Cuba Travel FAQs

Helpful information for US citizens traveling to Cuba

Voyages to Antiquity is thrilled to offer this historic opportunity to experience authentic Cuba on our inaugural Cuba cruise season. Having secured official approval from the Cuban government to operate this groundbreaking new season, Voyages to Antiquity has developed a people-to-people itinerary that meets current US legal requirements for a full-time program of educational and cultural exchange activities.

Browse the topics below for important information about travel regulations and legal requirements for US citizens visiting Cuba.

Legal Travel to Cuba | Visa Requirements | Medical & Travel Insurance | Currency & Shopping | WiFi & Cellular Service

Legal Travel to Cuba

Q: Is it legal for US citizens to travel to Cuba?

A: Thanks to policy changes under regulations set forth by the US Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), US citizens can now travel to Cuba legally within twelve general license categories.

Voyages to Antiquity has developed People-to-People itineraries that meet current US legal requirements for a full-time program of educational and cultural exchange activities.

FAQs from the US Department of the Treasury cover many of the questions directly related to regulations regarding travel to Cuba.

The US Department of the Treasury has also issued new information following the recent June 16, 2017 announcement.

Q: How can US citizens legally visit Cuba with Voyages to Antiquity?

A: Voyages to Antiquity has received approval from the Cuban government for a people-to-people itinerary that complies with OFAC regulations for people-to-people exchanges.

All guests will be required to self-certify that their activities meet the requirements for people-to-people travel, so you must retain records of your activities, including those arranged by Voyages to Antiquity, for a period of 5 years.

Q: What is a people-to-people exchange?

A: People-to-People travel gives you an opportunity to discover Cuba through its people, from a local perspective. US travelers may travel to Cuba under the people-to-people authorized travel category, as a self-certified traveler, so long as they maintain a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people and that will result in meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba.

Q: Do I need a passport to travel to Cuba?

A: Yes. A valid passport is required for all guests to travel to Cuba. We recommend guests review the passport requirements of travel to Cuba from your home country and make sure that the expiration of your passport is more than six months after the date of your voyage.

Q: How do I certify that I am traveling under one of the OFAC-approved categories of travel?

A: When you make your Cuba cruise reservation with Voyages to Antiquity, we will send you a certification form that certifies your OFAC-compliant travel. A completed certification form must be completed and returned for each guest. If you have not received your form, get another copy here, then submit the completed form to info@voyagestoantiquity.com.

These activities may include excursions provided by Voyages to Antiquity or activities arranged by guests traveling independently. All guests must self-certify and assume sole responsibility for arranging a full-time schedule of OFAC-compliant activities for any travel independent of the Voyages to Antiquity-arranged people-to-people activities.

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Visa Requirements

Q: Do I need a visa to travel to Cuba?

A: Yes - unless you're traveling to Cuba on a valid Cuban passport, the Cuban government requires anyone traveling to Cuba on any other passport to obtain a visa prior to his or her arrival in Cuba. For all non-Cuban born visitors, this visa, also known as a "tourist card" (or "rosada" which has a pink and blue background irrespective of country of residency), is required to enter (and depart from) Cuba for non-business purposes. This visa is valid for a single entry and allows the holder to stay in Cuba for 30 days.

Q: How do I get a visa for travel to Cuba?

A: You may obtain this visa through Voyages to Antiquity for a separate processing and procurement fee of $75. Alternatively, passengers arriving into Havana by air and making their own air arrangements can obtain this visa from their airline (cost varies by airline, please contact your airline or travel agent directly for details). Please note: the Cuban and Mayan Mexico voyage December 30, 2017 will require a second Cuban visa that will be provided on board. The charge is $25 and will be automatically added to your stateroom account on board the cruise.

At the time of deposit, we are required to have all passengers' names exactly as they appear on their passport. At 90 days prior to departure, we must have the following information relating to each passenger: address, nationality, date and place of birth, passport number, expiration date, and date and place of issue. Guests cannot be included in group visas if this information is not supplied by the required time.

Q: Do I need a visa if I embark my cruise in Barbados, Montego Bay or Antigua and then cruise into Cuba?

A: Yes - your Cuban visa will be issued onboard the ship for a fee of $25 and will be automatically charged to your stateroom account on board the cruise.

Q: What does the Cuba visa consist of?

A: The Cuban visa is a two-part card. Cuban immigration officials will take one half upon arrival in Cuba, and guests will surrender the other half to Cuban immigration officials upon departure from Cuba. Guests should be sure to keep the Cuban visa in a safe place during the trip so they have it at the time of departure from Cuba.

Q: What are the requirements for travelers born in Cuba, who emigrated before January 1, 1971?

A: Guests born in Cuba who emigrated before January 1, 1971 and reside in a country outside of Cuba are required to carry either (i) a valid Cuban passport or (ii) a valid passport from your country of citizenship along with an HE-11 visa obtained from the Cuban embassy or consulate in your country of residency (except in those cases where such country has entered into a visa exemption agreement with Cuba) for entry to and departure from Cuba. The estimated processing time for an HE-11 visa is up to 60 days.

