Won't it be great after you've picked up the phone and got your questions answered today? Then you can just smile that big smile of satisfaction, sigh to yourself on the inside, and think, ... 'This is the best trip planning decision I've ever made.'
The Correct Jan 16, 2015 OFAC General License Rules for US Residents Going to Cuba
In 2009, President Obama eased restrictions for U.S. citizens to travel legally to Cuba. Tourist travel without having an authorized reason is still prohibited due to the embargo. You can travel to Cuba under two different types of licenses:
General: On January 16, 2015, General Licenses were expanded to include 12 existing categories of authorized travel, incorporating categories that previously required a specific license.
Specific: A specific license is not transferable, is limited to the facts and circumstances specific to the application, and is subject to the provisions of 31 c.f.r. Part 501, the relevant executive order or part of 31 c.f.r. Chapter v.
If it is determined that you can travel under a General License, no further permission from OFAC is required. General licenses will be made available for all authorized travellers in twelve (12) existing categories:
Family Visits: visiting “close relatives” who are nationals of Cuba or visiting "close relatives" who are U.S. Government employees assigned to the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Cuba. Family Visits include persons visiting a close relative (any individual related to a person by blood, marriage, or adoption who is no more than three generations removed from that person or from a common ancestor with that person) who limit on the duration or frequency of such travel.
Cuban-born U.S. Citizens that came to the U.S. before 1971 need a U.S. Passport and a Visa issued by the Cuban Government
Cuban-born U.S. Citizens that came to the U.S. after 1971 need a U.S. Passport and a Cuban Passport issued by the Cuban Government
Cuban-American Family Members:
If your mother, grandmother or great-grandmother was born in Cuba (3 generations)
If your spouse or partner was born in Cuba (or their mother, grandmother, or great-grandmother)
If you live in the same house "as family" with a Cuban-born U.S. citizen
Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
Professional research and professional meetings
Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
Support for the Cuban people
Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials
Certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines
What to expect when you travel to Cuba legally: (use your imagination if going illegally)
Once you have determined which license best fits your criteria, begin the process of booking your trip with Marimar Travel & Tours or another Legal Travel to Cuba provider. Please allow three (3) months when you plan on visiting Cuba, especially during high season (November - March).
Step 1: The Qualification Process
Determine what license you qualify for (your agent can help you with this)
You fill out a reservation form with dates, names and other information
Your agent sends out your application for the Cuban visa or passport (fees are paid up front)
Your agent makes your airline reservation with an OFAC-approved chartered carrier (deposit required)
Your agent contacts Cuba and request availability for your preferred hotel (deposit required)
Step 3: The Confirmation Process
You receive your visa/passport from Cuba (Congratulations!)
Your agent confirms your airline, hotel and ground accommodations
Full payment for the trip is required at this time - cash, checks or credit cards accepted
Step 4: Documents for Travel
Documents you will receive from us prior to your departure:
Cuban visa or tourist card
Round-trip plane tickets from your destination to Cuba (e-tickets are allowed)
- note that your airline ticket name will match your Cuban visa name and won’t necessarily match your American passport name
- be sure to bring your invoice because your airline ticket will not show your flight return time
Vouchers for prepaid hotel, transportation and activities in Cuba