Fact Sheet on New Cuba Travel Regulations

Understanding Legal Travel to Cuba

cuba-sitting-at-table-in-street 600 x 375There’s been a lot of news lately about loosening of regulations to travel to Cuba. Some of it is true, and some of it is speculation. We’re here to help you make sense of everything.

Why is it now possible for me to travel legally to Cuba?

On January 16, 2015, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) amended the regulations governing travel to Cuba to allow organizations that operate people-to-people exchanges to automatically be approved under a blanket “general license.” Since Discover Corps specializes in people-to-people trips, our trips to Cuba automatically fall into this category of approved travel.


Why should I travel to Cuba with Discover Corps?

Our people-to-people cultural exchange programming includes visits to schools, museums, social agencies, artist studios, music cooperatives, and places of worship. This means Discover Corps itineraries are specially designed for travelers to connect and gain enrichment by immersion — not just observation. This is not a tour; it is an immersive experience that touches your soul.

While other organizations do operate trips to Cuba, our prices are extremely competitive. Our fees are all-inclusive, so you won’t have the additional fees and hidden charges common on less expensive trips.


Is everyone now free to travel to Cuba for any reason?

No. OFAC is very clear that tourism isn’t permitted under the amended regulations, so a vacation on the beach isn’t possible. OFAC has outlined very specific purposes that are allowed; people-to-people programs are one of them.


How is this different from before?

Before January 2015, people who wanted to travel to Cuba for certain approved reasons needed to apply for a specific license for their trip. The application process with the U.S. Department of State could take many months. Today, you just need to fill out a form certifying you’re traveling on a program that contains a full-time schedule of people-to-people activities.


Besides people-to-people programs, are there other approved reasons to travel legally to Cuba?

Yes, there are 11 other reasons for travel to Cuba that have been approved by OFAC:

  • To visit close family who are Cuban nationals
  • To conduct official business on behalf of the U.S. government
  • To engage in professional journalism
  • To attend a professional conference or do professional research
  • To pursue university studies as part of an accredited degree-granting academic institution
  • To participate in a public performance, workshop, or athletic competition
  • To work on humanitarian projects
  • To participate in the work of private foundations or research institutes
  • To export or import or transmit informational materials to or from Cuba
  • To facilitate only certain types of export transactions
  • If you are a member or staff of a U.S. religious organization

What can Americans bring back from Cuba?

Under the new regulations, you can now bring back $400 worth of goods from Cuba, including $100 of cigars and alcohol.


Any other questions? Check out our FAQ page for travel to Cuba or this beautiful Cuba fact sheet created by the Washington Post.

Ready to go? Visit our Cuba trips to learn more about our 5 itineraries across the island, or reserve your spot online with a $395 deposit and registration fee.

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