100.

For emergencies involving American Citizens when the American Citizens Services Unit is closed or after hours (for U.S. Citizens only), passengers should call the main switchboard at (+53)(7) 839-4100 and dial 1 to speak with the emergency operator.

Is the water safe to drink in Cuba?

Please refer to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for the most current information and recommendations.

Are there rooms and facilities available for disabled passengers in Cuba?

Few hotels have facilities that are equipped for disabled travelers, and public and private transportation is not geared toward disabled travelers.
Disabled passengers may choose to research resources and facilities equipped to handle their needs before traveling to Cuba.

What am I allowed to bring back from Cuba? Can I bring back cigars, rum and other items from Cuba?

U.S. persons are allowed to return with certain Cuban-origin items, including cigars and rum, for personal use only and pursuant to OFAC regulations. These items remain subject to the normal limits on duty and tax exemptions for merchandise imported as accompanied baggage and for personal use.

PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS WHILE IN CUBA

Are there restrictions on what I can bring into Cuba?

There are both U.S. and Cuba import regulations that travelers must comply with when traveling and bringing items into Cuba.

For information on U.S. import regulations, please click on the following link for the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security’s Export Administration Regulations https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/regulations/export-administration-regulations-ear.

For information on Cuba import regulations, please click on the following link for the General Customs of the Republic of Cuba http://www.aduana.co.cu/.

Will there be Wi-Fi while in Cuba?

Cuba has limited Wi-Fi services, although certain hotels and internet cafes may provide service for a fee.

Will I have cellular service while in Cuba?

Several carriers in the U.S. and abroad have signed roaming agreements with Cuban telecommunications firm ETECSA, which allows for voice, data and text services while in Cuba. Please check with your cellular provider