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An American in Cuba: How to Obtain Your Cuban Travel Visa if You Are a U.S. Citizen

An American woman standing by the seashore with the American flag placed over her left shoulder and left arm.

While the allure of Cuba appeals to many nationalities across the world, visiting this Caribbean Island can be a bit challenging, to say the least.

For Americans, this can certainly be the case.


Planning a trip to Cuba can be exciting, but may be a bit confusing for travelers, especially if you’re an American and have never navigated the process in the past.

From understanding the distinction between the different types of necessary travel documents to navigating the application process, the entire process will be much easier if you are prepared ahead of time.

Understanding the U.S. Cuba Travel Landscape: A Guide for American Adventurers

Man driving a blue car along the streets with a blonde woman in the passenger seat.

The political climate between the U.S. and Cuba has been a complex dance for decades, with periods of warming and cooling relations impacting travel regulations.

While recent years have seen some positive developments between these two countries, it’s crucial to remember that regulations can still change rapidly.

This is one significant reason to work with a reputable online site like Easy Tourist Card to help you determine whether or not the latest information you have is correct.

Here is a brief timeline of events that have transpired between the United States and its Caribbean neighbor:

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

1960: The U.S. embargo on Cuba was implemented, which severely restricted travel.

1963: Travel to Cuba for most U.S. citizens became effectively banned.

1970: The Cold War thawed in the 1970s, bringing increased dialogue and cultural exchanges between Cuba and the U.S. However, President Carter’s human rights concerns led to a renewed chill by the decade’s end.

1982: Restrictions tighten again, making travel even more difficult for Americans who wished to visit Cuba.

1998: By the end of the decade, a limited easing of travel restrictions for certain categories was established, such as family visits, religious activities, etc.

2009: The Obama administration works hard to loosen restrictions, allowing increased travel for educational and cultural purposes. This raised hopes for normalized relations, but progress remained gradual.

2014: Diplomatic relations are restored between the U.S. and Cuba and embassies are reopened.

2015: Commercial flights and cruises to Cuba resume.

2016-2017: Trump is elected U.S. President and begins to scale back some allowances. He continues this through his presidency, making travel to Cuba again challenging for U.S. citizens.

2021: Biden is elected to the U.S. presidency and eases some Trump-era restrictions, but re-adds Cuba to travel warning list.

Current state: Certain categories continue to be open for U.S. travelers (leisure, family visits, research), but regulations remain subject to change

While diplomatic relations are always prone to change, travel for Americans to Cuba is currently possible as long as you make sure to have the appropriate documents in place.

Cuba Green Tourist Card

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

Your Key to


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

How to travel to Cuba as an American citizen

According to the United States Embassy in Cuba, in order for United States citizens to travel to Cuba they must qualify for a “general license” based on one of 12 approved categories.

The 12 categories of U.S.-approved travel to Cuba are currently as follows:

  1. Support for the Cuban people: This is the most common category for most Americans and means that you will engage in activities that enhance the lives of the Cuban people, support civil society, and promote independent initiatives.
  2. Humanitarian projects: Contribute to projects directly benefiting the Cuban people, including medical and environmental initiatives.
  3. Educational activities: Participate in educational programs or activities involving interaction with Cuban people.
  4. Journalistic activity: Travel for journalists and activities supporting news reporting.
  5. Family visits: Travel related to visiting close relatives in Cuba.
  6. Official government business: Travel for official U.S. government, foreign government, or intergovernmental organization purposes.
  7. Professional research and meetings: Travel for research or attendance at professional meetings.
  8. Religious activities: Travel for religious purposes, including attending services or engaging in missionary work.
  9. Public performances and competitions: Travel for participation in public performances, sports competitions, or similar events.
  10. Activities of private foundations or institutes: Travel for activities organized by private foundations, research, or educational institutes.
  11. Exportation, importation, or transmission of information: Travel related to the export, import, or transmission of information or informational materials.
  12. Certain export transactions under Department of Commerce regulations: Travel for specific transactions authorized under existing Department of Commerce guidelines.

