We at CIT get calls every day from people unsure about how travel to Cuba works. See below for a quick rundown of our Top Five FAQs – please share!
Can Americans still travel to Cuba?
Yes! US citizens can still travel to Cuba legally as long as they are going under one of 12 legal categories as described by the US Treasury Department.
Most of the available categories don’t apply to the average person (i.e., you have a close family member who is a Cuban national) but there is still one broad category open to all US citizens: support for the Cuban people.
When you book your flight to Cuba you will need to declare your legal reason for traveling to Cuba, so it is important to make sure you know which category you’re traveling under, familiarize yourself with the requirements, and choose it accordingly.
What does “Support for the Cuban people” mean?
The basic idea behind “support for the Cuban people” is that your tourist dollars aren’t supposed to end up in the hands of the Cuban government.
So for starters, you cannot stay at certain hotels, eat at certain restaurants, or shop at certain stores, etc., if they are owned and operated by the Cuban government.
Also, there’s a reason this category is called “Support for the Cuban people” – you’re supposed to be engaging in a meaningful way with Cuban people every single day! This could mean visiting a local art gallery, taking a private dance class, attending a private musical concert, visiting a school, etc.
What documentation do I need to visit Cuba?
Everyone traveling to Cuba needs a passport, and your passport needs to be valid for up to six months after your travel date.
You will also need a visa, sometimes referred to as a tourist card. In order to qualify for the visa you need to declare your legal reason for traveling to Cuba under a general license (the 12 categories) and provide the necessary documentation.
As a courtesy for all of our travelers, we provide your visa and the Certificate of Travel, which declares your legal reason for traveling, as well as an official itinerary that demonstrates all of your “support for the Cuban people” activities.
What will be the process when I return from Cuba, how do I need to prove I did a “Support for the Cuban people” trip?
It depends. We have traveled to Cuba countless times and it’s always a different experience upon returning. Sometimes the authorities ask no questions; sometimes they want to see time stamped photos of every single day as proof of activities.
The safest and surest way to travel to Cuba is to do it through an agency such as CIT. We are well versed in the regulations on Cuba travel and will make sure you have a safe, legally compliant, and seamless trip!
Is Cuba safe to visit?
Yes! Cuba has very low levels of crime. You should just use common sense precautions like you would in any other place.
The Cuban economy relies heavily on tourism, too, so local people and authorities alike are invested in making sure that tourists feel safe and welcome.