Are you allowed to go to Cuba? Find out here
Am I allowed to go to Cuba? I’m sure that question has come up in conversation among you and your friends. Well, you had better have a good reason! Tourism, which includes tanning on the beach and chilling out with a coconut and mojito, are still not allowed reasons.
The allowed reasons for travel are:
Official US gov’t business
Professional research and meetings
Educational activities and people-to-people exchanges
Public Performances (including athletic competitions)
Support for the Cuban People
Private foundation activities
Exportation or importation of informational materials
Authorized export transactions
By no means am I suggesting what reason you have to go to Cuba, but the vast majority of people we’ve spoken to go down under the Support for the Cuban People category. We were lucky enough to go as freelance journalists and had an amazing time.
If you’re not sure which of the reasons you’ll fall into, you can read the US Treasury’s description of each category on their website here.
Once you do decide which of the 12 categories you fall into, you’ll have to fill out a travel affidavit before leaving. This form will be filed with the US Treasury and kept on file for a minimum of 5 years. During that time, the government might ask you for proof that your reason for visit was valid. Many people who we’ve spoke to that go down for “support of the Cuban people” keep a detailed itinerary of all their activities that they did throughout the day in order to prove that they did, indeed, go to support the local communities.
There are lots of tour companies that will put together itineraries for you if you decide to go down this route. We’d also be happy to put you in touch with many of our local friends who live there and they too would be able to help you form your itinerary.
The most important rule is one that your parents taught you years ago; whatever you do, don’t lie. Cuba is a fantastic place with a rich culture and amazing people, but if you are caught lying on your affidavit you could land yourself in a world of trouble. To my knowledge, previous presidential administrations have not had a widespread campaign of checking these things, but please don’t let yourself be the first one.