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Legal Travel To Cuba – It’s Still Open!

Traveling to Cuba for a “vacation” or to just “tour the sites” is still illegal for U.S citizens and residents. Itinerary activities must provide people-to-people cultural interaction. We are cultural immersion experts who specialize in meaningful educational tours with plenty of interactions with the people of Cuba.

Under the educational license travelers are legally allowed to visit Cuba with us to engage in personal interactions with the Cuban people as they learn about each other’s culture, music, and history. People-to-People trips are educational opportunities to learn about Cuba through cultural exchange.

Regulations Regarding People-to-People Travel

Prior to January 2015, travel to Cuba could only be arranged through operators who had applied for and been issued a people to people license by the U.S. Department of Treasury to operate people to people tours to Cuba. Vámonos was one such approved agencies. Under our license, travelers could experience Cuba legally. Since we have been running people to people tours prior to President Obama’s December 2014 changes, you can be assured that the tour you embark on with us will meet the government’s regulations.

As of January 16, 2015, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) allowed travel to Cuba under 12 specific general licenses, one of which is people-to-people travel. This meant that travel agencies no longer needed to apply for a people to people license to take travelers to Cuba. In fact, individuals were even allowed to make their own arrangements without the need for an experienced agency.

On June 16, 2017, the U.S. government amended the regulations to once again prohibit an individual from making their own travel plans on a people to people general license. Even though people to people travel is still a general license, travelers must now go through a U.S. tour operator with experience in making these arrangements.

Since people-to-people travel is highly regulated by the U.S. government, there are certain regulations you need to follow:

Itinerary – All travelers must follow an approved complete itinerary while in Cuba at all times. Visitors’ schedule of activities must be consistent with a full-time schedule intended to promote people to people interactions with Cubans and support civil society on the island.

What can I bring back to the U.S.? – As of January 2017, the U.S. embargo regulations for what can be brought back have been relaxed. There is no spending limit on what you can bring back, but it must be for personal use. You may not sell what you bring back. While there is no limit, wisdom should be exercised in the quantities you purchase.

Documents Needed Prior to Traveling to Cuba

  • Valid U.S. passport at time of entry (two pages are required for entry/exit stamps) and at least two copies of it
  • Cuban travel visa
  • Signed affidavit stating that you are traveling under a people to people general license
  • Cuba also requires visitors to have non-U.S. medical insurance, which should be included when purchasing the airline ticket

Americans Traveling to Cuba and Safety

Health & Safety – The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not require any vaccinations to visit Cuba. However, it is recommended that you are up to date on all your routine vaccines. Visit your health care provider for a personal evaluation and recommendation. Our program requires that participants be in good physical condition: you must be capable, without assistance, to walk a minimum of 2 miles over uneven terrain and of climbing stairs that may not have handrails.