the most commonly-used general travel license category for non-Cuban US travelers.
- Is this category right for you?
- Affidavits & Paperwork
- Tourist Cards
- Category Regulations
- STCP Category Description
- Interesting & Fun STCP Activity Ideas
- STCP Compliance Examples
- More Details on US Regulations & Other License Categories
Is this category right for you?
Support for the Cuban People permits independent travel. You can arrange your services with or without the assistance of an agency/guide (or a combination of both), and travel alone providing you follow the category regulations. You self-certify for this category (keeping receipts and documents for 5 years). Keeping an itinerary listing your compliant activities can be helpful.
Affidavits & Paperwork
Support the Cuban People Travel Affidavit §515.574:
Download a sample general license affidavit for individual travel categories.
WoWCuba cycling trips with independent pre or post trip extensions are covered under this category.
- Print it.
- Sign it.
- Take it with you while traveling.
- Keep it on file for 5 years with receipts/itinerary corroborating compliance.
US citizens and non-Cuban residents of the US traveling to Cuba for non-commercial/unofficial purposes qualify for a 30-day visitor visa, extendable locally in Cuba with Immigration for another 30 days (with presentation of corresponding stamps purchased from the bank in Cuba). Some airlines and charter companies include the visitor visas in ticket prices; in other cases they are available for approximately $50 USD/traveler at the gateway airport (the last airport before leaving the US to Cuba). Check with your airline for specific fees and to determine if a credit card is required for the visa purchase. Visitors whose travel initiated in the US will travel on a pink Visa. The green Visa is not valid for travel from the US to Cuba. If seeking a business, press or student visa, you should contact the nearest Cuban Consulate or the Cuban Embassy in Washington as far in advance of planned travel as possible for details. Keep your visa (with your passport) for the duration of your Cuba travel. Its presentation is required on entry and exit from Cuba.
Travel to Cuba for tourism purposes continues to be prohibited under current US law.
Full-time schedule: is generally understood to be ~ 6 hours/weekday.
Restricted Entities: As of November 9, 2017, the US is trying to channel US visitors away from Cuban entities which are controlled or directly benefit the Cuban military, intelligence or security services/personnel. The complete list of those Ministries, Holding Companies, Hotels, Marinas, Tourist Agencies and more is here. Take note that the hotels on the restricted list are limited only to those owned by the Gaviota and Habaguanex chains. There are, of course, a multitude of other hotels or private accommodation installations to choose from when planning legal Cuba travel. While Gaviota operates a handful of marinas in Cuba, the majority of nautical services/marinas are operated by Marlin and fully available for the enjoyment of US travelers.
WoWCuba can assist in booking and prepaying properties (including private B&B’s) that will be in compliance.
OFAC’s Support for the Cuban People Category Description
§515.574 covers activities of individuals, human rights organizations & NGO’s that promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba when travelers engage in a full-time schedule of activities (see above for definition of “full time”) that enhance contact with Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, and result in meaningful interaction with individuals in Cuba. Private home stays are not obligatory for compliance with the 515.574 GL. Stays at hotels not on the restricted entities list are fully permissible. License category compliance is a result of engaging in full time activities per the license description.
Interesting & Fun Support the Cuban People Activity Ideas
Supporting the private sector can include dining at privately-owned restaurants (paladares), shopping at privately-owned small businesses (cuentapropistas), meeting with artists, farmers, talking with musicians, learning to dance, play an instrument, or taking a language class, renting a bicycle, exploring museums and local markets, visiting a local artesanal chocolate producer to learn about their processes, kayaking in protected areas with a team of locals for authentic insight, participating in cultural festivals, supporting environmental initiatives such as cleanup of plastic at beaches and donating aluminum to the elderly who return it for a fee, birdwatching with a local guide, learning more about the healthy state of Cuba’s coral reefs and invasive species from a local dive instructor, visiting a local foundation to learn about Cuba’s Climate Change initiatives, or any other means of delving into Cuban society without supporting the restricted entities. Compliance need not be complicated, expensive, or even something for which you would have to present a receipt; simply just keep a log of how you consider you complied on a daily basis.
Support the Cuban People Compliance (OFAC’s Examples)
WoWCuba strongly urges those who travel on the Support the Cuban People license to be very careful about exactly how they propose to be compliant within the rule of Cuban law. In Example 1 below , we’ve replaced the disingenuous suggestion in the US Federal Register document of “volunteering with a recognized nongovernmental organization to build a school for underserved Cuban children” (as this was something Cuba made a priority at the beginning of the Revolution, and education continues to be one of their more successful initiatives) with an activity far more likely to actually transpire and truly benefit the Cuba we know & love.
“Example 1 to §515.574: A group of friends plans to travel and maintain a full-time schedule throughout their trip by [staying at a hotel that does not appear on the Cuba Restricted List (see § 515.209) and volunteering with the recognized environmental organization CITMA or United Nations to clean up a section of public beach in the local community, both providing a positive example in terms of environmental responsibility/community beautification, and more importantly, reducing the possibility that diseases such as dengue or zika would proliferate in the mosquito population]. In their free time, the travelers plan to rent bicycles to explore the streets of Havana and visit an art museum. The travelers’ trip would qualify for the general license because the volunteer activities promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba and constitute a full-time schedule that enhances contact with the Cuban people and supports civil society in Cuba, and results in meaningful interaction between the travelers and individuals in Cuba.
Example 2 to §515.574: An individual plans to travel to Cuba, stay in a room at a rented accommodation in a private Cuban residence (casa particular), eat at privately-owned Cuban restaurants (paladares), and shop at privately-owned stores run by self-employed Cubans (cuentapropistas) during his or her four-day trip. While at the casa particular, the individual will have breakfast each morning with the Cuban host and engage with the Cuban host to learn about Cuban culture. In addition, the traveler will complete his or her full-time schedule by supporting Cuban entrepreneurs launching their privately-owned businesses. [see full list of private entrepreneurial categories] The traveler’s activities promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba. Because the individual’s qualifying activities are not limited to staying in a room at a rented accommodation in a private Cuban residence (casa particular), eating at privately-owned Cuban restaurants (paladares), and shopping at privately owned stores run by self-employed Cubans (cuentapropistas) and the traveler maintains a full-time schedule that enhances contact with the Cuban people, supports civil society in Cuba, and promotes the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities, and that results in meaningful interaction between the traveler and Cuban individuals, the individual’s travel qualifies for the general license.
Example 3 to §515.574: An individual plans to travel to Cuba, rent a bicycle to explore the neighborhoods and beaches, and engage in brief exchanges with local beach vendors. The individual intends to stay at a hotel that does not appear on the Cuba Restricted List. The traveler’s trip does not qualify for this general license because none of these activities promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba.”
Note to 515.574(a): Each person relying on the general authorization in this paragraph must retain specific records related to the authorized travel transactions. See §501.601 and §501.602 of this chapter for applicable recordkeeping and reporting requirements.”
More Details on US Regulations & Other Categories
Visit our US Participants Page for full details, including Medical Insurance, Currency, Customs & more.