Does Cuba Accept American Tourists in 2023?

2023-01-15 12:13:17 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

In 2023, will it be possible for Americans to visit Cuba? To put it briefly, yes. Americans visiting Cuba from Canada face stricter regulations than their Canadian counterparts. Your trip must be for a permitted purpose, as "tourism" is not permitted. While on the island, you will be subject to monetary restrictions.

If you are a US citizen and have questions about visiting Cuba, we hope to address them all here. Cuba's entry requirements, which take into account the ongoing pandemic of the coronavirus orthomyxovirus type 19 There are 12 types of visitors who are welcome in Cuba. Reasons why the License to Support the Cuban People allows for greater freedom of movement Guidelines for Americans visiting Cuba

Everything you need to know is in this manual.

Can U.S. Citizens Visit Cuba in 2023?  

How to travel to Cuba - Cuban giving thumbs up from balcony (1)

The short answer is yes The only exception to this rule is travel for the sole purpose of tourism, but otherwise American citizens are free to visit Cuba. However, there are a few conditions you must fulfill.

In particular, you'll need a Tourist Card (a k a Cuban visa, insurance, and self-certification as falling into one of Cuba's 12 permitted travel categories You should also keep your travel records for 5 years and avoid giving any of your money to certain restricted businesses.

What follows is a detailed explanation of the steps required to depart the United States for Cuba in accordance with current regulations.

The Cuban Assets Control Regulations, issued on July 8, 1963, forbid most U.S. citizens from visiting Cuba. The Trading with the Enemy Act, which is enforced by OFAC, is the statute under which this rule is framed.

The Cuban Assets Control Regulations, which have been revised numerous times, prohibit commerce with Cuba and travel to the island by U.S. citizens. Certain types of travel, such as those for educational and cultural exchange, professional research, and support for the Cuban people, are permitted by the regulations.

What Do You Need Other Than a U.S. Passport to Visit Cuba?

Cuba travel tips - Cuban customs

To avoid any delays upon arrival at a Cuban airport, make sure you have the following items in order before you leave the United States:

One. A valid U.S. passport

Typical U.S. passports are valid for travel to Cuba. S passport To avoid any problems at customs, make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after your return from Cuba.

Travel Document for Cuba

No matter where you're from, if you plan on visiting Cuba you'll need a tourist card. Tourist identification is required to board a flight to Cuba.

The Cuba Tourist Visa can be obtained in a few different ways:

A) From the airline itself.

One of the most common ways for tourists to obtain a Cuba tourist card is to do so through their airline.

There are subtle differences in how each business goes about this. Depending on the airline, you may be required to purchase a visa in addition to your ticket. Additionally to the processing fee of $25-$35, the visa itself costs $50.

Travel visa costs from some of the world's most popular airlines are listed below.

Price of tickets on American Airlines is (online purchase only) + $35 (visa fee + processing fee). 50 USD for the visa, plus 50 USD for processing, equals 100 USD if purchased in person at Miami International Airport (MIA).

Buying a Delta ticket at the airport gate will set you back $50.

Costs fifty dollars (USD) and must be purchased at the airport's JetBlue ticket counter.

Price of a round-trip ticket on Southwest Airlines is (50 USD visa fee + 25 USD processing fee) and can be paid for either in advance or upon arrival at the airport.

The United Airlines in-person purchase price is (50 USD visa fee + 25 USD service charge).

Finding flights from the US to Cuba can be difficult, and some aggregators don't even have them. Skyscanner is the best tool for comparing flight prices to Cuba.

Option B: Obtain Your Cuban Visa Through an Online Service

In the event that your plane ticket doesn't come with a visa already attached, you can purchase one on the website Easy Tourist Card.

The price of a 30-day tourist card is approximately $144, which is more than if you purchased it together with your plane ticket.

Insuring Your Trip to Cuba

All visitors to Cuba are required to have valid travel insurance. Any unplanned medical care you may need while on the island must be covered by your insurance.

Because of this, there are businesses such as RoamRight that provide insurance specifically for tourists. You can rest assured that RoamRight will cover you in the event of a medical emergency while you're away from home. Trip cancellation, baggage loss, and theft are all covered as well. RoamRight costs approximately $50 USD for a week.

4. Possession of a legitimate general "license" to enter Cuba

American citizens must fall under a specific category of authorized travel to Cuba, known as a "license," which is required for any trip there. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) establishes these classifications.

The terms "license," "travel license," "general license," and "travel category" are used interchangeably throughout this article.

