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Cuba Traveler's Information
for US Citizens

Jan 17 2015: New regulations for USA travel to Cuba official FAQ

US Travel To Cuba Info - The Basics

Check out the video made by two filmmakers Blaza Nowara and Doree Simon from the US who went to Cuba in 2015. They explain how YOU can go to Cuba too

 



go to Cuba illegal
(for US citizens)

"When unlicensed travelers go to Cuba from the US they normally have to go through a third country. You will frequently see this referred to as the "Gateway" on various boards. The most common gateways to Cuba for unlicensed US travelers are Toronto, Montreal, Nassau (Bahamas), Cancun and Mexico City, and less frequently used Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) and Montego Bay. In my opinion Mexico and in particular Cancun are the gateways that offer the least risk of detection I say that because:

** Unlike Canada and the Bahamas, a traveller leaving from Mexico does not pre-clear US Customs and Immigration. You will not clear Customs/Immigration until you arrive back in the US. In Canada and the Bahamas you will go through US Customs and Immigration at the airport in Toronto, Montreal or Nassau.

** Cancun is the most popular destination for US tourists in the Caribbean. There is absolutely no reason why US Customs/Immigration would suspect you have been anywhere else but Cancun.

You can book your hotel and flight in/to Cuba through the this website with your US credit card without any risk. Your credit card receipt will state nothing about Cuba or whatever.

You should take the following steps in traveling back/forth:

- Enter Mexico from the US

- Mexico does not stamp passports on exit, although you will need a passport to enter Cuba.

- When you arrive back in Mexico from Cuba you will probably have to present your passport. The entry stamp that is placed there should be the only stamp you receive on your trip. Some people recommend presenting the passport with a $10 bill inside to avoid the Mexican entry stamp.

- After you arrive in Mexico make sure you strip all HAV luggage tags from you checked baggage.

- Throw away your Cuban tickets, boarding passes and any other paper evidence of your Cuban trip.

- Do not list Cuba as a Country visited on the Customs Declaration form.

- Do not bring back any high profile Cuban souvenirs like cigars, rum, t-shirts.

The fine by the way if you are unlucky or careless enough to get caught can be negotiated down to $1000 or less.

Flights from Nassau, Santo Domingo and Managua

Travel Documents For a US citizen

Passport (US related)

Make no mistake about it ... you need a "valid" passport to get into Cuba. Whereas in some countries you can get in with a US birth certificate (Mexico, Canada) or even an expired passport (Bahamas), you will NOT be admitted into Cuba with these credentials. Make sure its valid and current.
Passport Stamping - Fortunately, the Cubans know that returning to the US with a Cuba stamp can be trouble if you're not there with a General or Specific License from OFAC. It used to be that if you slipped the immigration official a $5 or $10 with your passport, it was no problem. However, now there are posted signs in the Immigration Department discouraging such practices.
Either way, the best thing to do is smile, say something nice then ask them in Spanish to please not stamp your passport. "Por favor, no empuje mi pasaporte" should do fine. This is still no guarantee that they won't however.

Holy crap ... they stamped my passport! (US related)

Immediately wire home and have them send you enough money to hide out in Cuba for the rest of your life!! You will need to ... just kidding.
If you check the OFAC papers, I'm sure you'll probably find a sanctioned way to go and not have to worry about it. If not, the chances of actually being assessed a fine are pretty remote anyway.
If you feel the need to bypass the system and go anyway, well ...
CAREFUL: Lying to an Immigration Official is a Federal Offense. If you lie, you'll probably get through. Then again, if they decide to question you, well ...
If you tell them the truth, they'll probably just wave you on through. However, if not, read the above OFAC section.
If you get through, there's always that stamped passport you have to contend with.
Again, the safest way to go about it is under the OFAC guidelines. A little reading can go a long way.


Visa / Tourist card

Tourist Card Visa Cuba Cuban unwritten rules say: you have to book an accommodation for the first night.
You can buy your tourist card at the airport of you departure to Cuba.
For more and extra information check out the regular traveler's information page

Regular Traveler's Information

 

Reviews by US Travelers to Cuba

Send us your review


Name: Lisa
Country: USA

I had a fabulous time in Cuba. I spent most of my 8 days in the Havana area and then took a short two day trip to the countryside (Vinales). I found the internet to be a bit slow but not too bad. I searched for local news at home (msn, cnn, even local home news page) and sent several emails to check in. For that I paid $6 CUC per hour. Easily on par or less than other countries I have visited and less than what I paid for my mobile phone when I went sailing in the Virgin Islands. I did not make phone calls from Cuba. I found the people to be friendly, helpful and not at all against Americans. Customs was a breeze, and getting back into the US was not difficult. My biggest problem was not speaking much Spanish and even then, people were very nice and helpful. Food is basic but fillin! g. Prices reasonable but not cheap. I would certainly go back.


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