Travel to Cuba is regulated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Anyone located in the United States, regardless of citizenship and nationality, must comply with these regulations. Individuals seeking to travel to Cuba are not required to obtain licenses from OFAC if their travel is covered by a general license. If travel is not covered by a general license, you must seek OFAC authorization in the form of a specific license. Travelers who fail to comply with regulations may face penalties and criminal prosecution. See the Department of Treasury webpage. For travel-specific questions, please see 31 C.F.R. 515.560 and OFAC's Frequently Asked Questions.
Visit the Cuban Embassy website for visa requirements. Cuba also requires visitors to have non-U.S. medical insurance, which can normally be purchased at the airport upon arrival to Cuba. Questions about insurance should be directed to the Cuban Embassy. Foreign students on scholarships are required to test for HIV/AIDS.
Cuba does not recognize the U.S. nationality of Cuban-born U.S. citizens. Cuban-born U.S. citizens will be treated as Cuban citizens and may be subject to restrictions and obligations. The Cuban government requires such individuals to enter and depart Cuba using Cuban passports. Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found elsewhere on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our customs information page.
Cuban Requirements for Authorized Travelers: Attempts to enter or exit Cuba illegally, or to aid the irregular exit of Cuban nationals or other persons, are prohibited and punishable by jail. Entering Cuban territory, territorial waters or airspace without prior authorization from the Cuban government may result in arrest. Immigration violators are subject to prison terms ranging from four years to 30 years.
Civilian Aircraft Travel: The Cuban Air Force shot down two U.S.-registered civilian aircraft in international airspace in 1996. As a result of this action, the President of the United States and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an “Emergency Cease and Desist Order and Statement of Policy,” which allows for vigorous enforcement action against U.S.-registered aircraft that violate Cuban airspace. For additional information on restrictions on aircraft flying between the United States and Cuba, see the FAA's website.
Temporary Sojourn License: Most aircraft and vessels on temporary sojourn to Cuba are eligible for License Exception Aircraft, Vessels, and Spacecraft (AVS) (Section 740.15 of the EAR). Please see the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security website for additional information. Vessels of the United States, as defined in 33 CFR §107.200, may not enter Cuban territorial waters without advance permission from the U.S. Coast Guard. The U.S. Coast Guard provides permission information at (305) 415-6920.