License Information

Cuba Travel Services Inc. is licensed by the U.S. Government to assist qualifying (licensed) individuals and groups with their travel arrangements to Cuba. There are two types of authorized licensed categories according to OFAC-general and specific.

Authorized Licensed Travel Categories
  • Visiting Close Relatives
  • Accredited Journalists
  • Official Government Travelers
  • Full-Time Professionals
  • Agricultural & Medical Sales
  • University/Education
  • Religious Activities
  • Academic Programs
  • People to People
  • Humanitarian Projects
  • Public Performances
  • Freelance Journalism
  • Athletic Competitions
  • Other OFAC Authorized Categories

What is the purpose of your travel? Find out if you fit into any of the below categories:

“People to People” Associations/Organizations

Individuals may travel to Cuba under the auspices of an organization granted a specific license to engage in educational exchanges in Cuba, without the individuals’ having to apply for a specific license on their own.

These educational exchanges need not involve academic study.

Organizations that sponsor and organize such programs to promote people-to-people contact may be granted a specific license.

Businesses as well as not-for-profits and academic institutions may qualify as an organization that sponsors and organizes programs to promote people-to-people contact.

To obtain a specific license, application must be made to OFAC.

For more information, see the official U.S. regulations regarding travel to Cuba (the Cuban Assets Control Regulations — 31 C.F.R. Part 515), available at U.S Department of the Treasury.

Family Visit

Persons visiting a “close relative” who is a national of Cuba, and persons traveling with them who share a common dwelling as a family with them, are authorized to travel to Cuba under a general license.

There is no limit on the duration or frequency of such travel to Cuba and Cuban Americans may now spend the allowable per diem i.e. currently up to $179 per day for hotels, meals, transportation while in Cuba visiting their family.

A “general license” is a provision in the U.S. regulations that, in and of itself, authorizes certain categories of travel to Cuba without having to apply for permission to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the agency that administers the U.S. travel regulations regarding Cuba.

A “close relative” is any individual related to a person by blood, marriage, or adoption who is no more than three generations removed from that person or from a common ancestor with that person.

For example, your mother’s first cousin is your close relative, because you are both no more than three generations removed from your great-grandparents, who are the ancestors you have in common.

Similarly, your husband’s great-grandson is your close relative, because he is no more than three generations removed from your husband. Your daughter’s father-in-law is not your close relative, because you have no common ancestor.

For more information, see the official U.S. regulations regarding travel to Cuba (the Cuban Assets Control Regulations — 31 C.F.R. Part 515), available at U.S Department of the Treasury.

Academic Institutions

Individuals may travel to Cuba under the auspices of an organization granted a specific license to engage in educational exchanges in Cuba, without the individuals’ having to apply for a specific license on their own.

These educational exchanges need not involve academic study.

Organizations that sponsor and organize such programs to promote people-to-people contact may be granted a specific license.

Businesses as well as not-for-profits and academic institutions may qualify as an organization that sponsors and organizes programs to promote people-to-people contact.

To obtain a specific license, application must be made to OFAC.

For more information, see the official U.S. regulations regarding travel to Cuba (the Cuban Assets Control Regulations — 31 C.F.R. Part 515), available at U.S Department of the Treasury.

Religious Organizations

Individuals and organizations engaging in religious activities may either be authorized to travel to Cuba under a general license or request a specific license.

General License — members and staff of religious organizations located in the United States are authorized under a general license to travel to engage in religious activities in Cuba under the auspices of the organization.

A “general license” is a provision in the U.S. regulations that, in and of itself, authorizes certain categories of travel to Cuba without having to apply for permission to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the agency that administers the U.S. travel regulations regarding Cuba.

Individuals traveling pursuant to this general license must engage in a full-time program of religious activities and carry with them a letter on official letterhead, signed by a person designated as the official responsible for overseeing the organization’s Cuba travel program, confirming that they are members or staff of the organization and are traveling to Cuba to engage in religious activities under the auspices of the organization.

Specific License — Individuals and organizations may also request a specific license to engage in religious activities not authorized by the general license.

For example, OFAC, in its discretion, could license entities that do not qualify as “religious organizations” within the meaning of the general license to engage in religious activities in Cuba.

Specific licenses may be issued pursuant to this section authorizing transactions for multiple trips over an extended period of time to engage in a full-time program of religious activities in Cuba.

To obtain a specific license, application must be made to OFAC.

For more information, see the official U.S. regulations regarding travel to Cuba (the Cuban Assets Control Regulations — 31 C.F.R. Part 515), available at U.S Department of the Treasury.

