The Cuban Tourist Visa Experience: 10 Steps You Need to Know Before You Go

An old couple with their four luggage, looking at the ocean.

Cuba…the Caribbean gem renowned for its colorful history and captivating dance and dining culture, beckons travelers from around the world.

However, for U.S. citizens, embarking on a journey to Cuba can still be quite daunting, due to unique travel restrictions.

Key Takeaway
  • U.S citizens can visit cuba under 12 categories of travel.
  • There are different types of visit visas - the Green Visa and the Pink Visa - and which type you need will depend on certain factors.
  • A green card is cheaper than a pink card. You will need to also factor in the delivery cost of the card.
  • These cards allow 90 day stays in Cuba and one single entry.

While traveling through Cuba can be a memorable adventure, just getting to this iconic Caribbean island can be quite the adventure as well.

But if you plan ahead and do the right research, your journey to this magnificent country will be one that you will never forget nor regret.


Can a U.S. Citizen Visit Cuba as a Tourist?

Visiting Cuba as a U.S. citizen has had a complex history, shaped by ever-evolving regulations and diplomatic relations.

Keeping abreast of the current situation at any given time in history can feel overwhelming and it’s always important to read the most up-to-date requirements before you begin your travel plans.

Sites like the U.S. State Department or reputable online Cuban visa websites can help you stay apprised of the current situation and aware of the most recent changes to any regulations.

Here is a brief historical timeline of recent governing restrictions and allowances for travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens:

  • 1960: Diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the Cuban government begin to deteriorate.
  • 1962: The U.S. imposes a full embargo on trade with Cuba.
  • 1977: The U.S. allows travel to Cuba for academic, religious, and journalistic purposes.
  • 1982: Travel for educational purposes expands.
  • 2000: Travel for “people-to-people” exchanges increases.
  • 2004: The Bush administration tightens travel restrictions for Cuban-Americans and Cuban citizens.
  • 2009: President Obama eases restrictions on family travel and remittances to Cuba.
  • 2014: Under President Obama, regulations are further relaxed, allowing for more general travel categories.
  • 2017: The Trump administration reinstates some restrictions on travel to Cuba.
  • 2020: New rules limit non-family travel to Cuba under the “Support for the Cuban People” category.
  • 2021: The U.S. State Department returns Cuba to its list of state sponsors of terrorism, and travel restrictions and rules continue to evolve, with varying levels of enforcement.
  • 2022: The White House lifts some restrictions on the island, including by expanding U.S. flights into the country, re-establishing a family reunification program, increasing visa processing, and lifting the remittance cap for families.
  • 2023: Travel to and from Cuba continues to improve and more U.S. tourists visit the island than have in decades, though they must do so with the appropriate Cuban visa and other documents prepared beforehand.

Despite past challenges, it is now more possible than it has been for decades for U.S. citizens to visit Cuba, as long as all your documents are in order.


Can a non-U.S. Citizen Visit Cuba as a Tourist? 

When it comes to traveling to Cuba, it’s not just U.S. citizens who have the opportunity to explore this vibrant destination. Non-U.S. citizens from around the world can also visit Cuba for tourism purposes.

Check Passport Validity: Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure date from Cuba. Many countries require this for international travel. 

Select a Travel Category: Determine the purpose of your trip to Cuba. While most non-U.S. citizens can visit for tourism, it’s essential to understand the specific category you fall under, such as tourism, family visits, cultural exchange, etc.

Obtain a Green Tourist Card: If you’re not a U.S. citizen and are traveling from a country outside the United States, you’ll typically need to obtain a Green Tourist Card, also known as a Cuban Tourist Card or Visa. You can acquire it online with us or through airlines, travel agencies, or the Cuban Embassy in your home country.


These steps provide a general overview of the process for non-U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba for tourism or other permitted purposes. Be sure to check with the Cuban Embassy or relevant authorities in your home country for the most up-to-date information and requirements.

Whether you are traveling from the United States or another country, Easy Tourist Card was born to simplify the Cuba visa application process and ensure compliance with requirements.

Not only do we offer convenience, but peace of mind as well. We are here to provide you with the needed guidance and support to make sure you meet all the necessary criteria before your trip begins.

What are the Categories for Travel to Cuba and How do I Qualify?

Foreign nationals can visit Cuba for tourism, but the rules and restrictions vary for American citizens. Until 2014, Cuba’s travel restrictions posed challenges for Americans, but President Obama initiated significant changes.

The objective was to eliminate the need for specific licenses, replacing them with more accessible general licenses. The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) created general licenses for 12 categories of travel.

The 12 categories of U.S.-approved travel to Cuba encompass a broad spectrum of purposes:

  • Visiting Family: Travel to Cuba is permitted for visits to close relatives, including blood relatives, relatives by marriage, or adopted family members, within specific generational limits.
  • Official Government Business: Individuals engaged in official business for the U.S. government, foreign governments, or intergovernmental organizations involving the U.S. government can travel to Cuba under this category.
  • Journalism: Access is granted for journalistic activities, supporting both experienced journalists and technical personnel.
  • Research and Meetings: Travelers can engage in research within their field of expertise or attend professional meetings and conferences.
  • Educational Purposes: While not for attending universities, this category allows participation in educational activities, catering to both students and professors.
  • Public Performances, Workshops, Clinics, Exhibits, and Athletic Competitions: Artists, performers, and sports enthusiasts can visit Cuba for their respective activities.
  • Religious Purposes: Religious organizations, along with their staff and members, are eligible if engaged in full-time religious activities.
  • Support for the Cuban People: Independent organizations promoting democracy transition and individuals/non-governmental organizations aiding Cuban civil society’s interests are included.
  • Humanitarian Projects: This category encompasses a range of sub-categories, including medical care, environmental projects, educational training, adult literacy, and small-scale enterprise development, among others.
  • Private Foundations Activities or Research for Educational Institutes: Travelers can collect non-commercial information in Cuba for educational purposes.
  • Exportation, Importation, and Transmission of Information or Informational Materials: Pertaining to the publishing, music, and film industries.
  • Export: Limited to authorized export transactions.

