Can Americans travel to Cuba?

Urban street, Havana, Cuba

The United States of America and Cuba may now have a better relationship compared to the past, however, there still are some travel restrictions for Americans seeking to visit Cuba.

Maybe a little history on the travel restrictions. In the year 1960, the United States of America imposed a rigid trade ban on Cuba. The trade ban was as a result of Cuba nationalizing American-owned oil refineries without compensation.

In response to the trade embargo by the US, Cuba responded by placing a ban on travel of Americans to Cuba, and this travel restriction has been in place for slightly over half a century. What the Cuba travel ban on American meant was that it’s technically illegal for U.S. citizens to have transactions (spend money or receive gifts) in Cuba under most circumstances. Due to economic sanctions, air travel to Cuba from the United States was almost impossible. American credit & debit cards don’t work in Cuba either.

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However, in recent times, the conditions of the travel ban have reduced slightly. Under the erstwhile Barack Obama administration, Americans could travel to Cuba under the People to People Tours.  The People to People Tours are organized tours that involve some sort of educational experience with local Cuban people. It’s never been defined officially, but basically, your trip can’t just involve sitting on a beach.

Meanwhile, in the Trump administration, Trump announced that Americans can no longer visit Cuba under the People to People Tour as they did under Obama but according to the New York Times and Vagabond Expert, Americans can travel to Cuba under these circumstances:

  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
  6. Religious activities
  7. Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
  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 export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines.



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