Educators, Undergraduate/Graduate Students
General License

Students, as well as faculty and staff, of accredited U.S. graduate and undergraduate degree-granting institutions (“U.S. colleges or universities”), are authorized to travel to Cuba under a general license to engage in the following educational activities:

  1. Participation by students, faculty and staff (including but not limited to adjunct faculty and part-time staff) in a structured educational program in Cuba as part of a course offered for credit by the sponsoring U.S. academic institution. An individual traveling to engage in such transactions must carry a letter on official letterhead, signed by a designated representative of the sponsoring U.S. academic institution, stating that the Cuba-related travel is part of a structured educational program of the sponsoring U.S. academic institution, and stating that the individual is a member of the faculty or staff of that institution or is a student currently enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate degree program at an accredited U.S. academic institution and that the study in Cuba will be accepted for credit toward that degree;
  2. Noncommercial academic research in Cuba specifically related to Cuba and for the purpose of obtaining a graduate degree. A student traveling to engage in such transactions must carry a letter on official letterhead, signed by a designated representative of the sponsoring U.S. academic institution, stating that the individual is a student currently enrolled in a graduate degree program at an accredited U.S. academic institution, and stating that the research in Cuba will be accepted for credit toward that degree;
  3. Participation in a formal course of study at a Cuban academic institution, provided the formal course of study in Cuba will be accepted for credit toward the student’s graduate or undergraduate degree. An individual traveling to engage in such transactions must carry a letter on official letterhead, signed by a designated representative of the sponsoring U.S. academic institution, stating that the individual is a student currently enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate degree program at an accredited U.S. academic institution and that the study in Cuba will be accepted for credit toward that degree;
  4. Teaching at a Cuban academic institution by an individual regularly employed in a teaching capacity at the sponsoring U.S. academic institution, provided the teaching activities are related to an academic program at the Cuban institution and provided that the duration of the teaching will be no shorter than 10 weeks. An individual traveling to engage in such transactions must carry a letter on official letterhead, signed by a designated representative of the sponsoring U.S. academic institution, stating that the individual is regularly employed in a teaching capacity at that institution;
  5. The organization of, and preparation for, activities described in paragraphs (1) through (4) by members of the faculty and staff of the sponsoring U.S. academic institution. An individual engaging in such transactions must carry a letter on official letterhead, signed by a designated representative of the sponsoring U.S. academic institution, stating that the individual is a member of the faculty or staff of that institution, and is traveling to engage in the transactions authorized by this paragraph on behalf of that institution.

The term “designated representative of the sponsoring U.S. academic institution” means a person designated by the relevant dean or the academic vice-president, provost, or president of the institution as the official responsible for overseeing the institution’s Cuba travel program.

A “general license” is a provision in the U.S. regulations that, in and of itself, authorizes certain categories of travel to Cuba without having to apply for permission to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the agency that administers the U.S. travel regulations regarding Cuba.

Participation in Another U.S. College or University’s Program

The general license permits a student enrolled at one U.S. college or university to participate in educational activities in Cuba through another U.S. college or university, provided that the student will receive credit at his or her own college or university.

In the case of structured educational programs in Cuba, the general license imposes a double credit requirement when a student at one college or university is participating in a program sponsored by another college or university. As noted, the student must receive credit toward his or her degree at the student’s own institution. In addition, the program must be part of a course offered at the second institution for credit to its own students.

When a student enrolled at one U.S. college or university participates in an educational activity sponsored by another college or university, it is the latter that provides the required letter described above. The letter must state that the student will receive credit at his or her own college or university.

Specific Licenses

Students, as well as faculty and staff, of U.S. colleges or universities may request a specific license to engage in the educational activities described in paragraphs (2) to (4) above in instances when the general license does not apply for some reason.

For example, U.S. colleges or universities or individuals may request a specific license for: structured educational programs run by a U.S. college or university even though credit toward a degree is not offered; teaching at a Cuban university for less than 10 weeks; or U.S. experts teaching at a Cuban university even though they are not regularly employed by a U.S. college or university.

To obtain a specific license, application must be made to OFAC.

For more information, see the official U.S. regulations regarding travel to Cuba (the Cuban Assets Control Regulations — 31 C.F.R. Part 515), available at U.S Department of the Treasury.

Journalists

Persons engaging in journalistic activities may either be authorized to travel to Cuba under either a general licene or request a specific license.

General License — persons regularly employed as journalists by a news reporting organization and persons regularly employed as supporting broadcast or technical personnel who travel to Cuba to engage in journalistic activities are authorized to travel to Cuba under a general license.

