Cuba travel: 12 categories

Authorities don't allow flights to Cuba for tourism

(Associated Press)

MIAMI – Tourism in Cuba remains illegal for Americans. But despite the U.S. embargo, federal authorities pre-approved 12 categories of travel for other purposes.

Traveling for recreation, tourism, hobbies or to engage in research for personal satisfaction is prohibited. But the "people-to-people" educational category -- the most popular category out of the 12 -- is allowed.

It category requires travelers to have a record of visits to cultural sites that include a "meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba."

The itinerary can include learning how to dance salsa or speak Spanish. 


Family visits

Travelers visiting a close relative, who is a Cuban national or a resident, are authorized. 

Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments and certain intergovernmental organizations

Travelers on the official business of their government or intergovernmental organization are authorized. 

Journalistic activities

Travelers who are freelance journalists with previous journalistic experience or regularly employed by a news organization are authorized. 

Professional research or meetings

Travelers attending a meeting or conference or working on research related to their profession are authorized. 

This doesn't apply to professionals in the hospitality or tourism industry. 


Educational activities 

U.S. academic institutions and their faculty, staff, and students, are authorized to participate in a structured educational program in Cuba.  Educational exchanges are also authorized. 

Religious activities

Travelers with a full-time schedule of religious activities are authorized. 

Public performance, clinics, workshops, athletic or other competitions and exhibitions

Travelers participating in athletic competitions in Cuba are authorized.

Support for the Cuban people

Travelers who support recognized human rights organizations, independent organizations promoting democracy or other non-governmental organizations with a similar purpose are authorized. 

Humanitarian projects

Travelers involved in medical-health related projects, construction projects, disaster preparedness, environmental projects and historical preservation are authorized. 

Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes

Travelers with private foundations or research or educational institutes who are involved in noncommercial activities are authorized. 

Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials

Travelers providing services such as software design and informational technology management services, or promoting the exchange of internet communication through installations, repairs or replacements are authorized. 

Travel related to certain authorized export transactions

Travelers do not require a license for this business purpose and are authorized when following the existing Department of Commerce regulations. 

About the Author: