With all the Cuba travel policy updates in 2019, you'll be glad to know that Americans can still travel to Cuba. In fact, it's easier than you think. Use this five-step guide to learn about the difference between a visa and a Tourist Card, why visas are color-coded, and how to get a Cuba visa.
As an American traveling to Cuba, you have questions. So why not utilize local insight to make things easy? Our trip planners are locals in Cuba who can help navigate the process—and design a custom guidebook to help you see their hometown like the locals do. Learn more.
Americans traveling to Cuba need a Cuban Tourist Card ("Tarjeta del Turista"), which is often referred to as a "Cuban Visa". The Tourist Card is valid for 30 days and can be extended for 30 additional days. These usually cost $50-$100.
Americans traveling for certain business purposes, to attend school, to visit family, and for select other reasons may need to apply for a full visa. The most up-to-date information on these visas is available on the Cuban embassy website.
If you’re flying to Cuba from the U.S., your card will be pink; if you fly to Cuba from anywhere besides the U.S., your card will be green. The Tourist Card is absolutely essential—no matter where you take off, you’ll need the card to board the plane to Cuba.
The color has nothing to do with your nationality, just the country you are entering Cuba from. As soon as you have it in hand, fill out your Tourist Card completely and legibly. Some Cuban authorities are sticklers for detail.
Proof of entry and departure dates
If you traveled to Cuba on a cruise before June 5, 2019, you might remember that your cruise line was able to advise you on obtaining a Tourist Card. Your card may have even be included in your cruise package. However, as of the most recent Cuba policy changes, American cruise ships can no longer go to Cuba.
Everyone needs a Cuban Tourist Card. This is a Cuban government
You can buy your Tourist Card online, in advance of your trip. This is the easiest and safest option if you don't want to wait until the very last moment to secure your necessary travel documents. You should do this at least three months prior to your travel.
Each airline carrier offers different services to assist travelers in obtaining the necessary tourist visa card for travel to Cuba. In most cases, you will be able to purchase the tourist card at the airport or on the plane, but this may not be the case with all airlines and rules do change.
It is essential that you check with your airline to confirm their policy. You don’t want to arrive at the airport without a tourist card if the airline doesn’t provide it because they will turn you away.
Here are the guidelines for the airlines that fly to Cuba from the United States. These guidelines are accurate as of February 2019
Your local Cuban Embassay sells Tourist Cards. The price varies by location and consulate.
If you lose your Tourist Card, you must replace it before you will be allowed to depart Cuba. You’ll have to spend a day dealing with Cuba’s bureaucracy instead of enjoying a day exploring and experiencing Cuba's awesome things to do. To avoid a huge hassle, keep your Tourist Card tucked into your U.S. passport. Also be sure to carry your passport with you at all times, a Cuba travel safety rule-of-thumb.
Looking for recommendations on what to do with your time in Cuba? Benefit from local advice—work with one of our trip planners to design your itinerary.