You’ve no doubt seen the recent headlines of U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba. Not surprisingly, the interest in traveling to this beautiful island has drastically increased as well. While the process of traveling there by corporate or private aircraft may have been streamlined, the criteria to go remain unchanged.
If you’re a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you must still be authorized by meeting certain conditions defined by the Cuban Assets Control Regulations. The latest amendments do not provide additional categories of authorized travel, but do offer some interesting examples of what actually qualifies for the general license for people-to-people travel.
So, before your flight department considers adding Cuba to your itinerary, here’s the CliffsNotes to the amended regulations:
1. Visas are a must-have
Visas are required for entry into Cuba.
– Visas must be obtained prior to entry into Cuba and they must be sourced in advance directly from the sponsor in Cuba.
– Visas can be obtained upon arrival.
– Not required for crew dropping off/picking up passengers but recommended.
2. Complete information for your sponsor in Cuba is required
Be sure you have all the required details for your sponsor in Cuba. Cuban authorities will be verifying the following information at a minimum:
– Company name
– Individual to be contacted
– Title of contact individual
– Phone number
– Fax number and/or email
3. Approved ports of entry / exit are no longer required
The Interim Final Rule that was published by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the Federal Register on March 21, 2016, addressed changes to the regulations regarding flights to and from Cuba. Essentially, 19 CFR 122, Subpart O has been removed, eliminating the need for aircraft flying to and from Cuba to utilize specific airports of departure and arrival.
4. No need to obtain a temporary sojourn license
A Temporary Sojourn License is no longer required, with two key restrictions:
– The aircraft/crew cannot stay in Cuba for more than 7 consecutive days.
– The aircraft cannot go to more than two airports within Cuba, and both must be international airports (entry and exit point).
This is not an exhaustive list of considerations before heading to Cuba, but it should get you started. Once you’re ready to take flight, let us help!
Get all of your questions answered and even set up your trip to Cuba by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at +1 713.430.7200. Safe travels!