Q: What are the requirements for travelers born in Cuba, who emigrated on or after January 1, 1971?

A: Guests born in Cuba who emigrated on or after January 1, 1971 and reside in a country outside of Cuba are required to carry a valid Cuban passport for entry to and departure from Cuba. These guests do not need a Cuban visa. The estimated processing time for a Cuban passport is up to 6 months.

Q: Are there any additional resources for guests born in Cuba who require a visa or passport?

A: Guests born in Cuba who require a visa or passport should contract the Cuban embassy or consulate in their country of residency. Those residing in the United States may contact the Cuban Embassy in Washington, DC:

Embassy of the Republic of Cuba
2630 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009

Website: http://www.cubadiplomatica.cu/sicw/EN/ConsularServices.aspx
Email: recepcion@usadc.embacuba.cu
Phone: (202) 797-8518 extension 600

The website for the US Embassy in Cuba states that US citizens who are Cuban-born will be treated in Cuba solely as Cuban citizens and the Cuban government may require these individuals to enter and depart Cuba using a Cuban passport. Using a Cuban passport for this purpose does not joepardize one's US citizenship; however, such persons must use their US passports to enter and depart the United States. Citizens of countries other than the United States should check with their embassies in Cuba for regulations pertaining to their citizenship and use of passports.

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Travel & Medical Insurance

Q: Do I need medical insurance to travel to Cuba?

A: To enter Cuba, everyone is required to have Cuba-approved Travel Medical insurance. When flying into Havana, the insurance is included in the airline ticket. For passengers entering Cuba by sea on board Aegean Odyssey, the insurance is provided as part of your People-to-People program and the cost of $5 per day will be charged to your onboard account.

Q: What does my medical insurance coverage for Cuba include?

A: The provision of health insurance, life insurance and travel insurance-related services to authorized US travelers, as well as the receipt of emergency medical services and the making of payments related thereto, are authorized by OFAC. However, insurance providers may decide whether or not to participate and provide such coverage in connection with Cuba. It is advisable to check with your insurance provider prior to departure to ensure that you are covered while traveling in Cuba.

Q: Do I need travel insurance to travel to Cuba?

A: We strongly recommend that all guests purchase a comprehensive Trip Cancellation / Interruption Protection plan for the full purchase price of the cruise as well as any air and/or land arrangement costs. For cruises that call on Cuba you will need to ensure the insurance provider includes coverage while in Cuba, including emergency evacuation to your home country.

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Currency & Shopping

Q: Are there restrictions on what I can bring into Cuba?

A: There are both US and Cuba import regulations that travelers must comply with when traveling and bringing items into Cuba.

For information on US import regulations, please visit the US Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security's Export Administration Regulations

For information on Cuba import regulations, please visit the General Customs of the Republic of Cuba

Q: What currency can you use in Cuba?

A: Cuba operates as a dual currency system. Cuban covertible peso (CUC$) is the currency that you will exchange and use in Cuba. CUC$ come in the following denominations: 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100. Please note that CUC$1 comes in both coin and paper money form. There is a second currency, the Cuban peso, also called "moneda nacional" or CUP, which is used only by Cuban citizens.

Q: Can I exchange money in Cuba?

A: Yes. Once in Cuba, the port, tourist hotels, banks and CADECA bureaus (Cuban government exchange bureaus) can exchange currency (US and Canadian dollars, Euros, British pounds, etc) for a fee. Non-US currencies such as Euros and Canadian dollars usually have a more favorable exchange rate than the US dollar. Be sure to have proper ID (passport) on hand. Do not accept offers to exchange currency with anyone who approaches you on the street. This is particularly applicable due to the dual currency system used in Cuba. The US State Department advises that the export of CUCs is strictly prohibited, regardless of the amount.

Q: Can I use my credit cards in Cuba?

A: While US citizens are allowed to use debit and credit cards in Cuba, the vast majority of US banks are still considering whether to allow for these transactions to take place. Thus, it is advisable to assume that all transactions in Cuba will have to be done using cash.

Q: How much can I spend in Cuba?

A: There are no per diem limits on authorized expenses.

Q: What am I allowed to bring back from Cuba? Can I bring back cigars, rum and other items from Cuba?

A: US persons are allowed to return with certain Cuban-origin items, including cigars and rum, for personal use only and pursuant to OFAC regulations. These items remain subject to the normal limits on duty and tax exemptions for merchandise important as accompanied baggage and for personal use. Please visit the US Treasury FAQ, which provides guidance on items that can be imported from Cuba.

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WiFi & Cellular Service

Q: Will there be WiFi while in Cuba?

A: All vessels docked in Cuba will provided WiFi service; however, service may not be guaranteed at all times. Cuba has limited WiFi services, although certain hotels and internet cafes may provide service for a fee.

Q: Will I have cellular service while in Cuba?

A: Several carriers in the US and abroad have signed roaming agreements with Cuban telecommunications firm ETECSA, which allows for voice, data and text services while in Cuba. We strongly recommend checking with your service provider for details.

The information above is accurate at the time of printing, May 2017, but subject to change at any time.

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