Traveling legally to Cuba
It is still legal to travel to Cuba. Any American citizen can visit the island if the purpose of their travel falls in one of 12 legal categories allowed as part of the U.S. travel guidelines.
The categories are:
- family visits
- official business of governments or certain intergovernmental organizations
- journalistic activity
- professional research and professional meetings
- academic and people-to-people educational activities
- religious activities
- public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic competitions and exhibitions
- support for the Cuban people
- humanitarian projects
- activities of private foundations, research or educational institutes
- exportation, importation, or transmission of informational materials
- certain authorized export transactions special category
Ordinary tourism remains prohibited under current regulations.
All PlazaCUBA trips meet the legal travel requirements in the educational people-to-people travel category.
The U. S. has had a trade embargo against Cuba since the 1960s, and travel guidelines for Americans are still dictated by this legislation. The general rules are interpreted and enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of the Treasury.
What is people-to-people travel?
The people-to-people travel category is for groups of Americans that have a full-time schedule of educational activities that produce “meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba.” The trip must be organized by a company that has experience arranging this type of travel to Cuba (like PlazaCUBA), and the people-to-people schedule must be adhered to. Any American can join an educational people-to-people tour.
Individuals can no longer travel in this category so travelers must join an experienced group to comply with educational people-to-people travel. However, individuals can still travel in some other categories, like visiting relatives, engaging in religious activities, professional research trips, and support for the Cuban people.
Travelers in this category should keep records for at least 5 years showing an itinerary dominated by approved activities, notes, and an authorization letter from the organization arranging your travel.