According to the U.S. State Department, any US person may legally travel to Cuba, for any purpose except to conduct unauthorized business or for tourism. However, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), located in the Department of Treasury, have issued "REGULATIONS" that restricts the spending of money in Cuba by US Citizens. The following FAQ explain these regulations:
The Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 CFR Part 515 (the "Regulations} were issued by the US Government on 8 July 1963 under the Trading With the Enemy Act in response to certain hostile actions by the Cuban government. They are still in force today. The Regulations are administered by the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. The basic goal of the sanctions is to isolate the Cuban government economically and deprive it of US dollars. Criminal penalties for violating the sanctions range up to 10 years in prison, $1,000,000 in corporate fines, and $250,000 in individual fines. Civil penalties up to $55,000 per violation may also be imposed.
The regulations affect all US citizens and permanent residents wherever they are located, all people and organizations physically in the United States, and all branches and subsidiaries of US organizations throughout the world.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not actually illegal to travel Cuba however it is illegal to spend money there, without first getting permission to do so from OFAC. Legal travel is controlled because the regulations state specific categories of activities that certain individuals and organizations are permitted to engage in. Only travelers that meet all of OFAC's stipulations (which are stated in the regulations) may be given permission spend money in Cuba legally. This permission is given in the form of either a General License or a Specific License. An OFAC travel license permits Americans to spend money in Cuba for travel related transactions. OFAC also establishes a daily maximum spending limit. This daily amount can change based on the results of an annual survey report issued by the US State Department which determines the daily cost of living by US persons in countries throughout the world. In May 2004 this amount was revised to $167 per day.
A General License permits certain individuals to travel to Cuba, without seeking specific written permission from the US Government. This means that individuals can travel to Cuba at any time and stay for any length of time as long as they qualify to travel under one of the current General License Categories. Individuals traveling under a general license are required to sign an affidavit stating which one of the General License categories they are authorized to travel under See the next FAQ for more information regarding License Categories.
Travelers that do not qualify to travel under one of the General License categories must apply for and receive from OFAC, a Specific License to authorize their travel to Cuba. A Specific License is a written document that states the specific purpose of the travelers visit to Cuba. Licenses can be issued for single or multiple visits and allow the traveler to spend up to the maximum allowed per diem. A Specific License is usually issued with an expiration date and may set a limit to the duration of the visit. The license should be carried by the traveler and presented to US Customs and immigration officials, if requested upon returning to the United States. Individuals traveling with a license issued to an organization must provide us (and carry with them to Cuba) a letter attesting as to their membership in the organization, their licensable activity in Cuba, and the institution's Specific License number.
All of the following categories have stipulations and conditions attached to them. To view this related information, click on next to each category. Activities requiring a Specific License are marked with S. Activities that are allowed using a General License are marked with G. Activities marked with G or S denotes that if you do not meet all the conditions required under a General License, you may apply for a Specific License.
*NB: It is not necessary to apply for a separate specific license for each of the 5 categories above marked with a "*". One license for "Academic Activities" covers all 5 of the above activities. However, each category above has it's own conditions and requires additional documentation. Select the next to each category for more information.
OFAC has issued a document (PDF) called COMPREHENSIVE GUIDELINES FOR LICENSING APPLICATIONS on their website which gives step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a license and where to send your application to. An application is usually accepted in the form of a letter stating your personal information and your reasons for wanting to travel to Cuba.
OFAC does not currently charge for the processing and issuance of licenses. We strongly suggest that you send your application using a registered or traceable mailing service such as FedEx, so that you can ensure delivery.
NB: In January 2011, the Cuban Assets Regulations were amended. Some information available on the OFAC website may not reflect these new changes. At the time of publishing this document the GUIDELINES FOR LICENSING APPLICATIONS had just been issued. However, precise interpretations and implementations of these guidelines will only be fully understood upon the issuance of an OFAC license. To ensure that you have the most up-to-date information regarding applying for a specific license for this category of travel, we suggest that you contact OFAC by telephone at 202-622-2480
If you have a question about the regulations that is not covered here, please send an email. As part of our services, Island Travel & Tours, Ltd can assist you in deciding which license you or your organization requires, and provide assistance in applying for a license.
a) Expenses incurred in pursuit of the licensed activities. For example, if a researcher needs to pay for photocopying in pursuit of the identified research, these charges can be incurred in addition to the per diem. Transporation costs are also not included in the per diem spending limit.
b)The purchase of informational materials such as books, maps, videos, movies and CD's; and artistic and cultural works such as paintings, sculptures and music. There is no spending limit on the purchase of these items and they are also duty-free. However, Cuba may charge an export fee on some items.
Direct U.S. air charter flights to Cuba
New Tampa Routes
Our all inclusive land packages take care of our clients...
According to the U.S.State Department, any US person may legally travel.
All visitors to Cuba, Turkey & Panama must have a valid passport to obtain entry into the country.
In addition to a valid passport, all visitors to Cuba must have a valid visa.