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Cuba Customs and Passport Control recent experiences

I am planning to go to Cuba for independent travel and know that a general license is required for Americans, and wonder about others' experiences with entering Cuba with a US passport and a general license. Were you required to show proof of anything when going through customs, or is more of just an ephemeral thing? What I've read on other websites, and also from Rick's talk on his experience there, is that no one cares, and that it is simply an administrative hoop, but would love to hear from non-tour group travelers who recently went. Thanks!

Posted by
81 posts

I'd love to hear answers as well. Trying to determine best way to visit with my husband. Hopefully we will be able to visit Cuba.

Posted by
4524 posts

There are two answers (and one big caveat) to this question.

The first is that the Cubans don't care about your reason for visiting. As long as you have their visa and necessary documents/passports, you'll be let in.

The second is that the US officials may ask and have the legal right to make inquiries about the reasons for your travel on your return. Legally, if your travel to Cuba did not fit one of the prescribed reasons, you could face penalties. However, until now, no one has seemed to care and I have never heard of anyone being detained or audited.

The caveat is the new Trump administration. This weekend has made clear that he can sign executive orders at anytime that will affect people in transit or still out of the country. It is entirely possible that he could sign an order forcing border agents to get strict with those returning from Cuba. If you don't have documentation supporting the reason of your visit, then you could face penalties. Honestly, there is no way to know what he might do for now.