Cuba travel: Extra requirements for Cuban-Americans

Despite availability of commercial flights, risks remain for Cubans in US


MIAMI – Travelers who were born in Cuba have to worry about more than the U.S. embargo's authorized categories of travel to the island. They have to risk the possibility of not being able to return to the country. 

Cuban officials can and have seized some U.S. passports because they don't recognize the U.S. nationality of Cuban-born U.S. citizens.

They also don't recognize the U.S. nationality of U.S. born citizens whose parents were born in Cuba. It's not a rigorous practice, but it's a risk. 

Feel the anger? Here is a link to the "Republica de Cuba Pasaporte" punch pillow. 

According to the U.S. Embassy in Havana, travelers who were born in Cuba or who were born in the U.S. to a Cuban father or mother could "be treated solely as Cuban citizens" and be subjected to Cuba's mandatory military service. 


On the consular services website, Cuban officials said Cubans who left the country prior to 1971 can travel to Cuba with their foreign passport, but  they require a special permit. There are two permits with required fees: The PE-11, also known as HE-11, visa or a humanitarian reasons permit. 

Relatives in Cuba have to apply for the humanitarian reasons permit. Cuba's consular services issue the HE-11 visa for a $250 fee. 


The Cuban government's consular services also issues the "permission for residency abroad" status. The travel category is usually only granted to Cubans who are married to citizens of other countries. 

To apply for the status, Cubans have to present marriage records, four photos, a request letter addressed to Cuban immigration officials, a copy of the birth certificate, the name and address of a reference and the payment of consular fees in cash or a certified check. 

If Cuban authorities grant the permit to live abroad, entering and leaving the country becomes legal for up to 11 months in a foreign country and three months in Cuba. 

The fee for the Cuban passport is about $430 and lasts six years, but it has to be renewed every two years for a $230 fee. 

Those who left the island as rafters or doctors who deserted while on the job cannot return to Cuba for eight years. 

For more information contact the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C., 2630 16 St. NW., at 202-797-8518.

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