Compassion in Action: How to Apply for Cuban Tourist Visa for Humanitarian Efforts

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

― Jane Goodall

Cuba is a country full of beauty, culture, tradition, and enormously kind and generous people.

It is also a country that still wrestles with big humanitarian challenges and welcomes the help of others.


If you are an American who is interested in traveling to Cuba to engage in humanitarian efforts, you are to be commended for your commitment, your sacrifice of time, and your desire to do good in a place that needs and deserves it.

But if you are still unclear as to the process for securing the necessary Cuba Visa and how to go about making sure all of your paperwork is in order, then you’ve come to the right place.

Here is everything you need to know about the right Cuban visa for Americans who wish to serve in Cuba and what you need to do to go about applying for and obtaining it.

Traveling to Cuba for Americans: Understanding the 12 Categories of Travel

Tourist activities remain prohibited for Americans due to the longstanding embargo and travel restrictions imposed by the US government.

That said, there are 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba for Americans that are allowed, each defined for specific types of visits.

These 12 categories, established by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), provide ways for Americans to be able to visit the country and engage with Cuba (and Cuban citizens) for various purposes.

Understanding these categories is crucial for any American who wants to visit Cuba and make sure they are complying with US regulations.

Here is a breakdown of the 12 categories:

  1. Family Visits: Travel to visit relatives in Cuba, including close relatives such as grandparents, parents, siblings, spouses, and children.
  2. Official Business of the US Government, Foreign Governments, and Certain Inter-governmental Organizations: Travel related to official government business, diplomatic activities, or work with certain international organizations.
  3. Journalistic Activity: Travel for journalistic activities, including reporting, writing, and filming, that are intended for publication or dissemination to the public.
  4. Professional Research and Professional Meetings: Travel for professional research or to attend professional meetings or conferences directly related to a profession, provided the purpose is not primarily tourist-oriented.
  5. Educational Activities: Travel for educational activities, including study abroad programs, exchanges with Cuban institutions, or participation in courses for academic credit.
  6. Religious Activities: Travel for religious activities, including participation in religious ceremonies, meetings, or humanitarian projects organized by religious organizations.
  7. Public Performances, Clinics, Workshops, Athletic and Other Competitions, and Exhibitions: Travel for participation in public performances, sports competitions, workshops, or exhibitions, provided the event is not organized by the Cuban government.
  8. Support for the Cuban People: Travel for activities that support the Cuban people, such as interacting with local communities, engaging in entrepreneurial activities, or participating in cultural exchanges.
  9. Humanitarian Projects: Travel for humanitarian projects or to provide support to the Cuban people, including activities related to disaster relief, community development, or medical assistance.
  10. Activities of Private Foundations or Research or Educational Institutes: Travel for activities conducted by private foundations or research or educational institutes that are related to Cuba, such as cultural or academic exchanges.
  11. Exportation, Importation, or Transmission of Information or Informational Materials: Travel for activities related to the exportation, importation, or transmission of informational materials, including books, films, artworks, or other media.
  12. Certain Export Transactions: Travel for transactions related to the exportation of authorized goods to Cuba, including agricultural products, medical supplies, or telecommunications equipment.

Each category has its own set of criteria and requirements that travelers must meet to qualify for legal travel to Cuba. It’s essential for Americans planning to visit Cuba to carefully review these categories and ensure compliance with US regulations.

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For US nationals or those departing from a US airport. Explore Cuba for up to 90 days within 180 days of issuance

Humanitarian Efforts in Cuba: How Can I Make a Difference?

Humanitarian work involves providing assistance and support to vulnerable populations in need, to alleviate suffering and improve quality of life.

In Cuba, humanitarian efforts play a crucial role in addressing various social, economic, and health challenges faced by the population.

Authorized humanitarian projects for non-Cuban visitors include a wide range of initiatives aimed at addressing pressing needs in Cuban communities.

Medical missions focus on providing healthcare services, such as medical consultations, surgeries, and access to medication, to underserved populations.

Educational programs aim to enhance knowledge and skills among Cuban residents, covering areas such as language education, vocational training, and academic exchanges.

Community development initiatives focus on infrastructure projects, social services, and capacity-building activities to improve living conditions and empower local communities.

(For more information about humanitarian efforts in Cuba, you can visit the US State Department official fact sheet to find out what is allowed as a humanitarian project in Cuba.)

Adhering to U.S. regulations is essential for individuals engaging in humanitarian work in Cuba.

Selecting the Humanitarian Projects category under the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) guidelines ensures compliance with U.S. regulations of “aiding the Cuban people” while supporting humanitarian projects that benefit the Cuban population.

By following these guidelines, individuals can make a positive impact and contribute to the well-being of Cuban nationals while adhering to legal requirements.

Know Before You Go: The Essential Documents for Travel

Before embarking on your journey to Cuba for humanitarian efforts, it’s crucial to ensure you have the necessary documents in order. (Even for those electing to visit Cuba for humanitarian efforts, there is no visa waiver program.)

The Cuban Tourist Visa:

When you decide to travel to Cuba for humanitarian purposes, you’ll need to obtain a Cuban Tourist Visa. The Cuba Tourist Card must be with you when you enter and Depart Cuba and is essential for complying with U.S. regulations regarding humanitarian travel to Cuba.

There are two types of Cuban Tourist Cards: the Green Tourist Card and the Pink Tourist Card. There are specific distinctions to both.

The Green Tourist Card:

This card is intended for travelers departing from countries other than the United States. It serves tourists and visitors from various nationalities worldwide, except those traveling directly from the U.S.

The Pink Tourist Card:

The Pink Tourist Card is specifically for individuals with U.S. passports or foreign nationals starting their journey from the United States. This pink-hued Cuban Tourist Card is required for both U.S. citizens and non-citizens departing from U.S. territory.

For Americans, the Pink Tourist Card is the standard requirement for entry into Cuba, irrespective of their departure location. 

By understanding the requirements for Cuban Tourist Cards and ensuring you have the appropriate documentation in place, you can embark on your humanitarian mission to Cuba with confidence and peace of mind.

The Cuba Visa Application for the Cuban Tourist Card

When applying for your tourist card online, the steps should be relatively straightforward:

  1. You’ll choose a reputable site through which to apply (such as Easy Tourist Card).
  2. You select which card you need (the Pink Tourist Card or the Green Tourist Card).
  3. You provide the address to where you’d like it shipped.
  4. You select the payment option and purchase your card(s) at checkout.
  5. Your cards should be delivered in 2-5 business days (faster if you’ve chosen an expedited service.)
When You're Ready to Serve… Let Easy Tourist Card Serve You First

As you prepare to embark on your humanitarian mission to Cuba, it’s essential to recognize the significance of your efforts in contributing to positive change and supporting communities in need.

Your commitment to serving others is commendable, and your impact can be profound.

At Easy Tourist Card, we understand the importance of facilitating your humanitarian journey with ease and efficiency. By applying for your Cuban tourist visa through our online platform, you can streamline the process and focus your energy on making a difference.

Applying for your Cuba Tourist Visa through Easy Tourist Card adds an extra layer of convenience and ease to the process.

As an authorized seller of the required document, Easy Tourist Card ensures a streamlined application process.

One example of this is our new partnership with Filter of Hope (, an NGO whose mission is to deliver clean water to persons in dire need of it.

While they do the commendable work of sending hundreds of volunteers to work in Cuba every year, we at Easy Tourist Card help them complete their mission by securing each volunteer’s Cuba visa online.

With user-friendly online platforms and dedicated customer support, Easy Tourist Card simplifies the Cuban visa application process, allowing you to focus on planning your Cuban adventure without any hassle. If you need assistance with the Cuban visa application form or have any questions, our team is ready to guide you through the process.

When you’re ready to serve, let Easy Tourist Card serve you first. Apply for your Cuban tourist visa online today and embark on your journey to make a meaningful impact in Cuba’s communities.

Your compassion and dedication are valued, and we’re here to help you turn your humanitarian aspirations into reality.

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Traveling from a NON-US airport? You’re in! Explore Cuba for up to 90 days within 180 days of issuance.

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