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Traveling Legally

Traveling Legally To Cuba from the USA | Updated April 2024

Cuba welcomes travelers from all over the world every year, and US visitors are not the exception. If you are planning to visit the largest of the Antilles, find below the most frequently asked questions related to legal travel to the island for US citizens. If you’re unable to find the information you are looking for below, explore our Useful Information session or Get in Touch with our Team.

  • Can americans travel to cuba legally?

This is one of the most common questions we receive from our clients, and the answer is “Yes, you can legally travel to Cuba as an American citizen” as long as you do so under one of the 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba. Most of the itineraries designed by SST qualify under the “Support For The Cuban People” reason. You will feel totally integrated with all aspects of the Cuban culture as you stay in Casas Particulares (private houses of great comfort) or hotels (not listed in the Cuba Prohibited Accommodation List), delight your palate in the best Cuban paladares (privately-owned restaurants), and visit community projects and private studios of Cuban artists. Our main goal is to establish a bond of friendship between visitors and locals that lasts a lifetime.

  • how do i obtain an ofac general license to Cuba?

A general license or travel category is not a specific document that you must obtain. Individuals who meet the regulatory conditions of the general license they seek to travel under do not need to apply for an additional license from OFAC to travel to Cuba.

  • What documents do i need to travel to Cuba?

  • Valid Passport: A valid passport is required for the entirety of your trip. Make sure it has at least six months of validity at the time of entry.
  • Cuban Tourist Card or Travel Visa: Cuba requires that all arriving travelers, except Cuban born travelers, have a Tourist Card or Visa to enter the country. If you are flying to Cuba via the US or you are a US citizen, then you will need a “pink” Visa. For those who travel from the rest of the world to Cuba, they will need a “green” one. You can get your visa online or purchase it at the airport during check-in for your flight. If you are a US passport holder residing in the United States you can also purchase it from us. We ship only within the US. Note it will arrive blank for you to fill out with your passport information. This tourist card is valid for 90 days. Make sure you do not misplace it while in Cuba since you cannot leave the country without it, and please, do not detach the two separate sides. Customs in Cuba is responsible for this.



  • Travel Insurance: Cuba requires all visitors to have a travel medical insurance at the time of entry to the island to cover their entire stay. Most of the U.S. airlines that fly directly to Cuba give you the option of purchasing it at the moment of booking your flight ticket. SST assists its clients in the choice and purchase of the travel insurance plans if needed, limiting itself only to the assistance during the purchase and not to the implementation of said plans. Therefore, in case of unforeseen circumstances, you should contact your insurance company directly.
  • Flight Ticket: Make sure to buy a roundtrip ticket or have onward travel from Cuba if you are buying one-way. US airlines flying to Cuba: American Airlines (AA), Southwest (WN) and Delta (DL). SST assists its clients with the airline ticket booking process if required. Please, take into account that your flight ticket will be booked directly through the airline depending on their availability for the scheduled date. Most of these airline tickets are NON-REFUNDABLE. If you cancel your trip, the amount paid for the airline ticket and the travel insurance will not be refunded.
  • D’Viajeros Travel Form: This is an Advance Traveler Information form. As it is mandatory for each traveler to fill out the form, it is available in several languages and must be filled out 48 to 72 hours prior to arrival. It results in a QR code to be presented digitally or printed, in order to facilitate transit through customs. Access through this link, click Top Right Hand ‘Lenguaje’ tab for the dropdown language menu and choose Ingles/ English which will instantly translate the page for you. Then, follow the instructions. If you need more help filling out the form, check out our complete guide on how to fill out the D’Viajeros Travel Form.

  • Can i manage my own accommodation?

Yes, of course you can. As an American citizen, please keep in mind the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List, when choosing your accommodation in the island.


As explained before, the itineraries designed by SST qualify under the “Support For The Cuban People” general license.

It means you will follow a full schedule (6-8 hours daily) of meaningful interaction with locals by:

  • Visiting and using privately owned businesses (e.g. private restaurants better known as paladars; private shops known as Mercados de Artesanías; private taxis including the Old American Classic cars, the modern yellow cabs, the famous Cocotaxis, Bicitaxis, etc.)
  • Visiting art galleries, workshops and studios of local artists and exchanging experiences with them.
  • Enjoying farm-to-table experiences.
  • Engaging in “volunteer works” in the Community Projects.
  • Supporting locals in need with simple donations (medicines, school objects, etc.)
  • Taking dance, percussion, plastic arts, Spanish, dominoes, cooking and cocktail making lessons with locals.
  • Staying in privately owned accommodations commonly known as Casas Particulares or Hostales, and conversing with your hosts about daily live and the future.

All these activities “enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, and/or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities and result in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba”.

On the other hand, you won’t spend money at certain businesses in Cuba. You won’t stay at any accommodation listed in the Cuba Prohibited Accommodation List.

  • REMEMBER to keep your travel receipts and records for 5 years.

For up to 5 years after your Cuba trip, the US Government can ask you about your travel records and receipts, so keep your records safe for five years in case you’re questioned about your trip.

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