A “general license” is a provision in the U.S. regulations that, in and of itself, authorizes certain categories of travel to Cuba without having to apply for permission to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the agency that administers the U.S. travel regulations regarding Cuba.

Specific License — persons engaging in journalistic activities in Cuba for a free-lance journalistic project may seek for a specific license.

To obtain a specific license, application must be made to OFAC.

For more information, see the official U.S. regulations regarding travel to Cuba (the Cuban Assets Control Regulations — 31 C.F.R. Part 515), available at U.S Department of the Treasury.

Government Officials

U.S. and foreign government officials, as well as representatives of intergovernmental organizations of which the United States is a member, are authorized to travel to Cuba under a general license, provided that they are traveling on official business.

A “general license” is a provision in the U.S. regulations that, in and of itself, authorizes certain categories of travel to Cuba without having to apply for permission to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the agency that administers the U.S. travel regulations regarding Cuba.

For more information, see the official U.S. regulations regarding travel to Cuba (the Cuban Assets Control Regulations — 31 C.F.R. Part 515), available at U.S Department of the Treasury.

Professional Research/Meetings/Conferences

Certain professionals engaging in professional research or attending a professional conference or meeting may either be authorized to travel to Cuba under a general license or request a specific license.

General Licenses — the following two types of travel are authorized by a general license to travel to Cuba:

  • Full-time professionals conducting professional research in their professional areas of a non-commercial, academic nature and whose research will comprise a full work schedule in Cuba and have a substantial likelihood of dissemination; and
  • full-time professionals attending a professional conference or meeting in Cuba organized by an international professional organization (not headquartered in the U.S. or Cuba) that regularly sponsors meetings or conferences in other countries. The purpose of the meeting or conference cannot be to promote tourism or other commercial activity involving Cuba or for the purpose of fostering the production of biotechnological products.

A “general license” is a provision in the U.S. regulations that, in and of itself, authorizes certain categories of travel to Cuba without having to apply for permission to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the agency that administers the U.S. travel regulations regarding Cuba.

Specific Licenses — specific licenses may also be requested for:

  • attending a professional conference or meeting organized by Cubans; or
  • professional research not authorized by a general license, such as professional research by a person who is not a full-time professional.

To obtain a specific license, application must be made to OFAC.

For more information, see the official U.S. regulations regarding travel to Cuba (the Cuban Assets Control Regulations — 31 C.F.R. Part 515), available at U.S Department of the Treasury.

Telecommunications

The following individuals are authorized to travel to Cuba under a general license:

  1. Employees of a U.S. telecommunications services provider, or an entity representing such a provider whose travel transactions are directly related to commercial marketing, sales negotiation, accompanied delivery, or servicing in Cuba of telecommunications-related items that have been authorized for commercial export or re-export to Cuba by the Department of Commerce and whose schedule of activities does not include free time, travel, or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full work schedule.
  2. Employees of a U.S. telecommunications services provider, or an entity representing such a provider whose travel transactions are directly related to participation in professional meetings for the commercial marketing of, sales negotiation for, or performance under contracts for the provision of the telecommunications services, or the establishment of facilities to provide telecommunications services, authorized by paragraphs (b), (c), or (d)(1) of 31 C.F.R. § 515.542 by a telecommunications services provider that is a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction and whose schedule of activities does not include free time, travel, or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full work schedule.

A “general license” is a provision in the U.S. regulations that, in and of itself, allows certain categories of travel to Cuba without having to apply for permission to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the agency that administers the U.S. travel regulations regarding Cuba.

For more information, see the official U.S. regulations regarding travel to Cuba (the Cuban Assets Control Regulations — 31 C.F.R. Part 515), available at U.S Department of the Treasury.

Agricultural/Medical

Employees of a producer or distributor of agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices or an entity representing such a firm are authorized to travel to Cuba under a general license, provided that their travel is directly related to the commercial marketing, sales negotiation, accompanied delivery, or servicing in Cuba of such items that appear consistent with the export or re-export licensing policy of the Department of Commerce and their schedule of activities does not include free time, travel, or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full work schedule.

A “general license” is a provision in the U.S. regulations that, in and of itself, authorizes certain categories of travel to Cuba without having to apply for permission to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the agency that administers the U.S. travel regulations regarding Cuba.

For more information, see the official U.S. regulations regarding travel to Cuba (the Cuban Assets Control Regulations — 31 C.F.R. Part 515), available at U.S Department of the Treasury.

