Cuba is open to U.S. travelers, and if you plan to visit, you’ll be required to get a Cuban Tourist Card or Tourist Visa. You probably have many questions: Does it matter if I fly directly from the US to Cuba? Which color visa is the correct one, the pink or the green?
This article covers everything you need to know about the Cuba Tourist Visa, including how to get the right type of visa depending on your airline and where your flight is coming from before landing in Cuba.
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Cuba requires almost everyone who travels there to get a “Tarjeta del Turista,” or Cuban Tourist Card. This card gives a traveler permission to visit Cuba for up to 30 days, and can be extended once for another 30 days.
The only exceptions are for citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belarus, Benin, Bosnia, China, Dominica, Grenada, Macedonia, Malaysia, Montenegro, Mongolia, Namibia, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Serbia, Singapore, and Vietnam. Travelers from these countries can visit Cuba without a Tourist Visa.
The Cuba Tourist Card requirement is not part of the U.S. travel regulations for Cuba. The Tourist Visa is a separate document required by the Cuban government
There are two types of Cuban Tourist Cards: pink and green. Which one you need depends on which country you’re traveling from.
If you’re flying to Cuba from the US, you'll need to get the pink Tourist Card.
If your flight originates anywhere besides the US, or makes a stop outside the U.S. before arrival, you'll need to purchase the green card.
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.
Depending on where you get it, the cost of a Cuba Tourist Card varies between $25 USD and $85 USD. The green cards are typically less expensive than the pink card. Acquiring the card through your airline will usually be less expensive, though many people prefer to buy it online and pay a small extra shipping fee to have the card ahead of time.
You can get a Cuba Tourist Card online, from your airline, or from a travel agency. You can also try to contact your nearest Cuban embassy or consulate, but they are notoriously slow to respond.
Here are the best ways to purchase a Cuban Tourist Card:
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 a month prior to your trip.
If you're traveling from the US to Cuba (regardless of citizenship), you can use Online Tourist Card to get the best rate on your pink Cuban Tourist Card.
Online Tourist Card ships within the US via UPS. There are many shipping options to choose from.
If traveling from anywhere else in the world to Cuba, you can use Easy Tourist Card to buy your green Cuban Tourist Card.
Easy Tourist Card ships worldwide via DHL. There is only one shipping option.
Purchasing the Tourist Card online ahead of time allows you to skip the lines at the airport (especially important if you have a connecting flight to Cuba).
Some airlines assist travelers with the purchase of the Tourist Visa for travel to Cuba. In some cases, you can purchase the Tourist Card at the airport, but this may not be true in all cases.
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 may not let you board the plane.
Here are the guidelines for the airlines that fly to Cuba from the United States. These guidelines are accurate as of January 2023, but are subject to change. The prices listed below vary because each airline charges different fees on top of the actual cost of the visa.
If you hire a travel agency to organize your trip or join a tour group run by a travel company, they will sometimes include the Tourist Card in their pricing, but make sure that they are a reliable company and ask if the card is included before your trip. Most travel agencies will bundle the Cuba Tourist Card into their existing Cuba travel packages.
Your nearest Cuban Embassy may sell Tourist Cards. The price will vary by location and consulate, and many travelers complain about response time and service when inquiring about Tourist Cards. Because of this, we recommend getting the tourist card via one of the options listed above.
Americans traveling for certain business purposes, to attend school, to visit family, and for select other reasons may need to apply for a full Cuba visa, because their activities will not be covered by the Cuba Tourist Visa. The most up-to-date information on these visas is available on the Cuban embassy website.
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 best practice.
Yes, as an American, you should make sure that when planning a trip to Cuba, you have all of the necessary documents. Here’s what you will need to do:
Planning a trip to Cuba can be complicated. There's not a lot of information out there! That's why ViaHero offers local Cuban trip planners to help guide you through every step of the process.
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Check out our articles on getting a Cuba General License and how you can still travel to Cuba. Then, start preparing for your Cuba adventure.