Most US citizens will choose the “Support for the Cuban People” category when determining their reason to visit Cuba, but please feel free to contact us for more help if you are unclear under which category your travel will fall.

Tourist Card or Visa…Which Do I Need?

Two Visa's in one photo separated by a white line.

For Americans who are traveling to Cuba for leisure purposes, you will not need to apply for a Cuban Visa

Instead, the document you need is called a Cuba Tourist Card.

Cuba Tourist Cards (sometimes referred to as a Cuba Tourist Visa) come in two distinct forms, a Green Cuba Tourist Card and a Pink Cuba Tourist Card.

Here is a clear breakdown of both:

The Green Cuba Tourist Card:

This card is what you will apply for if you are a traveler departing from countries other than the United States.

If you hold a U.S. passport and are flying to Cuba from a location outside the United States, the Green Cuban Tourist Card used to be acceptable. But recently rules have changed and we now suggest that Americans always apply for the Pink Cuba Tourist Card.

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 AND for American citizens.

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

While some airlines will randomly allow Americans to board with a Green Tourist Card, here at Easy Tourist Card we highly recommend that all Americans apply for the Pink Tourist Card, regardless of where they are traveling from.

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

Cuba Green Tourist Card

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

Can Americans Apply for Their Cuba Tourist Card Online?

The quick answer? Absolutely!

In fact, applying for your Cuba Tourist Card can be much easier when you choose to do so through a reputable online site like Easy Tourist Card. For more information, visit Cuban Non Immigrant Visa.

Applying for a Cuban Tourist Card can be a daunting task when done through a Cuban embassy or an airline. These methods can involve long queues, long wait times, and plenty of uncertainty.

However, our website can simplify the process.

Easy Tourist Card offers online applications, expedited delivery, worldwide shipping, and even provides insurance if needed.

Here are the steps you’ll want to take when you choose to apply for your Cuba Tourist Card with us:

  1. Visit the “Get Your Visa” Tab on Our Website: From here you will choose between the Pink Cuba Tourist Card or the Green Cuba Tourist Card, depending on the criteria listed above.
  2. Complete the Form: Fill out the online application. (Note: if you don’t have current health insurance, you can purchase this through our site at the time of checkout as well.)
  3. Make Your Payment: Pay the appropriate fee for the Cuba Tourist Card you’ve selected using our secure online form.
  4. Submit Your Application: Electronically submit your request through our website.
  5. Receive Your Cuba Visa Tourist Card: Easy Tourist Cards promptly processes and delivers your Tourist Card to your specified address, typically within a week.
  6. Review Your Tourist Card: You will receive an empty Tourist Card that you will need to fill out before you arrive in Cuba.

Once you receive your Cuba Tourist Card, you are all set! This card, along with your valid passport (that must still be good for 6 months) is your entry into Cuba.

It’s also important to note that your Cuba Tourist Visa allows you to enter Cuba one time and you can stay for a period of up to 90 days. The Tourist Card can also be renewed for another 90 days while you are in the country.

When You Want a Hassle-Free Trip, Easy Tourist Card is the Answer

If you are an American who has dreamed of traveling to Cuba, now is a great time to go.

And with Easy Tourist Card, you can rest assured that obtaining your Cuban Tourist Card will be a breeze.

When you choose Easy Tourist Card, you choose:

Convenient online application: No need to stand in lines or waste precious travel time. Complete our secure online form in minutes, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Expert guidance: Our team of Cuba travel specialists is here to answer your questions and ensure you have the right documentation every step of the way.

Swift processing: We understand that timing is often a priority. We will process your application efficiently, ensuring you receive your Tourist Card promptly.

Stress-free peace of mind: Travel with confidence knowing your Tourist Card is valid and ready for your Cuban escapade.

At Easy Tourist Card, we know how to take the hassle out of your trip to Cuba, leaving you free to focus on what truly matters: the adventures that await. Apply today!

Cuba Pink

Tourist Card

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

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