Visit Non-Cuban National Relatives

Persons visiting a “close relative” who is neither a national of Cuba, nor a U.S. Government employee assigned to the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, and persons traveling with them who share a common dwelling as a family with them, may request a specific license to travel to Cuba.

A “close relative” is any individual related to a person by blood, marriage, or adoption who is no more than three generations removed from that person or from a common ancestor with that person.

For example, your mother’s first cousin is your close relative, because you are both no more than three generations removed from your great-grandparents, who are the ancestors you have in common.

Similarly, your husband’s great-grandson is your close relative, because he is no more than three generations removed from your husband.

Your daughter’s father-in-law is not your close relative, because you have no common ancestor.

To obtain a specific license, application must be made to OFAC.

For more information, see the official U.S. regulations regarding travel to Cuba (the Cuban Assets Control Regulations — 31 C.F.R. Part 515), available at U.S Department of the Treasury.

Humanitarian

Organizations may request a specific license for humanitarian projects and projects to support the Cuban people that allow individuals to travel to Cuba under the auspices of that license, without the individuals’ having to apply for a specific license on their own.

Individuals may also request a specific license on their own for these activities.

Specific licenses may be requested for: (1) certain humanitarian projects in or related to Cuba that are designed to directly benefit the Cuban people; or (2) projects intended to provide support for the Cuban people, such as activities of individuals and non-governmental organizations that promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba.

Licenses for humanitarian projects may be requested for multiple trips over an extended period of time by applicants demonstrating a significant record of overseas humanitarian projects.

To obtain a specific license, application must be made to OFAC.

For more information, see the official U.S. regulations regarding travel to Cuba (the Cuban Assets Control Regulations — 31 C.F.R. Part 515), available at U.S Department of the Treasury.

Public Performances, Athletic/Non-athletic Competitions, Exhibitions

Organizations may request a specific license for public performances, athletic or non-athletic competitions, and exhibitions in Cuba.

Individuals may travel to Cuba under the auspices of an organization granted a specific license, without the individuals’ having to apply for a specific license on their own.

Individuals may also request a specific license on their own for these activities.

These activities are:

  • Participation in public performances, non-athletic competitions, or exhibitions in Cuba, provided that:
    • the event is open for attendance, and in relevant situations participation, by the Cuban public; and
    • all U.S. profits from the event after costs are donated to an independent nongovernmental organization in Cuba or a U.S.-based charity, with the objective, to the extent possible, of promoting people-to-people contacts or otherwise benefiting the Cuban people.
  • Participation in athletic competitions, provided that:
    • For athletic competitions in Cuba by amateur or semi-professional athletes or athletic teams
      • the athletic competition must be held under the auspices of the international sports federation for the relevant sport;
      • the U.S. participants in the athletic competition must be selected by the U.S. federation for the relevant sport; and
      • the event is open for attendance, and in relevant situations participation, by the Cuban public.
    • For athletic competitions in Cuba by non-amateurs or semi-professional athletes or athletic teams
      • the event is open for attendance, and in relevant situations participation, by the Cuban public; and
      • all U.S. profits from the event after costs are donated to an independent nongovernmental organization in Cuba or a U.S.-based charity, with the objective, to the extent possible, of promoting people-to-people contacts or otherwise benefiting the Cuban people.

To obtain a specific license, application must be made to OFAC.

For more information, see the official U.S. regulations regarding travel to Cuba (the Cuban Assets Control Regulations — 31 C.F.R. Part 515), available at U.S Department of the Treasury.

Clinics and Workshops

Organizations may request a specific license to organize and run, in whole or in part, clinics or workshops in Cuba.

Individuals may travel to Cuba under the auspices of an organization granted a specific license to participate in these clinics or workshops, without the individuals’ having to apply for a specific license on their own.

Individuals may also request a specific license on their own to organize and run, in whole or in part, clinics or workshops.

Organizations or individuals may request specific licenses provided that: the event is open for attendance, and in relevant situations participation, by the Cuban public; all U.S. profits after costs are donated to an independent nongovernmental organization in Cuba or a U.S.-based charity, with the objective, to the extent possible, of promoting people-to-people contacts or otherwise benefiting the Cuban people; and the clinics or workshops in Cuba are organized and run, at least in part, by the licensee.

To obtain a specific license, application must be made to OFAC.

For more information, see the official U.S. regulations regarding travel to Cuba (the Cuban Assets Control Regulations — 31 C.F.R. Part 515), available at U.S Department of the Treasury.

For additional information on travel qualifications, please contact us or visit OFAC’s website at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/cuba.aspx