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. That date has not been announced, but the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control says in a fact sheet dated July 25, that it is expected to be "in the next few months." The information on this page will be updated as more information becomes available, but as of early September, it was still accurate.

When that happens, travel to Cuba will mainly be affected in two ways. The first is that individual people-to-people travel will likely 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.

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. Marazul Travel, for example, is not accepting new reservations of this type but as of July 28, OnCuba Travel was. In addition, as of that date, many 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 July 2017. Skyscanner also lists numerous other carriers that fly there.

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 Cuba fact sheet with information on the embargo, including detailed travel facts. It was supplemented on July 25 with another, much shorter, fact sheet regarding Trump's travel announcement.  Also useful is a February 27, 2017, document from the Congressional Research Service 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 closer scrutiny.

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


November
December

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, including the July 2017 delegations.