About Travel to Cuba

About Travel to Cuba
Cuba is a tricky country for Americans to visit. Strictly speaking, it is illegal to visit there as a tourist. Canadians and Europeans face no such hurdles, but will still have problems with getting money and the local exchange rates.

American Law

U.S. law does not specifically ban travel to Cuba, but instead it forbids Americans to spend money there without a license. To U.S. authorities, spending more than one unlicensed day in Cuba is proof that money was spend and the law was broken.

Travel Ban

While the U.S. Treasury Department does issue licenses to American citizens for travel to Cuba, tourism is not considered a valid reason and is prohibited. This includes traveling to Cuba by flying through a third country such as Canada.


Even with a proper travel license, importing even personal goods from Cuba into the U.S. is still banned. U.S. Customs can seize anything of Cuban origin, excepting informational items such as books, newspapers or pamphlets.

Tourist Visa Card

All visitors, including Americans, must get a 30-day tourist Visa on Arrival upon reaching Cuba. This is a tourist visa that takes the form of a card instead of a stamp or sticker inside a passport, and applying requires two passport photos, proof of travel arrangements and a fee of either 15 British pounds or 25 Euros.


There are two currencies in Cuba, the peso and the convertible peso (CUC), and the official exchange rates between the CUC and both the regular peso and foreign currencies are grossly inflated. In July 2009, the CUC and regular peso were quoted as being equal and worth slightly more than the dollar, but the street value of the regular peso is usually between 25 and 30 times less than that of the CUC.


Cuba is one of the few places in the world where ATMs are still not common and mostly found in Havana. Visitors will need to plan carefully if they intend to rely on ATMs to meet their money needs while there.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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