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Legal Travel to Cuba for US Citizen?

elliciaz

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  • Added on: March 17th, 2011
Hi! I am interested in going to Cuba, but I am American. As far as I know, it is still illegal for us to go to Cuba? I would like to go there in my lifetime... without breaking the law. Does anyone know if this is a possibility? Are there any travel groups that go to Cuba from the US?

Lucky Luke

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  • Added on: March 18th, 2011
I'm not American so it doesn't effect me and therefore I may well be wrong but, as far as I know, the only legal ways for US citizens to enter Cuba are to visit family if you are of Cuban descent, as a journalist or as part of the military.

However, when I was in Cuba in November, I met quite a few Americans who had travelled there anyway and none of them seemed to think it was a big deal; they'd just headed down to Guatemala or up to Canada first.
You'd probably be surprised by the types of people they were too; not out-there types at all; two kids in their twenties who worked are river guides in Colorado, a couple in their early 60s from Washington on their second visit to Cuba; a doctor and his wife I think, who were cycling round the country for six weeks...

I get that it's technically breaking the law and that you may not want to do that but if you want to travel there I can only assume you don't think Cuba is the evil place to US government did when it placed the trade embargo, so I guess you need to consider whether you agree with those sanctions and are prepared to miss out on the chance to visit because of them.

Although hopefully they may not be in place too much longer... Obama seems to be a bit more sensible than the last guy...


Oh and FYI; Cuba doesn't stamp your passport so even if you do go, officially you were never there.

Felix the Hat

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  • Added on: March 18th, 2011
elliciaz wrote:Hi! I am interested in going to Cuba, but I am American. As far as I know, it is still illegal for us to go to Cuba? I would like to go there in my lifetime... without breaking the law. Does anyone know if this is a possibility? Are there any travel groups that go to Cuba from the US?


It's not illegal for US citizens to travel to Cuba. It is illegal for US citizens to spend money in Cuba. OFAC has licenses for transactions in Cuba, but you probably don't qualify for one. It's not a criminal statute, and the enforcement mechanism is unclear, so travel to Cuba might best be thought of as a dark-gray area, rather than black or white.

There are daily flights to Havana from Cancun, which is the cheapest departure point. Mexico City has a couple of flights a day, as do most of the Central American capitals. You can usually find cheap charters out of Toronto and Montreal during the winter.

Cuba is not a budget destination, nor is it a gourmet destination. Generally speaking, it offers very poor value for your money. That being said, it is a one-of-a-kind destination, and Havana is easily one of the most architecturally-significant cities in the Western Hemisphere.

elliciaz

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  • Added on: March 18th, 2011
Hey Friends!
Thanks for your response. I have found what I am looking for. Apparently, Obama has authorized people-to-people travel now as long as it has an element of cultural exchange (which is what I want anyways). I found www.insightcuba.org (I found them on facebook actually). They do organized tours to Cuba. Well, they have done it in the past actually, but they are awaiting their legislation from the governments new changes. Hopefully by May! It seems fantastic. Just wanted to pass what I found along. Thanks for all the info.

busman7

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  • Added on: March 18th, 2011
Wow first time I have seen Felix so far off the mark however I am too lazy to search out the links to disprove him.

Luckyluke is pretty much spot on except for the remark about Obama easing things as that's not possible with the preponderance of Republicans who for the past 50+ yrs have kept up the illegal embargo supported by only one country in the UN.

If you wish to visit legally don't hold your breath!
http://blogs.bootsnall.com/busman7 | http://wwwlasbrisasplayasandiego.blogspot.com
"I started out alone to seek adventures. You don't really have to seek them - that is nothing but a phrase - they come to you." Mark Twain

Felix the Hat

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  • Added on: March 19th, 2011
busman7 wrote:Wow first time I have seen Felix so far off the mark however I am too lazy to search out the links to disprove him.

Luckyluke is pretty much spot on except for the remark about Obama easing things as that's not possible with the preponderance of Republicans who for the past 50+ yrs have kept up the illegal embargo supported by only one country in the UN.

If you wish to visit legally don't hold your breath!


Listen, you drooling waterhead, if you're going to follow me around leg-humping me, can you try not to sound like such a cretin? I'm a lawyer in the US, and probably know more about US laws regarding Cuba than some semi-literate Canadian on public assistance who communicates primarily in emoticons and thinks San Salvador is paradise on earth.

How am I off the mark? I provided the OFAC link. Ball's in your court.

elliciaz

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  • Added on: March 20th, 2011
busman7 wrote:If you wish to visit legally don't hold your breath!



I guess I will let you know how Insight Cuba works out for me. It could be a real game-changer.
This is what I found on their website:

"NEWS UPDATE: New travel regulations became official Friday, January 28th. People-to-people educational travel to Cuba has been restored after seven years. Insight Cuba submitted its license application, and now awaits a decision from the US Treasury Department." http://insightcuba.com/

knowlesnotbeyonce

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  • Added on: March 24th, 2011
Hello everyone!
I actually work at Insight Cuba and am happy to report that Obama has loosened the restrictions on travel to Cuba for Americans. We are now allowed to travel as long as you travel with a group that falls under cultural exchange. While we haven't received the license yet, we are hoping to take Americans to Cuba legally, just like we did in the past in 2000-2003. We were the leading Cuban travel providers for Americans then until Bush tightened the regulations in 2003, putting a stop to our programs. So, it IS possible for Americans to travel to Cuba and it HAS been in the past :)

busman7

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  • Added on: March 24th, 2011
That's even more restrictive than traveling through Tibet! :(

So much for the US being the land of the free. :roll:
http://blogs.bootsnall.com/busman7 | http://wwwlasbrisasplayasandiego.blogspot.com
"I started out alone to seek adventures. You don't really have to seek them - that is nothing but a phrase - they come to you." Mark Twain



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