How Can a U.S. Citizen Travel to Cuba?

How Can a U.S. Citizen Travel to Cuba?
The U.S. government forbids all leisure or tourist travel to Cuba. A U.S. citizen who uses illegal methods to travel to the country is subject to prosecution. But legal ways to go to Cuba exist. The U.S. government monitors and sanctions those trips.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Getting into Cuba

Things You’ll Need:
  • Passport Government forms
  • Passport
  • Government forms
Step 1
Contact the State Department. The government does allow U.S. citizens to visit Cuba for various purposes. Every person must apply for a general or specific license that once approved will allow him to travel legally to and from Cuba. There is no cost for the license.
Step 2
Choose your situation. Traveling to Cuba for strictly tourist reasons is prohibited, but if you can associate yourself with one of the accepted reasons for going to the country, then tourism can be an added benefit.

The government will provide you a general license if you are traveling to the country to visit relatives who are living in Cuba; a professional seeking to do noncommercial research in the country; a journalist doing a story; traveling on official government business, or a businessperson representing a medical or pharmacological firm.
Step 3
Seek an alternate license. If your travels do not fall under one of general license categories, you can apply for a specific license that the government will examine on a case-by-case basis. You will receive a license specific to your accepted reason of travel. This can include a student or professor who wants to teach, learn or do research at one of Cuba's institutions; an activist for a humanitarian or religious organization; an athlete or public performer, and someone seeking to visit a relative who is not a Cuban citizen or who is a U.S. government employee living in Cuba.
Step 4
Plan your trip. Once you have the license and your passport, you can set up the trip using a travel agent who has clearance to book travel to and from Cuba. The agent can set up your flights and accommodations.

Article Written By Brock Cooper

Brock Cooper attended Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill. He was a reporter for seven years with a daily in Illinois before branching out into marketing and media relations. He has experience in writing everything from press releases to features on a variety of subjects and forums. His work can be seen in NewsTribune newspaper, Chicago Parent magazine and several websites.

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