TRAVEL LEGALLY IS EASY !
Since President Obama re-established diplomatic relationships with Cuba in January 2015, this big island become rapidly one of the favorite destination of many US travelers, despite the rules and restrictions still in force by the Ministry of Treasure / OFAC which limits travels to the 12 authorized categories and forbids leisure vacations. In details these Travel Categories permitted are:
1) Family Visit
2) Official Business
3) Journalist Activities
4) Professional Research
5) Professional Meetings and Conference
6) Educational Activities
7) Religious Activities
8) Public Performance, Clinic, Workshop, Athletic and other competitions and exhibitions
9) Support for the Cuban People
10) Humanitarian Projects
11) Activities of Private Foundations/Research/Educational Institutions
12) Exportation and Re-exportation of certain Internet based Services
13) Transactions related to Information & Informational Material
14) Certain Export Transaction 15) Specific License.
The most commonly used are n, 5,6,7 and 8 and the application is simplified to filling and signing the OFAC form provided by the carrier (airline or cruise) before departure. On the other hand, each category has very specific rules and limitations that travelers must strictly follow to avoid any sanctions in case of verification.
During the President Obama administration it was legal for individuals to travel to Cuba by themselves, holding the responsibility to fulfill the OFAC regulation of each category. Now with President Trump, this regulation has changed and the self made travelers travelling under the category n.6) Educational Travels / People-to-People, are not authorized anymore and must arrange their trip through a travel agent which will hold the responsibility to fulfill the law and keeping records of the tour.
Most part of the tour operators specialized in Cuba just offer group tours, even if small groups, and in case they can arrange for individuals the price is very high.
The OFAC License TSP ( Travel Seller Permit) has been canceled since January 2015 and those who are still claiming that you must be OFAC licensed to organize legal travels to Cuba either are not well informed or are hiding the truth at their convenience.
What is true is that you must have a contract with some Cuban Government Travel Company to arrange big groups but dealing directly with private sector and with hotels is legal as well. Cuban private sector (accommodation, transportation, restaurants, art craft and others) is what the US Government is trying to enhance now and also the Cuban Government rely on private accommodations, restaurants and transportation to fill the lack of Government services.
That being said, any travel company can arrange travels to Cuba but I can guarantee that with allthe restrictions in force, it os not easy at all.
Blueberry Travel Service counts on more than 15 years of experience in the inbound tourism business on the Island, operating from Miami in connection with its staff in Havana, providing always the right solution for your travel, either if you are a couple, a family or a group of friends.
Take a look to our programs to have a first idea of all the activities, then do not hesitate in contacting us to arrange together your custom made tour and receive a free estimate.
Looking forward to host you soon on the Big Island,
Greisy Labrada Guerrero
President and CEO
Blueberry Travel Service LLC