Are Americans Allowed to Travel to Cuba?
Yes, Americans are allowed to travel to Cuba.
It’s just slightly more complicated than planning a trip to France or the Bahamas or Colombia.
But don’t let that “slightly more complicated” scare you off. The additional things travelers must consider are really quite minor.
Before your trip, make sure to check out:
- You Can Still Travel to Cuba: 2018 Update
- New Cuba Travel Policy Updates
- Cuba FAQ
- Cuban Tourist Cards and Visas
- Our Cuba travel page
Americans are not banned from traveling to Cuba. Americans just can’t go to Cuba for tourism.
There’s a big difference between not being able to travel to Cuba at all and not being able to visit Cuba as a regular tourist. There’s a vast middle ground that allows for travel that’s beneficial to the Cuban people and enjoyable for visitors, too.
Also, the recent State Department travel warning is not binding. It’s meant to be considered when making your travel plans, but does not ban Americans from traveling to Cuba. The warning is in response to attacks against diplomats and no American travelers have been affected to date. It’s both legal and safe to travel to Cuba.
Americans may travel to Cuba:
- Independently under one of eleven allowed categories of travel.
- With a group tour that follows the rules of people-to-people travel.
- On a day trip from a cruise.
President Trump’s changes to former President Obama’s Cuba travel policy are minor, but confusing. They key thing to remember is that Americans are allowed to travel to Cuba independently, despite what some media outlets are saying.
There are, however, restrictions on where Americans can spend money while traveling in Cuba.
If you’re sticking to the rules of your travel category mentioned above or traveling on a group tour, it shouldn’t be too hard to avoid the businesses on the Department of State’s Restricted List. The list bans Americans from spending money at any organization affiliated with the Cuban military.
Many of the places on the list are hotels or travel companies, so you can plan ahead to make sure you avoid them. Staying in casa particulares is a great way to make sure you don’t stay in a hotel on the list and have an enriching cultural experience staying with a local family.
The main place to be careful in Cuba is in Old Havana. A number of the shops there appear on the Restricted List.
Also, the State Department has made it clear that this list will change over time, so make sure to double check the list before you go.
Want help navigating this issue? Send us a message.
You must keep all of your receipts and records for five years.
Many of us don’t even take receipts at the cash register anymore. We just don’t want the tiny slips of paper cluttering up our pockets and purses. But in Cuba, you need to take each receipt and keep it. Tuck them all away carefully in an envelope and don’t lose them. Most likely, you won’t be asked for them, but if you ever are, you need to have them.
But that’s it. Americans are allowed to travel to Cuba and it’s easy to plan a trip.
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