American traveling to Cuba FAQ

American traveling to cuba FAQ

American traveling to Cuba

American traveling to Cuba information Q & A

Q. American traveling to Cuba, will my passport be stamped by Cuban immigration upon arrival?

A: NO. Your passport is not stamped the tourist visa is stamped and immigration keeps one copy and you the other. The part you have is then surrendered at departure.

Q. American traveling to Cuba, do I need Cuba´s compulsory travel insurance?

A. Yes. Citizens from all countries should have medical insurance when visiting Cuba and the failure to pre-purchase this insurance could mean being forced to buy it upon arrival. To buy insurance Click here.

Q. American traveling to Cuba, what is the tourist card and where can an American I get one?

A. First off all this is not a card, it is two pieces of carbon paper. One is kept by immigration on entry and the other is given to you then surrendered at departure. Getting a tourist card is rather simple. The agency you used will provide it or, the airlines sell them at check in for approx 20 USD when you depart to Cuba or, as a last resort, they are sold by immigration upon arrival and take seconds to complete.

Q. American traveling to Cuba, I´ve been told I need a hotel booking for my first night so I have an address for the tourist card, is this true?

A. No. There used to be an area on the tourist card to add the address you were staying at but, this has been removed and immigration no longer ask/care where you are staying.

Q. American traveling to Cuba, what can I take to Cuba and will customs hassle me for certain items?

A. Cuban customs are hot on communication equipment. Obviously, a personal cell phone is not an issue, nor is a fixed line telephone or one modem for personal use. However, more than one can be problem as it could be construed as non personal use. Electrical items that consume a lot of electricity like heaters or air-condition systems will attract duty. CD Players, personal music players, DVD players are not usually a problem but, again, lots of these items in your suitcase will attract duty/questions.

Q. I´m a Cuban American traveling to Cuba, will I have to pay duty on gifts I take for my family?

A. Sadly, Cuba still persecutes its own people when they return. Planes arriving directly from the US have special teams of customs officers deployed specifically to charge duty. If its clothing then they weigh suitcases and charge duty by weight, if it’s electrical items they have a list of items by category and charge accordingly. Many Cuba Americans report that the duty is as much as the cost of the items but they feel compelled to take gifts for family.

Q. I´m a Cuban American traveling to Cuba, will I have to pay duty on gifts I take for my family If am flying from another country than the US to Cuba?

A. If the flight you take is mainly a tourist flight then you may breeze through customs without any problems. If, however, you have a cart piled high with cases and look/speak/act Cuban when passing customs then they may get pulled aside and you will pay duty (based on weight).

Q. I am a Cuban American traveling to Cuba who left before 1972, do I need a Cuban passport?

A. Technically no. But you need a visa to enter Cuba, Cuban exiles that left Cuba before 1972 are able to obtain a visa from the Cuban government at a higher fee and with more extensive background checks. Some Cuban consulates, despite knowing that you do not need a passport will not issue a Visa and compel you to obtain a passport. The Cuban consulates in Australia are known to violate this accord and a few others around the world have sporadically obliged those not requiring a passport to obtain one.

Q. I am a Cuban American traveling to Cuba with an American passport who left Cuba after 1972, can I enter Cuba?

A. Yes but you need to obtain a Cuban passport from the Cuban interest section Washington D.C., DC 20009-4202, USA (202) 797-8518

Q. American traveling to Cuba, Can Americans stay at Hotels in Cuba?

A. Yes, Americans can stay at any hotel in Cuba either by booking in advance or paying directly at the hotel. Hotels in Cuba do not differentiate between nationalities.

Q. I am an American traveling to Cuba and will be staying with family/friends in Cuba who do not have a licensed house for tourists, is this possible?

A. Yes. You will need to obtain a A-2 visa from immigration which cost 30-40 CUC. These visas are available at the immigration office closest to where your family lives. Obtaining one means going there in person with the owner(s) of the house and requesting one. They are (usually) issued on the spot. If you arrive late or outside normal administrative hours, go the next day, don´t wait several days.

Q. I´m an American traveling to Cuba, can I take my laptop to Cuba?

A. Yes. There is no problem taking a personal laptop and, while these used to be registered and then checked upon departure (that you took it back out), this has now stopped. Ideally, you could take a cheap laptop and leave it as a gift or sell it to finance your trip. They are worth a lot more in Cuba; even $200 older models can fetch reasonable prices.

Q. I´m American traveling to Cuba and visiting with a church, we are taking medicines and other items as gifts for Cuban´s, will we have a problem.

A. Yes and No. If your group has been authorized to visit Cuba as a religious group then you will have obtained a special visa which will exempt these items from scrutiny. However, if you are simply traveling as a tourist then these items may cause delays and ultimately, confiscation.

Q. I am an American traveling to Cuba to Cancun this week, and then fly to Havana the same day by way of Panama City. Do we need to be worried about having our passports stamped in Cancun, then a second time when we return to Cancun via the same route a week later? Will US Customs and Immigration be concerned about two entry stamps to Mexico and no third country stamped?

A. No. This is an urban myth and something which ended at least 7 years ago. US immigration couldn´t care less anymore about this. Quite simply, it’s not a problem anymore.

Q. I´m an American traveling to Cuba who plans to stay in Cuba for 10 weeks. Can I do this? My tourist card is only for one month. Do I need to apply for a Tourist Card extension?

A. Yes. Although tourist cards are for one month an extension can be obtained for a subsequent 30 days at the local immigration office. The cost is 25 CUC and extending is just a formality. You can later extend again for the final part of your stay in the same way.

Q. My father is Cuban but I was born in USA, do I need a special visa to enter Cuba?

A. No. Your father will need to obtain a Cuban passport if he left Cuba after 1972 and, if he left before, a Visa from the Cuban Interests section. You do not need any type of visa to visit Cuba but, should you not be visiting on a general license, you will need to request a family permit from OFAC.

Q. As an American traveling to Cuba can I take donations for the Cuban people?

A. When an American traveling to Cuba takes gifts or donations, unless part of a specific organization which has been approved by both the US Treasury Dept (OFAC) AND the Cuban Interest section to make donations on the island then these gifts should be small pseudo personal items.

American traveling to Cuba 101