Being asked why visiting Cuba2017-03-27T15:22:32+00:00

Best Cuba Guide Forums General Being asked why visiting Cuba

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  • AvatarJustine
    Post count: 200

    Hi, my husband and I were wondering what we should say when asked by the customs officer
    our reason for visiting Cuba? Should we just say educational reasons? Or
    maybe Research?

    Thank you

    Post count: 217
    Hi Justine,
    The best answer in 99% of the cases is just to tell the truth. I assume you are coming from the USA?
    1) Americans are allowed to visit Cuba under 12 categories of travel. There is no verification of these categories. You simply sign a form and give it to your airline, stating that you are visiting under 1 of the 12 categories. The most common is “support for the Cuban people”. Just check that category on the form, sign it and you are done. If anybody from the US side asks you why you are going to Cuba, just say “support for the Cuban people”. To my knowledge, nobody has ever had any problems by just following those steps.
    2) Will the Cuban customs officers ask you anything? Maybe, maybe not. The customs officer might just casually ask you why you are coming to Cuba. But they won’t grill you for answers. Just say, “pleasure.” (In spanish, it’s “placer.”) Or simply say “vacation”. The Cubans don’t care why you are coming to Cuba. They have no law prohibiting anyone from entering. If it was up to Cuba, they would have a million American tourists per day entering the country to spend money in Cuba. I’ve never been asked why I am coming to Cuba. Nobody cares. Cuba just wants your tourist dollars.
    Do not ever say you are going to Cuba for research. If you are legally traveling with a university group or business to do authorized research, sure, tell the truth. But if you are going for vacation, never say you are going for research. You would need a different visa to enter Cuba for research or journalism or business or school.
    When in doubt, just say vacation, which is also most likely the truth.
    take care,
    AvatarMariela Munoz
    Post count: 200


    If you are travelling from US and US authorities ask the reasons of your trip to Cuba the best answer will be Educational Activities. You will be travelling under a <b><i>General license for people-to-people travel.</i></b>

    Never say you are travelling for tourism, it is forbidden for Americans. When you travel under the General license you are signing for:

    <b><i>for people-to-people travel.</i></b>
    515.565(b). I am traveling to Cuba directly incident to educational exchange not
    involving academic study pursuant to a degree program a nd my travel (1) takes place
    under the auspices of an organization that is a person subject to the U.S. jurisdiction
    and that sponsors such exchanges to Cuba to promote people-to-people contact; (2)
    the travel is for the purpose of engaging while in Cuba i n a full time schedule of
    activities intended to enhance contact with
    the Cuban people, support for civil society, or promote the Cuba people’s
    independence from the Cuban authorities; (3) Each traveler will have a full time
    schedule of educational activities that will result in meaningful interaction between
    the traveler and individuals in Cuba (4) an employee, paid consultant or agent of the
    sponsoring organization is accompanying the group travel to ensure that each traveler
    has a full time schedule of educational exchange activities, and (5) the predominant
    portion of the activities to be engaged in will not be with individuals or entities acting
    for or on behalf a prohibited member of the Cuban communist Party, as defined by 31
    CFR 515.338

    To comply with this, in Cuba you can visit Museums, exchange with Cubans, tour Havana for Architecture appreciation, visit local schools, art galleries among other things.

    Hope this helps a little. Best, Mariela

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