Most US citizens visit Cuba under the “Support for the Cuban People” license and use their taxi and restaurant receipts as proof of their support. If your travel purpose doesn’t align with these categories, a separate Cuban visa will be required to cross into Cuba. It’s best to work with a knowledgeable Cuba visa online agency who can make sure you’ve chosen the correct category and that all your paperwork has been completed appropriately.


Knowing the Difference: Which Cuba Tourist Card Do I Need?

When it comes to planning your trip to Cuba, understanding the distinction between the two types of Cuba Tourist Cards is essential. 

These cards, known as the Green Cuba Tourist Card and the Pink Cuba Tourist Card, cater to different categories of travelers.

Let’s delve into the details of each, ensuring you select the right one for your journey.

A sample Cuban Visa with watermark and green background

The Green Cuba Tourist Card:

This variant of the Cuba Tourist Card is designated for U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens who are flying from outside the United States.

If you’re not an American citizen and your travel originates outside the U.S., the Green Tourist Card is the one you’ll need.

It grants you access to Cuba and facilitates your stay, allowing you to explore the island’s rich culture and landscapes.

The Pink Cuba Tourist Card:

If you are a U.S. citizen or anyone who is traveling from the United States, the Pink Cuba Tourist Card is the appropriate choice.

This card is specifically designed to accommodate those who are traveling to Cuba from United States soil as well as for Americans, regardless of where their travel originates.

It plays a crucial role in ensuring compliance with U.S. regulations while enabling you to experience the unique charm of Cuba.

A sample Cuban Visa with watermark and pink background

The Nuts and Bolts: What is the Cost of a Cuba Tourist Card and When Will I Receive It?

Now that you understand a bit more about why you need a Cuba tourist visa and which type you need to apply for, let’s look at a few more important details that will be part of your overall Cuba visa process:

The Cost of a Cuban Visa 

The cost of a Cuban visa can vary depending on several factors, including your nationality, the method of application, and the specific travel agency or airline you choose.

If you choose to apply for a visa through our website at Easy Tourist Card, the fees are as follows:

Pink Tourist Card – 100 USD

Green Tourist Card – 40 USD

(Note: Shipping your tourist card can range in price from 30 USD to 60 USD depending on your country of residence.)

It’s important to note that while the visa fee itself is a significant part of the cost, there may be additional fees associated with the application process, such as insurance fees or rush delivery charges, depending on the method you choose.

If you elect to use us as your Cuba visa online processing site, your total price will be clear before you checkout.

A photo of bills, pennies and uncapped pen.

The Processing Time for a Cuban Visa

The processing time for a Cuba Visa can also vary, depending on what route you take to get your tourist card.

However, if you choose to use us to process your visa, you might have the option to expedite the process and receive your Cuba Visa sooner, possibly even in one day, depending on where you’re traveling from or your nationality. 

As with most travel plans, it’s advisable to apply for your Cuba Visa well in advance of your travel date to allow for any unexpected delays.

A visa application form with a black ball pen and a passport over it.

How Long Can I Stay in Cuba with a Cuba Tourist Card?

The duration of your stay in Cuba with a Cuba tourist card depends on several factors, including your nationality and the type of tourist card you hold. 

An ancient city with old houses and streets.

In most cases, travelers can stay in Cuba for up to 90 days with a standard Cuba tourist card.

It’s essential to note that Cuban authorities have made it clear that the clock starts ticking from the moment you enter Cuba. You must depart Cuba before your authorized stay expires to avoid any overstay complications.

Additionally, your Cuba tourist card is typically valid for a single-entry trip.

If you plan to leave Cuba during your visit and return, you will need to obtain a new tourist card upon re-entry.

If your travel plans involve a more extended stay or you are planning to conduct certain types of business, you may need to explore alternative visa options beyond the standard tourist card.

Regardless of your intended duration in Cuba, it’s advisable to check the latest visa requirements and regulations before traveling to ensure a trouble-free visit to this vibrant island nation.

Easy Tourist Card: Your One-Stop Shop for All Your Cuba Travel Needs

In the realm of Cuba travel, navigating visa requirements and regulations can be somewhat complex, but we can help alleviate that.

With comprehensive support, guidance, and a user-friendly online platform, Easy Tourist Card offers a convenient one-stop solution for all your Cuba travel needs.

From securing the right Cuba tourist card to providing essential insights and assistance, we are a committed partner in making sure your Cuban adventure is memorable for all the right reasons.

A female tourist holding a card while waiting on a sideway.
Two tourists looking at an ancient infrastructure.

Whether you’re a first-time traveler or a seasoned explorer, Easy Tourist Card is here to ensure that your experience in Cuba is filled with cultural discoveries, breathtaking landscapes, and unforgettable moments.

Leave the complexities behind and embrace the allure of Cuba with confidence, knowing that Easy Tourist Card has your back at every step of your journey.

Your Cuban adventure begins here, with Easy Tourist Card – your trusted travel companion for all things Cuba.
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