How to Travel to Cuba as an American

How to Travel to Cuba as an American
Cuba has been under a U.S. embargo since shortly after Fidel Castro seized power there. Many Americans think this means traveling to Cuba is illegal, but technically speaking it is only illegal to spend money there. Many Americans make the trip to Cuba and face no repercussions. However, traveling to Cuba means making some preparations first and finding out more about the State Department's guidance on travel there.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Passport with six months remaining validity Two passport photos Either 15 UK pounds or 25 euros
  • Passport with six months remaining validity
  • Two passport photos
  • Either 15 UK pounds or 25 euros
Step 1
Book a flight through Canada or Mexico. There are no direct travel options for Americans seeking to fly to Cuba, and the best choices after that are to connect through Canada or Mexico as a third party.
Step 2
Bring sufficient money to cover the entire trip, in a mixture of traveler's checks and cash. A good rule to follow in determining how much to bring is to plan a budget and then tack on a cushion of plus 10 or 15 percent. There are some ATMs in Cuba, but access might be blocked by your American bank because of the embargo and Cuban ATMs are not especially reliable anyway.
Step 3
Exchange a little money into euros or British pounds for paying your tourist card fee. This is 15 British pounds or 25 euros.
Step 4
Apply for the tourist card upon arrival in Cuba. You will need a passport with six months remaining validity, two passport photos and the money to pay the fee in cash.

Tips & Warnings

Visas for entry into Cuba take the form of a Tourist Card. It is not stamped into your passport.
The U.S. government takes travel to Cuba seriously, and the fines for violating the embargo are stiff. If you visit Cuba and they can prove you were there for more than one day, you will automatically be presumed guilty and action will be taken. They have even gone after travel web sites like Travelocity that allowed themselves to be used for arranging such travel. There are plenty of great Caribbean islands worth visiting, so unless you have a strong personal reason for going to Cuba, it is probably best to wait for the embargo to be lifted (

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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