Despite its misleading name, it is not a license in the sense of a driver's permit or a visitor's visa. A physical copy of the document is not required for entry into Cuba.

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that beginning in September 2020, two types of travel (professional research and professional meetings, and public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions) may require a physical document in addition to a digital itinerary.

To obtain a general license for Cuba, one must:

  1. Your selection of a US S The 12 categories recognized by the U.S.
  2. You are eligible to visit Cuba under your selected category.

In spite of the baffling terminology, obtaining a general license in Cuba is a breeze. Check out the detailed instructions we've provided below.

5. Declarations for customs and medical purposes

Everyone visiting Cuba must fill out a Customs Declaration form and a Sanitary Statement. D'Viajeros, the government website, is where you should go to fill out the paperwork for your trip. You will avoid wasted time and hassle.

6. The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted travel restrictions to Cuba.

As of right now, visitors to Cuba are subject to random Antigen tests, a Sanitary Statement, and other mobility and business restrictions.

You must abide by the rules set forth by the Cuban government in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic while on the island:

  • In some businesses, maintaining a 5-foot social distance and wearing a face mask may be obligatory.
  • There is a chance you will be asked questions to help with a person-to-person tracing operation or have your temperature
  • Most tourist attractions have a limited number of available spots and are only open during certain times of the day.
  • No large gatherings are permitted.
  • The freedom to move around within and between municipalities and provinces could be curtailed.
  • For failure to comply, penalties may be imposed. (Even though that's highly improbable.)

Take note that as of April 4th, 2022, you no longer need to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative PCR test.

Planning a Legal Trip to Cuba from the United States

How to Travel to Cuba - Havana Cruise

There is a lot of uncertainty about the current Cuba travel restrictions and what is required of Americans who wish to visit Cuba. Getting to Cuba from the United States can be complicated, so let's break it down:

  1. Your reason for visiting Cuba will determine which category of authorized travel best fits your needs.
  2. In order to visit Cuba, you must carefully craft a full-time itinerary that fits within the parameters of the category of authorized travel you have chosen.
  3. Your itinerary will determine the locations where you will be staying in Cuba, and you may need to make hotel reservations. Don't forget that you can't stay at any hotel, hostel, or other lodging establishment that is on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List.
  4. Certain places in Cuba are off-limits for financial transactions.
  5. Your documents and receipts should be kept for a period of five years.

Let's elaborate on each of these processes now.

There is no need to go through any additional hoops to get your Cuba general license; all you need to do is declare the reason for your trip from the 12 categories allowed on the list. If your trip fits into one of these 12 categories, you're good to go!

Under the Cuba General License, the following twelve types of tourism are permitted:

  • We go home to see the family
  • Transactions involving the United States government, other governments, and certain international organizations
  • Journalism
  • Attending professional conferences and conducting professional research (NOTE: This type of travel requires a valid license from OFAC)
  • Pedagogical endeavors (NOTE: People-to-People Travel was previously permitted under this heading but is now banned due to its negative impact on local economies) )
  • Spiritual Exercises
  • Events open to the public such as shows, clinics, workshops, competitions, and exhibitions (NOTE: This type of trip requires a valid license from OFAC)
  • The People of Cuba Have My Support
  • Information and/or educational materials export, import, or transmission
  • Help for the needy
  • Foundational, scholarly, and academic institution endeavors
  • Specific Export Deals

When making your reservation, you will be asked to specify whether you fall under a category that allows you to visit Cuba.

Cuban People Travel Aid

Since this is the most common way for Americans to visit Cuba, we've decided to dedicate an entire section to it. Additionally, it could be very perplexing

If you want to travel to Cuba by yourself and no other license applies to your situation, the Support for the Cuban People license is your best bet.

As you may have guessed from the wording, this is a popular selection among American tourists. You'll find a lot of freedom here, and you'll be able to engage in many of the same pursuits you would in any other Caribbean nation.

However, you'll need proof that you've worked to "strengthen Cuban society." Thankfully, most people enjoy doing these things, and many of them are likely already on your to-do list.

  • Travel to see important landmarks and museums
  • Support the local economy by dining at paladares.
  • Learn to cook like a Cuban in a cooking class.
  • Attend some salsa classes.
  • Experience a Cuban cigar-rolling class and a tour of a tobacco farm.
  • Participate as a volunteer in a community group or non-profit.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) provides the best example of the kinds of things that fall under the umbrella of "Support for the Cuban People."

