Ready for Your Cuban Adventure? 6 Essential Steps for Obtaining Your Cuban Visa for Travel

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Embarking on a new journey is always exciting, but the pre-flight complexities of a trip to Cuba can make even the most seasoned traveler feel frustrated.

And for Americans, this is particularly true.


Cuba is a country full of culture and culinary delights, but its complicated history can make getting there a bit tricky, especially for those traveling from U.S. soil.

If you are an American or will be traveling from the United States to Cuba, this guide is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

From understanding the various travel categories to navigating the tourist card application process, we can help make the whole process easier.

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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.

Demystifying the Cuban Travel Landscape for Americans

The United States and Cuba have had a long and complicated history, and knowing a bit about this relationship will help you understand why certain travel restrictions continue to be in place.

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For centuries, Cuba was ruled by Spain. After the United States helped the country obtain its independence, a strong U.S. presence remained, particularly in the form of military and economic.

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While this relationship seemed stable for a period of time, tensions continued to rise between these two countries after the Cuban revolution in 1959, leading to the nationalization of U.S.-owned businesses and strained relations.

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Today, these two countries have been able to improve their relationship to a point where travel is once again possible and encouraged by both governments.

That said, it’s important to know that there are some specific categories under which Americans are permitted to travel and certain types of Cuban travel cards that are specific to people who are coming from the United States to this Caribbean Island.

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The 12 Categories for American Travel (and Why They Matter)

It was under the Obama administration that the easement of travel restrictions for Americans to Cuba was put into place.

While this has been excellent news for Americans who want to travel to Cuba (and for Cubans who want Americans to visit) there are still certain criteria that must be met.

Issued by the US. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), these criteria include things such as family visits, official business of the U.S. government, journalistic activity, professional research and professional meetings, athletic competitions, and support for the Cuban people.

In total, there are 12 categories and you can see the full list (with explanations) on our website here.

The Support for the Cuban People Category

For most Americans who are traveling to Cuba, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) category that is going to be most common is “Support for the Cuban People.”

The OFAC defines this category as: “human rights organizations; independent organizations designed to promote a rapid, peaceful transition to democracy; and individuals and non-governmental organizations that promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba.”

What does this mean for you?

As a casual traveler to the country of Cuba, your goal is most likely to learn more about the country and the people who live there.

By traveling under this category, you are showing your support for the Cuban people during your time there, while restricting any benefits to the Cuban government.

Question: How Do I Show Support to the Cuban People?

While this may seem confusing initially, it’s really not.

In fact, there have been specific guidelines laid out that will help you to know if you are fulfilling the requirements of the travel category “support for the Cuban people” during your time in the country.

Here are some of the ways in which you will be able to justify using this category during your stay in Cuba:

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Stay in a privately-owned Airbnb (or other type of rental property) or stay in a room in a private Cuban residence.

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Eat at privately-owned Cuban restaurants.

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Shop at privately-owned stores that are run by Cubans.

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Visit independent museums and art galleries.

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Opt for tours provided by privately owned businesses.

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Attend and actively participate in cultural events such as music performances and dance workshops that are put together and performed by Cuban artists and musicians.

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Support other types of privately owned businesses, such as bike rentals, gift stores, and coffee shops.

Traveling to Cuba under the “support for the Cuban people” category is straightforward for Americans, as long as you make sure to engage in activities that involve the Cuban people or spend money on food, accommodations, and recreation in places that are owned and operated by Cuban citizens.

Question: Do I Have to Prove That I Supported the Cuban People?

In order to make sure that you’ve fulfilled the requirements of the “support for the Cuban people” category, you’ll want to hang on to any receipts or invoices you are given during your stay.

Though not common, you could be asked to show these documents on your return to the United States in order to prove that you stayed and shopped in locales that were privately owned.

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

Other Needed Documents...The Cuban Tourist Card

Now that you understand the categories for travel to Cuba for Americans, you will want to also understand what type of visa documentation you need to enter the country.

For Americans (and most other nationalities) a Cuban visa is not needed to enter Cuba.

Instead, most travelers will need a Cuban Tourist Card.

Cuban tourist cards come in two forms: a Green Tourist Visa and a Pink Tourist Visa.

Here is the difference between the two:

Pink Tourist Card:

If your journey to Cuba starts from the United States, the Pink Tourist Card is the one you’ll need.

Regardless of your nationality, if you are residing in or departing from the United States, you will apply for the Pink Tourist Card.

Green Tourist Card:

If you are starting your journey from a country outside the United States, you should apply for the Green Tourist Card.

Even if you possess a U.S. passport, the Green Tourist Card is the one you need if your trip is from a country other than the United States.

If at any point you are unclear about which Cuba Tourist Card is the one you need, don’t hesitate to reach out to our skilled team at Easy Tourist Card for help.

Still Unsure? Easy Tourist Cards Can Help

No matter how much research you do or how carefully you plan, you are bound to still have some questions about traveling to Cuba, especially regarding how to get a Cuban Visa in USA.

Let’s explore some of the most common ones, particularly for American travelers:

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1. What documents do Americans need to enter and depart Cuba?

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American travelers must present a valid passport (with 6 months validity left), a valid Cuban Tourist Card, proof of travel health insurance, a return air ticket, proof of sufficient funds (bank slip), and proof of accommodations.

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2. Can I Get My Tourist Card from the Cuban Embassy?

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While you can obtain your Cuba Tourist Card from your local Cuban embassy, the easiest and most efficient is through our website. This process is straightforward and allows you to apply for the card from the comfort of your own home. Our secure website takes credit and debit cards as well.

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3. How long does it take to process a Cuban Tourist Card?

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Our standard processing time is 1 business day. Our cards are delivered in less than 1 week.

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4. Is it true that the Cuban Government Requires that I have health insurance to travel?

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Yes, Cuban authorities mandate that all visitors to the island provide evidence of travel insurance that includes coverage for medical expenses. At Easy Tourist Card, we have the option for you to purchase Cuban travel insurance through our travel insurance partner IATI. You can buy this option during checkout.

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5. What if I want to extend my trip while in Cuba?

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Your Cuban Tourist Card allows for one single entry for a period of 90 days. The Card will be valid from the moment that you purchase it. This means that you can travel at any time after your purchase (the 90 day window will not begin until you enter the country.)

Your Tourist Card can also be extended for an extra 90 days while you are in Cuba, making the total maximum stay 180 days.

To extend your card, you will need your passport, your current visa, a receipt from the private accommodations where you are staying, the credit or debit card that you used to buy your travel insurance, and a document to prove you have travel insurance.

Once you have all these documents, you will need to visit one of the local immigration offices to extend your Cuba visa.

Easy Tourist Card: Your Answer to Traveling to Cuba with Confidence

Getting to Cuba does not have to be difficult when you partner with Easy Tourist Card.

From helping you navigate the travel requirements to making sure you have the right documents, Easy Tourist Card is your one-stop shop for everything you need to make your Cuban experience a meaningful one.

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At Easy Tourist Card we offer:

  • A Streamlined Process: Easy Tourist Cards simplifies the application process, ensuring a hassle-free experience for obtaining your Cuban Tourist Card.
  • Expert Guidance: With a focus on Cuba travel requirements, Easy Tourist Cards provides expert guidance and answers all of your questions.
  • Reliable Service: Easy Tourist Cards offers a reliable and efficient service, making us your most trustworthy travel companion.

If you’re ready to start your Cuban Tourist Card application process, click here to begin.

And remember: we are always available to answer any other questions you may have.

Easy Tourist Card: Your Cuban Travel Partner from beginning to end.

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.

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