Religious Cuba Trips
Information about Cuba trips for religious and humanitarian reasons
Check out our Cuba Trips Calendar for more information on legal trips
Let us help you plan your legal trip to Cuba.
The Evangelical Christian Humanitarian Outreach for Cuba, better known as ECHO Cuba offers this
information for people interested to travel to Cuba for religious activities.
There are two things that have to happen in order to be able to travel to Cuba to conduct any type
of religious work in Cuba:
1. You must obtain a RELIGIOUS VISA from the Cuban government.
The Cuban government interprets religious work as anything done in the church or with the church
such as preaching, evangelizing, fixing or maintenance of a church facility, conducting a seminar or workshop,
helping with a ministry of the church or any such activities. The only activities allowed without first
obtaining a religious visa is attending a worship service and perhaps giving a "greeting" to the congregation from
2. Travel from the US with a US TRAVEL LICENSE either a general or a specific license provided
by the US Department of State, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
To obtain a US TRAVEL LICENSE the individual or church must make an application to OFAC for such a
license. Generally the license allows the person to travel to Cuba for about 14 days maximum per trip.
There are other ways to travel with an OFAC license and this organization may be able to help you
with your Cuba trip plans.
To obtain the RELIGIOUS VISA from Cuba is another story all-together. The person or church
that wishes to conduct any of the functions on No. 1 (above) needs to find a host in Cuba that would be willing to
REQUEST the visa on behalf of that person or church in Cuba.
When you have this host in Cuba, the traveler needs to fill out a form with relevant
information and provide their Cuban host with about a $200 non-refundable fee that the host needs to pay to
the Cuban Office of Religious Affairs in order to receive the visa.
Getting the visa from the Cuba Government is not guaranteed and the traveler loses their fee if the
visa is not provided. If the visa is provided then the traveler must follow the conditions of the visa or risk
being expelled from the country. Also, the Cuban host will face fines if the traveler does not comply with the
conditions of the visa.
Latin America Working Group
All members and staff of a U.S. religious organization may travel to Cuba on a general license as
authorized by section 515.566 (a) of the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) Cuba Assets Control
The general license authorizes members and staff of a U.S. religious organization to travel to Cuba
for a full-time program of religious activities.
According to the Latin America Working Group, acceptable activities include attendance at religious services
and activities that contribute to the development of a Cuban counter-part’s religious or institutional
development such as:
Ministerial training, education, or licensing
Religious school development
Training in or the conducting of marriage seminars
Construction of places of worship or other facilities for full-time use by a Cuban counterpart
Production and distribution of religious materials
Assistance in holding religious services
Religious preaching or teaching
Training or assistance in church administration
If you qualify to travel on a general license for religious organizations, you do not need to seek
permission from OFAC. However, it is a requirement of the general license that you carry a letter on official
letterhead, signed by a designated representative of the sponsoring U.S. religious organization , confirming that
they are members or staff of the organization and are traveling under the auspices of the organization to engage in
religious activities in Cuba.
Cuba People to People
Religious groups, according to Cuba People to People are 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."
Under the US Constitution, the definition of "religious organization" or "religious activities" by
a government agency is problematic. The faith and practice of established groups and communities should enable
substantive trips with a broader focus than conventional worship with coreligionists.
A travel agent or tour operator can assist members of a local religious organization, or of a
recognized body within it, to organize a trip to Cuba (and participate if personally affiliated).