When we began selling airline tickets to Cuba in February, we immediately started getting a lot of questions regarding eligibility to travel to Cuba and the 12 official reasons a U.S. citizen can make the trip. We can now offer a bit more insight into the categories permitted.
If you think you might be eligible to travel under one of the reasons, here are some guidelines to help you better understand the nuances of the allowed categories: The permitted reasons to travel to Cuba (as defined by the U.S. Government) are:
1. Family visits
2. Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
3. Journalistic activity
4. Professional research and professional meetings
5. Educational activities
I am a faculty member, staff person, or student of an academic institution (the “University”), and my travel is incident to (1) participation in a structured educational program in Cuba as part of a course offered for credit by the undergraduate or graduate degree granting academic institution that is sponsoring the program, (2) non-commercial academic research in Cuba specifically related to Cuba and for the purpose of obtaining a graduate degree, (3) participation in a formal course of study at a Cuban academic institution, which will be accepted for credit toward a graduate or undergraduate degree, (4) teaching at a Cuban academic institution by a person, who is regularly employed in a teaching capacity at the University, (5) organization of, and preparation for, educational activities authorized in the Regulations, (6) educational exchanges sponsored by Cuban or U.S secondary schools involving secondary school students participation in formal course of study or in a structured educational program offered by a secondary school or other academic institution and led by a teacher or other secondary school official, (7) Sponsorship or co-sponsorship of noncommercial academic seminars, conferences, and workshops related to Cuba or global issues involving Cuba and attendance at such events by faculty, staff and students of a participating U.S. academic institution.
General license for people-to-people travel.
I am traveling to Cuba directly incident to educational exchange not involving academic study pursuant to a degree program and my travel (1) takes place under the auspices of an organization that is a person subject to the U.S. jurisdiction and that sponsors such exchanges to Cuba to promote people-to-people contact; (2) the travel is for the purpose of engaging while in Cuba in a full-time schedule of activities intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support for civil society, or promote the Cuba people’s independence from the Cuban authorities; (3) Each traveler will have a full-time schedule of educational activities that will result in meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba (4) an employee, paid consultant or agent of the sponsoring organization is accompanying the group travel to ensure that each traveler has a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities, and (5) the predominant portion of the activities to be engaged in will not be with individuals or entities acting for or on behalf of a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party.
6. Religious activities
7. Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
I am a person whose travel to Cuba is directly incident to athletic competition by amateur or semi-professional athletics or athletics teams traveling to participate in athletic competition in Cuba provided that (1) the competition is held under the auspices of the international sports federation for the relevant sport;(2) the U.S. participants are selected by the U.S. federation for the relevant sport; (3) the competition is open to the public.
General license for public performances, clinics, workshops, other athletic completion or non-athletic competitions and exhibitions
I am a person whose travel to Cuba is directly incident to participation in a public performance, clinic, workshop, non athletic competition or other athletic competition not covered by (a) above provided that: (1) the event is open to for attendance and in relevant situations participation by the Cuban public;(2) all U.S. profits from the event after the costs are donated to an independent nongovernmental organization in Cuba or a U.S.-based charity, with the objective of promoting people–to-people contacts or otherwise benefiting the Cuban people; and (3) any clinics or workshops in Cuba must be organized and run, at least in part, by the authorized traveler.
8. Support for the Cuban people
9. Humanitarian projects
10. Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
11. Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials
12. Certain authorized export transactions
If you meet the criteria and you’re ready to fly to Cuba, just search flights to Havana right here on CheapAir.com. For answers to many other common questions about flying to Cuba, please see our Cuba Travel FAQs. We hope this information provides you with enough detail to help with trip planning. Should you have other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Assuming you’ve arranged everything that is legally necessary to travel around Cuba, how do you then obtain the people-to-people/educational permit?
Hi Nicolas, the people-to-people option has been revoked as of November 9, 2017 (you can see some more information here: https://www.cheapair.com/blog/travel-news/changes-to-cuba-travel-for-u-s-citizens/). However, to travel on your own to Cuba, you can still travel under the “support for the Cuban people” license if you take care to avoid the forbidden businesses while in Cuba. If you’re traveling with an official group, people to people is still valid. Please let us know if you have other questions.
I would like to go to Cuba under the reason: Support for the Cuban people. How do I put together information or an itinerary to support this. Also, I am a nurse should I upload a resume’?
Hi Karen, As of June 17, 2017, the U.S. has limited the people-to-people option. Read about the change here: https://www.cheapair.com/blog/destinations/travel-to-cuba-before-its-too-late/. The good news for you is that you may be able to qualify under one or more of the licenses. At this time, this licensure relies on the honor system. You may be asked upon re-entry to show documentation or have a discussion validating the license you chose, but we haven’t actually heard of anyone being detained or questioned to date.
Hello! Thanks for the article!
My boyfriend and I will be in Miami in September and we then need to go to Cuba for a conference where he’s going to be a speaker and I will attend (we are both researcher).
The organisers have already sent us an invitation letter where they invite him and me as accompanying guest.
Will we have problem to get the visa and the flight for Cuba? Can we select “Professional research and professional meetings”? Is the invitation letter a sufficient proof?
Hi Valentina, Yes. You are correct and this sort of professional meeting is completely covered.
Hello, I am traveling with a group of 8 (DIY) under “Support the Cuban People” We have an itinerary and plan on saving our receipts for re-entry.
My question and concern is are we still required to purchase a Visa? I called my airline and they assured me I did not but I want to be sure.
Hi Krystal, your group travel designation probably covers the cost of the tourist card (visa). These days, the airlines typically bundle the cost for this into your airline ticket and then the paperwork is completed when you pick up your paper tickets on departure day.
how did you organize your itinerary?