12 Categories of Authorized Travel to Cuba

Travel To Cuba Can Be Planned By Obtaining Visa Against 12 Authorized Categories

You cannot travel to Cuba just like that. The Cuban government has a ban on entry to the country for tourism. Therefore with the mission of touring the country, you cannot get a Cuban visa. Foreigners simply can not get an entry for tourist activities. However, there are some ways to still access Cuba as a foreigner. There are 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba, for which they provide visas. The OFAC Cuba issues visas or the license to travel to the country for applications which meet these 12 requirements. They are described below.

The authorized categories for visiting Cuba

12 Categories of Authorized Travel to Cuba
12 Categories of Authorized Travel to Cuba
  1. You can obtain a license to visit Cuba if you have family there, or a family member stays there. The family visit is legally accepted.
  2. If you are going to Cuba for an official visit from the US government, then also you would be permitted entry. Visits from other foreign governments are also permitted. Also intergovernmental organization arranged visits for official purposes are valid and visitors can gain entry on showing such reasons.
  3. You can get access to Cuba for journalist activities.
  4. Access is also granted for the purpose of professional meetings or other professional reasons.
  5. You can enter Cuba for educational activities. A recent amendment in rules has been applied through this category, which is discussed later.
  6. You may enter the country for religious reasons too.
  7. Other reasons to travel may visit to a clinic, some public performance, games, and sports etc., workshops, participation in competitions, and attending or throwing exhibitions.
  8. If your mission is to work for the support of Cuban people, then also you can get entry.
  9. Other humanitarian projects are also supported and access for them is granted.
  10. Activities for the support of research, educative purposes, and private foundations are also supported and license to enter Cuba is given.
  11. For the transfer of information or informative materials, and for export and import, access to Cuba is granted.
  12. Some export transactions which reauthorized also lets you enter the country.

How to get the Cuban license to enter?

The Cuban visa can be obtained physically from the Cuban Embassy at Washington DC. They answer important questions regarding travel to Cuba, Cuban visa, and other consularservices. There is a USEmbassy in Havana, but it does not process visas. The website of the embassy of the Republic of Cuba also processes Cuban visas online.

What’s the permit rule for dual citizens?

For Dual citizens, who are US and Cuba citizens, they get treated in Cuba as Cuban citizens. However, some restrictions are imposed on them. If a citizen had departed Cuba after 1st Jan’ 1971, then they will need a Cuban passport to enter and depart Cuba. The same person will require the US passport to enter and depart the US. This makes the Cuban and US passport both important and mandatory for dual citizenship.

But the Cuba-US citizens, who departed Cuba before that date will need a HE-11 visa to enter Cuba. This visa can be collected from the Cuban Embassy.

New restrictions imposed from June 4, 2019

So that the Cuban intelligence, military, and security services cannot be enhanced, the United States have imposed strict restrictions on Cuban travel. The group people-to-people educational travel to Cuba as earlier permitted, which now onwards will not be permitted. This kind of travel is now exempted from the authorized category list.

More restrictions revealed tells, that all recreational trips to Cuba, traveling to Cuba in passenger ship, recreational vessels, luxury yachts, cruise boats and ships etc. will be restricted. Even travel to Cuba via private and corporate airplanes will be restricted.

Such restrictions are due to the intervention of Cuba in Venezuela’s crises and the combined politics between them. The US is repressing Cuban tourism through such categorical access to the country because they have evaluated that in the name of tourism, the Cuban military and security got supplies from Venezuela, and also Cuban people were getting repressed in their country itself from the effect of this.

Why restrictions have been imposed

All such invalid entries to the country, which were previously allowed in the camouflage of tourism, has affected the country’s people highly. Any citizen who dared to raise a voice of protest against the lame politics Cuba is playing with Venezuela had been sent to the jail. This continued and people in Cuba got oppressed. That’s why such restrictions have been imposed by US on Cuban entry. They hope to make a difference with these changes. The hope that Cuba will stop interfering in the Venezuelan political and economic issues, and would rather concentrate in its own country and issues. Only that way, the Cubans can get a stable, politically and economically healthy life.

How to travel to Cuba

If you plan to travel to Cuba, then you will have to plan it such that your reason for entry falls among the 12 permitted authorized categories. Only then you can get a license or permit to enter Cuba. The earlier tourist card system, which was once prevalent before such restrictions were there is not valid anymore. Now no person can get a tourist card to tour through Cuba for 30 days. Now one has to find a reason good enough to enter the country, which will be validated on the basis of the above discussed 12 categories. Only on validation, a person may get the Cuban visa from the Cuban embassy.


The current status in Cuba due to the global political reasons is somewhat unstable you must have reason good enough to plan a visit. If your reason is valid, you would get support fromthe Cuban embassy. You can also contact the embassy to know details about anything, or any concerns you have. Altogether tourism in Cuba is at present not possible if you simply approach the embassy for a tourist visa. Only if you get the opportunity to enter Cuba by any other means amongst the 12 categories, then you may explore the country somewhat.


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