What’s The New Cuba Travel Policy and What Impact Will It Have?

Just announced on Friday, a revised Cuba policy was signed, aimed at stopping the flow of U.S. cash to the Cuba’s military, while still maintaining diplomatic relations with the country. In short, the new policy will continue to allow U.S. airlines, cruise ships, and group people-to-people type travel to Cuba to continue.

The U.S. Embassy in Havana, which reopened in August 2015, will remain as a full-fledged diplomatic outpost and the U.S. will continue diplomatic relations with Cuba. Also there are no changes to U.S. regulations governing what items Americans can bring back from Cuba, including the rum and cigars produced by state-run enterprises. Moreover, there are no changes to the policy in place that travelers must retain records of all transactions they make in Cuba for five years.

We answered your questions regarding the new Cuba Travel Policy.

Will group people-to-people travel still be authorized?

YES. Since tours allow travelers to maintain a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that are intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people and expose the travelers to ordinary Cubans, they are still permitted to take place with the new Cuba travel policy.

According to the Fact Sheet on Cuba Policy on the White House website, “Among other changes, travel for non-academic educational purposes will be limited to group travel. The self-directed, individual travel permitted by the Obama administration will be prohibited. Cuban-Americans will be able to continue to visit their family in Cuba and send them remittances.”

Is authorized travel by cruise ship to Cuba impacted by the new Cuba policy?

No. Travelers subject to U.S. jurisdiction will still be able to engage in authorized travel to Cuba by cruise ship or passenger vessel.

Does the new policy affect how persons subject to U.S jurisdiction may purchase airline tickets for authorized travel to Cuba?

No. The new policy will not change how people subject to U.S. jurisdiction traveling to Cuba, pursuant to the 12 categories of authorized travel, may purchase their airline tickets. The announced changes do not affect the ability of U.S. airlines current authority to serve Cuba.

Is there an immediate impact to travelers going to Cuba?

No. Important note: None of the changes will become effective until the Treasury and Commerce Departments issues new regulations, which could take months. That means that any U.S. traveler currently booked on a flight to Cuba in the next few weeks, or even months, can still make the trip.

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