Citizens of the U.S. who wish to travel to Cuba will find that many restrictions have changed due to President Obama's initiative of April 13, 2009. This initiative lifts all earlier restrictions on family visits to relatives residing in Cuba and expands the definition of other travelers who wish to visit Cuba. U.S. citizens will still need to apply for a Cuba visa but limitations on frequency and duration of their visits are no longer applicable.
The President's initiative defined a family member as someone who is within 3 degrees of a family relationship, such as a second cousin, aunts and uncles. It removes limits previously placed on how many times family members may visit Cuba and how long they may stay. It also increased the amount of money that may be spent by those visiting family members.
In order to apply for a Cuban visa, travelers must first obtain a general license. The general license applies to those who will be visiting Cuba and making monetary transactions that are related to travel expenses. This general license applies to U.S. citizens who have relatives in Cuba who are Cuban nationals, and are no more than 3 generations removed. Licensing specifies what monetary transactions are allowed while visiting .
To apply for a general license, send a letter to the Licensing Division, Office of Foreign Assets Control, U.S. Department of the Treasury, 1500 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20220. In the letter, explain the reason for your visit and include any supporting documentation. Visitors who are requesting to visit immediate family members who are Cuban nationals must submit form titled "Request for a Specific License to Visit an Immediate Family Member" - OMB No: 1505-0202 and TDF 90-22.60. More information regarding licenses is detailed on the web site for the Office of Foreign Assets.
Once your license had been granted, you can apply for a visa for Cuba. To do so you will need to contact the Cuban Interests Section/Consular Office located at 2630 16th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009 Washington, D.C. Their phone number is 202-797-8407 and they are open from 9am to 12pm Monday through Friday. The Cuban Interests Section is housed inside the Embassy of Switzerland and was established in 1977.It handles all consular activities such as visa applications. Detailed visa information and visa applications are only available from the Cuban Interest Section.
Visitors who which to travel to Cuba may not bypass these application rules by booking a prepaid tour package for activities such as fishing, bicycling and hiking. The OFAC has issued a travel advisory alerting U.S. travelers to this warning and cautioning them about relying on Cuban travel agencies for the most current travel restriction information. Always check with the Cuban Interests Section/Consular Office and the Office of Foreign Assets Control as indicated above.
Visit often to learn more information from our updated Travel to Cuba.