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General Cuba Travel License from OFAC

Self-approved US government permission to travel to Cuba

Check out our Cuba Trips Calendar for more information on legal trips to Cuba.

Let us help you plan your legal trip to Cuba.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control is operated by the US Treasury and allows for travel to Cuba under a General license to people and organizations who qualify to travel without applying for a Specific Cuba travel license.

There is no printed General license so there is nothing to apply for and nothing to carry with you while you travel to and from Cuba and you do not have to file any paperwork with OFAC after you return.

If you are allowed to travel to Cuba, you can engage with Travel Service Providers or Carrier Service Providers in order to arrange for travel to Cuba. If you can book your own flights to Cuba or want to research the flight schedules offered by Carrier Service Providers, we have put together a Charter Flights to Cuba page.

New Cuba travel guidelines from OFAC were published on April 19, 2011. If you do not qualify to travel to Cuba under a General license, you can apply for a Specific OFAC Travel License. Specific licenses can be obtained by individuals, corporations and non-profit organizations for workshops, clinics, performances and sports programs in Cuba.

If you qualify to fly to Cuba on a General License, you may be able to book your own flight to Cuba.

While in Cuba, only three Cuba travel related agencies can offer assistance to Americans while in Cuba:

Who qualifies to travel to Cuba under a General license?

The new Cuba travel guidelines have been expanded to allow more Americans the freedom to travel to Cuba but generally, these types of trips are allowed:

  • Journalistic activities
  • Cuban Americans
  • People involved in licensed agriculture and medical sales to Cuba
  • Humanitarian trips
  • Religious trips
  • "Purposeful" travel

The Latin America Working Group offers a great guide on religious travel to Cuba.

In January 2011, OFAC published many amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations that allowed certain Cuba travel and financial activities to be reclassified under a Specific license to fall under a General license classification. These amendments give more freedoms to American's wishing to travel to Cuba. Some of the changes activities now allowed by General license are:

  • Travel to Cuba for educational or religious activities
  • People-to-people exchanges
  • Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other activities
  • Journalist activities

Travel under a General license does not require prior specific authorization from OFAC.

According to Cuba People to People, a college can create a one or two week intercession, spring break or summer program that provides credit toward graduation for its own students and those from other schools. The only requirement is to obtain the normal standing for any academic course. Also covered is Spanish language and other “study at a Cuban academic institution, provided the formal course of study in Cuba will be accepted for credit toward the student’s graduate or undergraduate degree.” Schools that offer independent study may see that also as, “a structured educational program in Cuba as part of a course offered for credit.”

Each student, teacher, adjunct or full or part-time staff simply has to “carry a letter on official letterhead, signed by a designated representative of the sponsoring U.S. academic institution.”

Cuba People to People goes on to explain the legal ability of religious group travel to Cuba as any “religious organization” at a local, regional or national level can easily authorize a trip. Participants “must carry with them a letter on official letterhead, signed by a designated representative of the U.S. religious organization, confirming that they are members or staff and are traveling to Cuba to engage in religious activities under the auspices of the organization.”

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