ADVICE FOR US TRAVELLERS WISHING TO TRAVEL LEGALLY TO CUBA
The good news is that US citizens can now travel legally to Cuba.
Regulations concerning U.S. visitors travelling to Cuba
The current U.S. restrictions on travel apply to all citizens and residents of the U.S. no matter from what country you travel to Cuba and no matter if you hold citizenship from another country as well. Only persons authorized by U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) may use the charter service between Miami or Los Angeles or New York to Havana.
CUBAWELCOME has affiliated with a well known group of New York lawyers who are licensed by OFAC to make travel arrangements for those individuals and groups who either (a) have obtained a Specific License from OFAC authorizing their travel to Cuba, or (b) are traveling under the general authorization given by OFAC for certain categories of persons without any need for them to apply for a Specific license. This general authorization is called a General License. Generally, the majority of citizens of the US will need to apply for a specific license.
A Specific license (for which an application must be sent by an individual or institution to OFAC) allows certain categories of travel including:
- Visiting a close relative who is neither a national of Cuba nor a U.S. Government employee assigned to the US Interest Section in Havana.
- Journalistic activities for a free-lance journalistic project.
- Professional research and professional meetings that do not qualify for the general license.
- Academic educational activities not authorized by the general license for accredited U.S. graduate and undergraduate degree-granting academic institutions.
- Educational exchanges not involving academic studies pursuant to a degree program and that takes place under the auspices of an organization that promoted people-to-people contact.
- Academic seminars, conferences, and workshops related to Cuba or global issues involving Cuba and sponsored or co-sponsored by the traveler’s accredited U.S. graduate or undergraduate academic institution.
- Religious activities not authorized by the general license for religious organizations located in the United States.
- Athletic competitions by amateur or semi-professional athletes or teams selected by the relevant U.S. federation.
- Participation in a public performance, clinic, workshop, other athletic or nonathletic competition, or exhibition in Cuba.
- Activities intended to provide support for the Cuban people.
- Humanitarian projects in/or related to Cuba designed to directly benefit the Cuban people.
- Activities by private foundations or research or educational institutes that have an established interest in international relations to collect information related to Cuba for non-commercial purposes.
A general license (for which no application is necessary), allows certain categories of travel to Cuba and, if your travel is described by one of these categories, then you can travel and do not have to make an application to OFAC. Categories under the General License include:
- Visiting “close relatives” who are nationals of Cuba or visiting “close relatives” who are U.S. Government employees assigned to the U.S. Interest Section in Havana.
- Journalistic activities by persons regularly employed as journalists by a news reporting organizations or by persons regularly employed as supporting broadcast or technical personnel.
- Professional Research conducted by full-time professionals in their professional areas, attendance at certain professional meetings or conferences organized by international professional organizations, or participation in certain telecommunications-related professional meetings.
- Educational activities by faculty, staff, and students of accredited U.S. graduate and undergraduate degree-granting academic institutions.
- Religious activities under the auspices of a religious organization located in the United States.