Updated Cuba Travel Policy

Updated Cuba Travel Policy

U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) unveils amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations
Classic car on the beach of Cuba
Megan Foster and Julie Hall

Today, the U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) unveiled amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations. These regulatory changes were announced in April and include restrictions on non-family travel to Cuba, removing the authorization for group, people-to-people educational travel. They will take effect tomorrow, June 5, 2019, when the regulations are published in the Federal Register.

U.S. Department of Treasury Resources

The National Office Travel department has reached out to all preferred tour and cruise suppliers that visit Cuba for information and updates on their future travel bookings to Cuba. The National Office will post the information received in the Travel Emergency Information Team Room on AICWEB.

For Travelers Who Have Already Booked

OFAC’s regulatory changes include a “grandfathering” provision, which provides that certain group, people-to-people educational travel that previously was authorized will continue to be authorized where the traveler had already completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as purchasing a flight or reserving accommodation) prior to June 5, 2019.

Cruise Travel

The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security, in coordination with OFAC, is amending its Export Administration Regulations to make passenger and recreational vessels and private and corporate aircraft ineligible for a license exception and to establish a general policy of denial for license applications involving those vessels and aircraft.

“Cruise ships as well as recreational and pleasure vessels are prohibited from departing the U.S. on temporary sojourn to Cuba effective tomorrow,” the Commerce Department said in a statement to The Associated Press.

Permitted Travel Categories

As since 2000, travel to Cuba is not permitted for tourist activities. Travel-related transactions continue to be permitted by general licenses for 12 categories of travel, including family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions. The 12 categories of travel and necessary criteria are outlined in the explanatory FAQ document provided by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

AAA Talking Points

  • AAA is working closely with our travel suppliers to better understand the affect this will have on their operations.
  • Travelers who have completed at least one travel-related transaction prior to June 5, 2019, for previously authorized travel to Cuba will be “grandfathered” in and allowed to complete their trip. These travelers should consult with their travel providers for any potential changes to itineraries.
  • Anyone with travel plans should consult their travel providers or a travel agent for any changes to travel plans or requirements.
  • For additional details, travelers should visit the U.S. Department of Treasury resources available on its website.