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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.