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Everything you need to know about the new travel restrictions to Cuba for US citizens

On June 4, 2019, the U.S. government administration announced new restrictions for U.S. citizens who wish to visit Cuba as tourists. If you have a planned trip to Cuba, what should you do? How will these new policies affect you?

NEW RESTRICTIONS

Although the announcement of the United States government included tourism as one of the areas where new restrictions will apply, it mentioned that educational and recreational trips under the category “People to People” will be affected, however, none of the 11 other categories were affected. The new restrictions do seem to affect cruise travel, which will be prohibited by restricting the ” people to people ” category . These regulations apply to cruises purchased as of June 5, 2019.

CRUISE SHIPS

For all intents and purposes, cruises to Cuba are prohibited for US citizens. Although it was originally said that the ban would not affect passengers who purchased the cruise trip before June 5, 2019, the Royal Caribbean company issued a statement announcing the change of their routes to avoid Cuba from the same day. June 2019. Other companies such as Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival announced that they would be communicating shortly with their future passengers to notify them of changes in routes.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

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If you already had a scheduled cruise trip to visit Cuba you will probably receive a notification about the route change. In the vast majority of the terms and conditions that you accept when booking a cruise, there are stipulated reasons like these for a possible route change. Therefore, the company is not likely to have to give you any reimbursement. However, everything will depend on the customer service policy of each company. The most advisable is to call.

AIR RESTRICTIONS

The US authorities mentioned that the amount of money that the American tourist can invest in activities that benefit the Cuban government will be limited. The new rule specifically affects GROUP and non-individual trips that occurred under the category of “educational trips” by technically eliminating the “people to people ” category . The Policy of the Department of the Treasury of the United States of America regarding tourism to Cuba remains the same as for the other categories that allow US citizens to travel to Cuba by air.

SHOULD YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP?

The answer is NO . You should not cancel your trip if you already had it on the agenda. Nor should you discard your plans if you planned to travel in the near future. At the moment nothing seems to indicate that restrictions are too prohibitive in the near future. Yes it is important that you make sure that you continue to comply with one of the 11-are 12 but with the new restriction you can basically only use 11-categories that the US Government allows you to travel to Cuba.

WHAT ARE THE 12 CATEGORIES TO TRAVEL TO CUBA?

Since the restrictions on traveling to Cuba were relaxed, a system was implemented where, under 12 possible categories, US citizens can travel to Cuba by plane, with the new restrictions being reduced to 11 categories. At the moment, only group educational and recreational trips in the educational and support category for the Cuban people are restricted.

There are many fears and incorrect information about traveling to Cuba. Cuba is a very safe country for tourism and as long as you make sure you fulfill your responsibility as a responsible visitor you will be fine.

THE VISA

It is very important to clarify that the permission from the US government and the visa to enter Cuba are two different things, although they are very closely related and for that reason it is thought to be the same. The permit is conferred by the US government so you can travel to Cuba. The visa is the fee you will pay for the Cuban government to allow you to enter Cuba. The cost of the visa varies depending on your airport of entry to Cuba and airline. This is because many times it is private companies that offer.

When paying the visa you will only select or mark 1 of the 11 categories allowed to travel to Cuba. At this time you will not be asked for evidence about your trip to Cuba. When they could ask you for evidence, it is on your trip back to the United States. Therefore, it is important that you have included activities related to one of the categories when you make your trip. It is important to clarify that in very few occasions evidence is requested, however, it is prudent that you have them.

Commercial flights are still possible to Cuba, even with the new restrictions of June 4, 2019. 

Cuba is a beautiful country. Its people will make you feel at home. The largest of the Greater Antilles still reminds us of the splendor of its years as one of the powers of Latin America. Asere!

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