The traveler intends to spend four days in Cuba, eating at privately owned restaurants (paladares), staying in a rented room in a private Cuban residence (casa particular), and shopping at privately owned stores run by self-employed Cubans (cuentapropista).

Each morning, the guest will have breakfast with their Cuban host and participate in cultural activities together. The tripper's full-time commitment culminates in helping fledgling Cuban businesses get off the ground. Independent action to strengthen Cuba's civil society is promoted by the traveler's endeavors.

Due to the fact that the person's eligible actions do not require them to eat at privately owned Cuban restaurants (paladares) or stay in a private Cuban residence (casa particular) in order to qualify. ...and maintaining a full-time schedule that facilitates contact with the Cuban people, aids Cuban civil society, and encourages Cuban independence from Cuban authorities by shopping at privately owned stores run by self-employed Cubans (cuentapropista). and that leads to substantial interaction with Cuban individuals, the traveler's trip meets the requirements of the general license.

I was wondering what you thought about the how it sounded

There is a general eight-hour daily requirement for civic engagement in Cuba. Keep in mind that no American official is going to personally call you every day to double-check your plans.

Instead, choose from among the aforementioned options and learn about the richness of Cuba's cultural heritage firsthand. Once you've figured out how to get to Cuba as a citizen of the United States, you can fill your itinerary with exciting excursions.

Step 2 You should reserve a flight to Cuba.

Are there any direct flights between the United States and Cuba? To answer your question, you can purchase plane tickets to Cuba after you've declared your travel status.

If you're looking for cheap flights to Cuba, you can use Skyscanner to do the searching for you. When planning your trip, keep in mind that as of the 10th of December, 2019, US airlines can only fly to Havana airport.

The Third Step: Arrange Your Cuban Itinerary

The exciting part has finally arrived.

Even if you want to go to Cuba independently, like with a backpack, your itinerary will be based on the type of traveler you are.

If you are visiting Cuba under the "Support the Cuban People" category, for instance, your schedule is entirely up to you. However, as was just discussed, you can't just go anywhere; your itinerary must include the activities that fall under this category of vacationing.

Avoid Via Rent A Car if you need a car to travel around Cuba's many amazing attractions. This firm is owned by the Cuban military.

Visit our site to learn more about the tours we offer.

Here's the fourth step: arrange for lodgings in Cuba.

The next step in your plan is to reserve lodging. Some hotels, resorts, and casas particulares may be available for your stay.

On the other hand, if you want to experience real Cuba at a reasonable price, you should stay in a casa particular. The most recent listings can be found on Skyscanner.

WARNING: The Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List contains places you cannot stay in Cuba.

Step 5 Avoid making purchases from banned companies.

The US Treasury doesn't like it when Americans spend money in Cuba, despite the improved relations between the two countries over the past decade.

In fact, the Treasury maintains a blacklist of organizations that cannot accept donations from U.S. citizens. The United States' relationship with the Cuban military and security services is frosty at best. The most recent and comprehensive list is available over here.

Read our helpful guide to Cuban currency if you're having trouble wrapping your head around the island nation's convoluted dual currency system.

Step 6 In general, you should keep your records and receipts for at least five years.

U.S. officials have the right to request documentation of your Cuba trip for up to five years after you return home.

This may sound eerie, but anecdotal evidence suggests it occurs only rarely. However, it's always preferable to be safe than sorry, so make sure to keep all of your documentation for at least five years in case you get questioned about your trip.

Extra Advice for Americans Visiting Cuba: Rely Only on Private Transport

How to Travel to Cuba - African Cuban Woman

Tour guides in Cuba are plentiful and eager to tell you about the history and culture of the country. Not only can you take a classic car tour of Havana, but you can also go horseback riding in the mountains of Viales or go on a hiking excursion in the Sierra Maestra.

Keep in mind that not every tour guide is trustworthy. There has been a sudden boom in tourism to Cuba, particularly from the United States, and many people are eager to cash in on this trend. Only book tours with reputable local guides to avoid being taken in by fake or incompetent guides. Plus, don't forget to tip them if they do a good job.

Tour Republic provides thrilling excursions across the island with knowledgeable tour guides. Have faith; you're in capable hands

Inns and B&Bs are out.

Private homes, known as casas particulares in Cuba, are similar to American bed and breakfasts.

They are privately owned by families in Cuba who charge a nightly rate for their rooms. You can get a more genuine taste of Cuban life at a much lower cost than at a hotel.

Additionally, many casas provide guests with a morning meal of home-cooked fare. The average cost of a night in a casa ranges from $20 to $50 USD.

