Trump policy changes announced June 16, 2017

President Trump has ordered a reversal of some of the Obama-era changes to Cuba policy. It is important to know that none of these changes will go into effect until new regulations are adopted, probably sometime within the next three months. When that happens, travel to Cuba will mainly be affected in two ways. The first is that individual people-to-people travel will no longer be allowed (individual travel in other categories is not affected); the second is that travelers will not be allowed to spend money at facilities that are deemed to be controlled by the Cuban military. A list of those facilities has not yet been released.

The U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control has issued a fact sheet that answers some FAQs. A Washington Post article explains the changes in more detail.

The information on this page will be updated as more information becomes available, but as of the end of July, it was still accurate. Previously scheduled and future group trips will not be affected by the changes. However, some travel agencies are not accepting new individual people-to-people reservations because of the uncertainty about when new regulations will be adopted and the possibility that the new rules could go into effect before the departure of a trip scheduled at a later date. Marazul Travel, for example, is not accepting new reservations of this type but as of June 22, it appeared that OnCuba Travel was. In addition as of that date, it appeared that travel consolidators and individual airlines were still accepting individual reservations. 

Also see our updates page for news about the changes.

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General

Individual travel
Flights to Cuba can be booked online, including trips originating in Minneapolis-St. Paul. The only difference between booking a flight to Cuba and anywhere else is the final step requiring you to check a box indicating the reason you're traveling. Kayak, Cheapair and Delta all listed flights to Cuba as of April 2017. Since the June 16, 2017, announcement by President Trump, it will, however, be more difficult to book individual people-to-people travel although it is legal until new regulations are adopted implementing the new policy. 

Group travel
Traveling with a group is usually the best way for individuals who are unfamiliar with Cuba to learn more about the country, since groups have access to Cuban sites, organizations and events that are often not available to individuals. Some of the groups organizing solidarity delegations and less expensive group travel are listed below this section.

Regulations
On January 6, 2017, the U.S. Treasury updated its fact sheet with information on the embargo, including detailed travel facts. This is the latest in a series of regulatory changes that began with the December 17, 2014, announcement by President Obama signaling changes in U.S. policy on travel to Cuba. Also useful is a document from the Congressional Research Service on February 7, 2017, entitled "Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances." Again, this information will apply until new regulations are adopted following the June 16, 2017, announcement.

While "tourism" is still prohibited, the longstanding travel prohibitions have been considerably relaxed, principally because the licensing categories generally do not require a "specific" license, only a "general" license. This means that travelers need not apply to the U.S. government for permission to go; they need only designate on a questionnaire which category of travel they qualify for. Most of the categories require that specific records of the qualified travel be kept, but this has not been enforced for some time although the new rules are supposed to require more record audits.

Insurance
Be aware that you must purchase health insurance to travel to Cuba since the U.S. embargo prevents your U.S. policy from covering you there, and you must also buy a Cuban visa. Typically, your travel provider will make these items available or provide information on how to obtain them.


Ethical travel
A group of travel organizations and other entities have recently formed an organization called RESPECT, "Responsible and Ethical Cuba Travel," which has adopted guidelines whose "aim is to make US travel to Cuba part of the global movement for ethical travel . . . particularly important in supporting Cuba’s goal to become a sustainable destination for mutual learning and benefit.” We encourage Cuba travelers to use providers that adhere to these principles. 



   
Upcoming solidarity, specialized and locally organized trips

September
Alternative Healthcare, Food Sovereignty and Revolutionary Art, September 5-14, Witness for Peace Midwest 

October
Postmambo el Rumbazo, Cuban music seminar 5, October 5-9, Postmambo Studies and Project Rumbaways 
In the Footsteps of Che International Brigade, October 1-15, Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP)/Chicago Cuba Coalition

November

Year-round and occasional Minnesota-based travel

Click here for a report on a January 2017 trip organized by the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development in collaboration with MN Senator Patricia Torres Ray

   

   
Travel agencies and travel groups
 
Organizations providing group travel
Companies providing individual travel as well as servicing groups
Cuba Travel Services

Marazul Travel 

  

   
Travel Challenges
 
Pastors for Peace and the Venceremos Brigade take unlicensed delegations to Cuba each year as a way of challenging the embargo. In recent years, the US government has not interfered with these trips.