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Kelsey Matthews

A child of the world. Forever wandering.

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Americans Traveling To Cuba Guide

Americans Traveling To Cuba Guide

HOW TO GET A CUBA VISA/CUBAN VISAS OR CUBAN TOURIST CARD/ETC

Guide Americans traveling to Cuba 2016-2

 

Americans traveling to Cuba in 2018 will need to obtain a Cuban tourist card, which is similar to a travel visa. Unfortunately, Americans cannot travel to Cuba for just tourism. All American travel to Cuba has to fall within the 12 authorized travel categories per the state department.

12 CATEGORIES OF AUTHORIZED TRAVEL FOR AMERICANS TRAVELING TO CUBA

  • Family visits
  • Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
  • Journalistic activity
  • Professional research and professional meetings
  • Educational activities
  • Religious activities
  • Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
  • Support for the Cuban people
  • Humanitarian projects
  • Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
  • Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials
  • Certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines.

During our trip to Cuba, no one asked us what authorized category we were traveling under. If it would have come up, we would have cited,  journalistic activity and presented a business card. We personally know at least five people who have traveled to Cuba from Mexico (specifically Cancun airport) who were never asked any questions pertaining to authorized travel when obtaining their Cuban tourist card/Cuban visa.

We got our Cuba Tourist Card at the airport in Cancun when we were checking into our flight for $20. If you are flying to Cuba from the USA your airline will help you obtain the Cuban Tourist Card. Every airline has different fees and process for obtaining a Cuban tourist card. You will need to show your Cuban Tourist Card when checking into the flight in order to board the plane. Currently here is how much a Cuban Tourist Card costs based on airlines:

 
  • Delta: $50, purchase at the gate
  • JetBlue: $50, purchase at the gate
  • Southwest: $50, purchased online and delivered at the gate
  • United: $75 ($50 visa fee + $25 admin fee), purchase the at gate
  • American: $85 ($50 visa fee + $35 admin fee), purchase online and sent via mail or at a Cuba Ready” Kiosks at CLT or MIA airports for $100 ($50 visa fee + $50 admin fee)

In reality, it’s the U.S. that has an issue with Americans traveling to Cuba. The Cuban government has no issue with it and they want American tourists in Cuba.

If you would like a professional company to assist with arranging your Cuba Visa click here to contact VHeroreo.  Special 5% discount for Getting Stamped readers.

We cannot guarantee that you won’t be asked what category you fall under or what documents you will need to show, this was our experience.


IS IT LEGAL FOR AMERICANS TO TRAVEL TO CUBA: YES

Cuban flag blowing in the wind over Havana
Cuban flag blowing in the wind over Havana

In January of 2015, President Obama expanded the categories of authorized travel to Cuba. It was great news for Americans traveling to Cuba, or all Americans who always wanted to travel to Cuba (like us!). This expansion allowed U.S. citizens to legally travel to Cuba if they fell in one of the 12 categories.  In previous years, most travel to Cuba required applying for a license and jumping through a bunch of hoops, which was often confusing and quite frustrating. Now Americans can “self-license” if they believe they fall within one of the authorized categories.

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