Check the most up-to-date version of the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to make sure your casa particular is not on the blacklist.

Visit the paladares for some food.

Authentic Cuban cuisine can be found at Paladares, which are privately owned restaurants run by talented Cuban chefs.

The food and service at paladares are both superior to those at Cuba's state-run restaurants. The price of a meal at a paladar can range from very expensive to very cheap, depending on the level of opulence or simplicity of the establishment. Costs vary, but a meal out will typically run you between $10 and $30 USD. As an aside, take a look at how much money you'd actually spend on a vacation to Cuba.

You may be used to using review sites like Yelp to find a new restaurant back home, but in Cuba, that information isn't readily available. To avoid getting lost, bring a travel guide like this one from Lonely Planet.

Learn more about how to avoid getting sick and save money in Cuba by reading our food safety guide.

Take cabs that aren't shared

There are two types of taxis available for hailing in Cuba: state-run ones and privately-owned ones known as almendrones.

State taxis in Cuba are owned and operated by the government, while privately owned cabs are operated by their respective drivers. Because many of them are the brightly painted, meticulously restored classic American cars known as almendrones, they are sure to catch your eye as you travel through Cuba.

Spend your money locally.

When visiting Cuba under the "Support for the Cuban People" category, visitors are expected to patronize locally owned establishments.

Staying in a casa particular, eating at a paladare, seeing a local musician or artist perform, or enrolling in a salsa dancing or cooking class are all great ways to give back to the community.

Concerning American Tourists Considering a Trip to Cuba

Backpacking Cuba

Find answers to frequently asked questions about visiting Cuba from the United States below. If you have any further inquiries, or if you find any errors in this article, we would appreciate it if you would let us know so that we may correct them.

The United States has not implemented a blanket ban on all travel to Cuba. You can still visit Cuba as a U.S. citizen if you fit into one of the 12 categories of authorized tourists.

A current U.S. passport is required for travel to Cuba. Your passport's expiration date must be at least six months after your planned date of return.

Americans can travel to Cuba without being part of a tour group if they so choose. Independent travel to Cuba is permitted under any of the 12 categories approved for tourists.

You don't need to get some sort of official document called a "general license" or "travel category" in order to travel. Choosing a category of legal travel is all that remains. Then, just let the Cuban government know when you make your reservation.

Unfortunately, the OFAC has made an exception for two types of travel:

  • Academic study and academic gatherings
  • Activities open to the public include shows, lectures, clinics, workshops, contests, and displays.

Your general license will necessitate that you engage in activities for a minimum of six hours per day. To the best of our knowledge, returning American tourists are not routinely asked about their plans. You should, however, make preparations in advance, just in case.

In Havana, as long as you meet the requirements set forth by the Office of Foreign Assets Control's Cuba travel regulations, you are free to do whatever you like in the evenings.

The unlucky reality is "no." Cuba isn't worth a visit just for its stunning shores. When it comes to tourism, the OFAC is very clear: you can't go there. The following trip would NOT be counted as "Support for the Cuban People."

"On a trip to Cuba, one person intends to rent a bicycle and ride around the city and along the coast, stopping occasionally to have short conversations with local beach vendors." The traveler plans to stay in a hotel that is not on the Cuban government's "Restricted List."

Trip does not qualify for this blanket license because "none of these activities promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba."

In Cuba, your spending is completely unrestricted. However, how you allocate your resources has real-world consequences. American tourists to Cuba are prohibited from patronizing establishments with ties to the armed forces. You can view the full list of banned companies on the State Department's website.  
In case you've been living under a rock for the past few years, you may recall hearing reports of mysterious "sonic attacks" on American diplomats in Cuba. State Department issued travel warning after hearing rumors of these attacks

Since the time this article was written, no American tourists have been the target of sonic attacks in Cuba.

When compared to other countries in the Caribbean, Cuba is a very secure destination for tourists.

Exit Strategy

When you finally make it to Cuba after enduring a few bumps in the road, you'll be rewarded with a trip to a unique and fascinating destination.

Keep this handy guide open while planning a trip to Cuba, and don’t forget to read our 58 travel tips to Cuba Cuba is a fascinating, unique, and lawful the place where Americans go on vacation If you adhere to the tips and advice in this piece, your journey will go off without a hitch.

So, now that we can finally leave the rumors of a travel ban to Cuba behind us, let's get packing!

Please note that the information presented herein is not intended to replace professional legal counsel. While we make every effort to provide informative and accurate legal resources, you should still seek the counsel of an attorney for specific legal questions.

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