Can Americans go to Cuba?

Have you dreamed about dancing the night away to Salsa music in Havana? Are you looking for an answer to “Can Americans go to Cuba?”? You’re not alone! Since the Cuban embargo was established in 1962, most Americans haven’t been allowed to travel to Cuba. Since then, Cuba has been an elusive place for many Americans who dreamed of visiting the vibrant country. Luckily for travelers today, the embargo was lifted in 2014! So, can Americans travel to Cuba now? The answer is yes, but with a few restrictions.

Can Americans go to Cuba?

Can Americans Go to Cuba

Vintage cars line up in front of the Gran Teatro – Havana, Cuba


Americans are able to travel to Cuba but you’ll need more than just tourism as your listed reason. There are currently 12 authorized reasons for U.S. travel to Cuba. These are regulated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. You’ll either need to obtain a license approving your visit from the Office of Foreign Assets Control, or your trip will have to fall into one of the 12 generally approved license categories. The 12 categories are as follows:


  1. Family visits
  2. Official business of the U.S.
  3. Journalism
  4. Professional research and professional meetings
  5. Educational activities and or people-to-people exchanges
  6. Religious activities
  7. Public performances such as sports or exhibitions
  8. Support for the Cuban people
  9. Humanitarian projects
  10. Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
  11. Exportation, importation, or sharing of information and related materials
  12. Certain authorized export transactions

US Travel to Cuba – do I Need a Visa?

It is worth noting that many tourists still make their way to Cuba and claim their reason for the visit as educational, people-to-people exchanges, and supporting the Cuban people. Supporting the local businesses and interacting with the local community of any place you travel to should be on your to-do list. It is recommended to set up activities with tour guides or local businesses and to have the companies sign a document claiming the reason for your visit and or to give you a receipt as proof of your time spent during your trip. One well known organization called Cuba Educational Travel will help you set up people-to-people exchanges and other educational stops during your visits to Cuba. Now that you know how you can plan out your trip, you’ll need one more document before entering the country.

US travel to Cuba

Can Americans go to Cuba? Many people aren’t sure if US travel to Cuba is open for Americans. Here you see the capitol in La Havana, Cuba

Under a general license from the 12 listed categories you’ll still need to apply for a visa. These visas are called tourist visas and run $50 per person. They can be obtained through airport check in, though you can also pre-order one from the Cuban Embassy. If you are traveling with an organized or chartered group, this expense may already be included in the price you’ve paid for the trip.  


Now you know that U.S. travel to Cuba is legal, with certain limitations, you should be sure to get your passport ready. You may also be required to show a birth certificate if you are traveling with an organization for educational purposes, so be sure to have it on hand! If you need help obtaining a certified birth certificate, you may be able to order it from VitalChek. We will provide you with a secure online ordering platform and will assist you to with obtaining your birth certificate quickly so you can travel worry-free to Cuba!

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