Travel to Cuba has again become more difficult—and its future significantly cloudier—after the Trump Administration announced it’s ending group people-to-people travel.
The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has announced it’s officially amending the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) to implement portions of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy toward Cuba. This amendment removes an authorization for group people-to-people educational travel—although it does provide a “grandfathering” provision to authorize certain group people-to-people educational travel that previously was authorized. To be grandfathered in, the traveler must have already completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as purchasing a flight or reserving accommodations) prior to June 5, 2019.
It’s also good to know, that if any traveler has already initiated arrangements with an entity or subentity that is not part of the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List but that is then added to the list, they will be permitted to travel as planned.
In April, the Trump Administration imposed then-new restrictions limiting non-family travel to the island. That set of restrictions also came with a limit on the amount of money Cuban-Americans can send to their relatives on the island and came as part of a larger policy regarding stricter regulations on relations with Latin America (specifically Venezuela and Nicaragua).
What type of travel is still permitted? According to OFAC, “travel-related transactions are permitted by general license for certain travel related to the following activities, subject to the criteria and conditions in each general license: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions.”
Travel to Cuba for tourist activities remains not permitted.
For more information on travel to Cuba, see OFAC’s FAQ document.