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U.S. Regulations

Person subject to U.S. jurisdiction may travel to Cuba under either a general or a specific U.S. license, which we describe below. Unless authorized by a general or specific license, no person subject to U.S. jurisdiction may travel to Cuba or engage in any Cuba travel-related transaction.

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction include all U.S. citizens and permanent residents wherever located. It does not matter if they travel to Cuba from a third country or if they are dual nationals. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction also includes all individuals and organizations physically in the United States.

General Licenses

"General licenses" are provisions in the U.S. regulations that, in and of themselves, authorize certain categories of travel to Cuba without having to apply for permission to the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC"), the agency that administers the U.S. travel regulations regarding Cuba.

General license categories include:

  • Persons traveling to visit a Cuban relative
  • Certain educational activities in Cuba for the students of accredited U.S. undergraduate and graduate degree-granting academic institutions ("U.S. colleges and universities"), and their faculty and staff
  • Religious activities in Cuba by religious organizations and their members and staff
  • Full-time professionals conducting professional research in their professional areas
  • Full-time professionals attending professional meetings or conferences organized by an international body
  • Regularly employed journalists and support personnel
  • Persons attending telecommunications-related professional meetings
  • Persons traveling for commercial marketing, sales negotiations, or for servicing of telecommunications-related items.
  • Employees of a producer or distributor of agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices or an entity representing such a firm
  • U.S. and foreign government officials and representatives of certain intergovernmental organizations traveling on official business
  • Persons traveling to visit a close relative who is a U.S. government employee assigned to the U.S. Interest Section in Havana

Specific Licenses — Organizations and Individuals Traveling Under their Auspices

Many different types of organizations can request specific licenses that allow individuals to travel to Cuba under their auspices.

OFAC may grant specific licenses to these organizations for the following categories of travel:

  • People-to-people educational exchanges
  • Clinics and workshops
  • Academic seminars, conferences and workshops in Cuba sponsored or co-sponsored by U.S. colleges and universities
  • Athletic and non-athletic competitions
  • Public performances
  • Exhibitions
  • Religious activities in Cuba that do not meet the requirements of the general license
  • Humanitarian projects
  • Projects to support the Cuban people
  • Certain educational activities in Cuba by U.S. colleges and universities that are not authorized by the general license
  • The collection of information related to Cuba by private foundations or research or educational institutes
  • Activities related to the exportation, importation or transmission of information or informational material
  • Activities related to the marketing, sales negotiation, accompanied delivery, or servicing in Cuba of certain exports that are not authorized by the general licenses

Specific Licenses — Other Individuals

Individuals may also request their own specific license to travel to Cuba for many of the specific license categories described above.

Additionally, individuals may obtain specific licenses to travel to Cuba in the following categories of travel:

  • Attendance at a professional conference or meeting organized by Cubans
  • Certain free-lance journalistic projects
  • Persons visiting close relatives who are neither Cuban nationals nor US government employees assigned to the U.S. Interest Section in Havana

Persons authorized to engage in Cuba travel-related transactions are allowed to engage in all transportation-related transactions ordinarily incident to travel to and from (not within) Cuba without any expenditure limitations. Authorized travelers also may engage in all transactions ordinarily incident to travel anywhere within Cuba, such as hotel accommodations, meals, local transportation, and goods personally used by the traveler in Cuba, provided that the daily average for such expenses does not exceed the State Department "per diem rate" allowance for Havana, Cuba, in place during the period that the travel in Cuba takes place (travelers can check the current per diem rate on the Internet at Currently, the "per diem rate" for Havana is $179. When calculating the daily average of such expenses, travelers should include their arrival and departure days, irrespective of the amount of time they spend in Cuba on those days.

Most authorized travelers may also spend additional money for transactions directly related to the authorized activities in Cuba. For example, an individual authorized to travel under the general license, or a specific license, to attend a professional conference could spend money outside the "per diem rate" for payment of fees to the conference organizer.

For more information, see the official U.S. regulations regarding travel to Cuba (the Cuban Assets Control Regulations — 31 C.F.R. Part 515), available at

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