U.S. – Cuba travel rules
Yes, You Can Travel to Cuba!
It is legal and very easy for Americans to travel to Cuba. There are simply a few extra restrictions for Americans visiting Cuba compared to other destinations.
U.S. Travel License: Support for the Cuban People
There are 12 U.S. Travel Licenses that Americans may use to visit Cuba. The most popular is “Support for the Cuban People”. This license requires a full-time schedule of cultural experiences that support local entrepreneurs in Cuba. “Support for the Cuban People” is a general license, meaning it does not require pre-approval from the U.S. government.
All Cuba Candela tours are 100% compliant with U.S. travel rules. We ensure that your itinerary complies with the “Support for the Cuban People” license and we maintain all required documents and records of your trip on your behalf. Travelers who wish to visit Cuba without a tour company may do so. If you wish to travel on your own, learn how to do so with the “Support for the Cuban People” license here.
The Cuban Tourist Visa
All travelers visiting Cuba must purchase and fill out a Cuban tourist visa (also called an entry permit, tourist card or travel card). The visa is a blank form with five fields to be filled in with a pen and is very easy to obtain. You may purchase a visa directly from your airline on the day of departure, with cash or a credit card.
Cuba Candela Luxury Tours include a Cuban tourist visa sent directly to travelers prior dates of departure. Clients booking a Standard Tour with Cuba Candela may purchase a visa at the airport on their day of departure.
Restricted Entity List
Americans are not allowed to spend money at Cuban government-owned businesses listed on the Restricted Entity List. This includes restricted hotels, such as the Manzana Kempinski and Iberostar Grand Packard. Review the restricted list here and bring a printed copy with you to be safe. Restricted Entities are easy to avoid.
How to Get to Cuba
You may book your flight to Cuba directly with your preferred airline, just as you would to any other destination in the world. You may be asked for your purpose of travel before completing the booking. Your purpose of travel is “Support for the Cuban People.” American travelers must fly into Havana under the current U.S. travel rules. All of our tours begin in Havana. Charter flights are prohibited for American travelers.
Beach Access is Limited
At this time, Americans are not allowed to travel to Cuba and spend leisure time on a beach at a government owned resort. Although we do offer legal beach visits, Cuba should not be considered for travelers interested in a beach vacation. Cuba is best for travelers seeking a culturally rich, historical, fun and unique experience.
Hotel and Accommodation Options
We partner with private hotels and villas offering 4 and 5-star luxury options for our guests. Currently, the U.S. travel rules prohibit Americans from staying at government-owned hotels in Cuba. These restrictions have not affected our operations.
Travel to Cuba Under the Biden Administration
A change in the U.S. Presidential Administration often signals a change to U.S.-Cuba travel rules. Based on comments from the Biden administration, we expect a new Cuba policy with fewer travel restrictions for Americans. Cuba Candela continues to monitor U.S. travel rules and will update this page to reflect future changes.