February 23, 2024

Cuba Travel Planner

Required Documents


A Journey to Cuba is a fascinating cultural experience, and with recent changes in government policies it is becoming easier for U.S. citizens to visit their neighbors to the south. Although Cuba is only 90 miles south of Key West Florida (read related article here), travelers will still encounter a variety of challenges during their exploration of the country.  As any experienced traveler knows, to minimize difficulties it is always best to do a bit of advanced research before setting off on a new journey.  This applies equally when traveling to Cuba.  For starters, travel to Cuba requires having several critical travel documents.  Best to be prepared – here are the documents required prior to departing on your Cuban Adventure.

Great Old Cars and Colorful Casas – Welcome To Cuba!
Yellow cab on yellow



Travel Documents For Cuba –

**********   U.S. Travel License

U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba are required to have a government issued “license”  before departure.  Until recently this meant that each traveler needed to apply for their own individual license and recieve government approval before traveling to Cuba.   This restriction has now been modified.  While a license is still required, the process is much simplified.  The U.S. Government now has twelve categories of General License available for the traveler.  A traveler must complete a brief form indicating, by checking off a box, which of the twelve different license categories applies to their reason for travel.  No further action or advanced approval is required.  At present the categories are as follows:

Eligible General License Reasons For Travel To Cuba

Family visits
Official business of the U.S. Government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
Journalistic activities
Professional research or meetings
Educational activities and exchanges
Religious activities
Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic/other competitions and exhibitions
Humanitarian projects
Support for the Cuban people
Activities of private foundations, research, or educational institutes
Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information material
Certain authorized export transactions

A close reading of the available license categories makes clear that general travel solely for tourism is still not approved. Further, those traveling on a general license must document a full-time schedule of activities consistent with their designated general license category. The U.S. Government then has up to 5 years after your trip to request your full-time schedule of activities.

Typically your airline or cruise line will provide you with the general icense form and require that you complete it when you book your transport to Cuba.

For more information on licensed travel to Cuba visit:


**********    Valid Passport


Even though Cuba is a close U.S. neighbor, it is still a foreign country.  You will need a valid passport for your travels to Cuba.

**********     Cuban Visa



Visitors to Cuba are required to have a visa.  The most common is a Tourist Visa as pictured above.  Cost varies roughly between $50 and $80 depending on where you get the visa.  The most convenient, and also frequently the most cost effective way to get the visa is by purchasing it through a service offered by your airline or cruise company.  You will actually be given the visa  and complete the visa information during your flight.  Be sure to complete the form carefully.  They allow no mistakes, cross-outs, etc.  You will be charged the full fee for a new one.  The visa will be stamped on your arrival in Cuba.  Be sure to keep the visa during your travels through the country as you may be asked to show it at your hotel or residence.  You will also need it when you depart Cuba.

**********     Proof of Medical Insurance –

Travelers to Cuba must have proof of medical insurance which will cover medical care during their stay.  Some carriers such as Southwest Airlines for example actually include this in their ticket cost.  Their passengers are told to be sure to keep their boarding pass stub and an accompanying small medical document which serve as proof of insurance.  Most experienced travelers purchase separate medical insurance before embarking on foreign travel.  Just be sure to carry proof of insurance with you.



Havana Viewed Across Harbor Entrance From Castilio de los Tres Santos Reyes Magnos del Morro

Havana Harbor




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