Entry / Exit Requirements
To enter Cuba every tourist must have a valid passport, a tourist card, travel insurance with medical coverage, a return ticket, and sufficient funds to meet its financial needs during his/her stay.
Cuban Tourist Card (tourist visa) :
The Tourist Card (Visa-Tarjeta del Turista) is usually provided by tour operators, travel agencies or airlines; or it can be obtained at any Cuban airport (or other Cuban government offices) in the case of privately organized trips. The tourist card is typically valid for 30 days, 90 days for Canadians. It can be exyended for another 30 days once in Cuba, or 90 more for Canadians.
Health insurance :
Since May 2010, travelers must have an insurance that covers medical expenses in order to enter the country. Upon arrival, travelers may be required to present a proof of medical coverage valid for the entire period of their stay in Cuba, in the form of an insurance certificate, insurance policy, medical assistance card, etc. Travelers without medical insurance are required to purchase one through the Cuban travelers' aid company called ASISTUR S.A. (www.asistur.cu), they have an office in every Cuban Airport.
Note that during wide-spread flu virus outbreaks, it's common to see fever detection sensors in Cuban airports to detect people with elevated body temperature; and also you may have to fill a health declaration form upon arrival. Filling this form is not required when no outbreak has been reported.
Return ticket and proof of sufficient funds :
Upon entry in Cuba, tourists should possess a return ticket. Travelers entering Cuba with air-only tickets (no prepaid accommodation) may have to show that they carry sufficient funds to meet their financial needs for the duration of their stay; that is at least the equivalent to 50 CUC per day.
Special Visas :
If you are planning to study in Cuba, you need a: Student Visa.
If you are planning to work in Cuba, you need a: Business Visa.
Departure Tax :
NEW PROCEDURE FOR THE DEPARTURE TAX: Since May 1st 2015, the Cuban Departure Tax is no longer paid at destination. It's now already included in the taxes when buying a flight or vacation-package to Cuba.
(Before May, 2015, the departure tax of 25 CUC per person was payable at the airport when leaving Cuba. A hologram sticker was then affixed to the back of your boarding card as proof of payment.)
For U.S. citizens and U.S. residents :
Under U.S. law, citizens and people residing in the United States are prohibited from spending money (in any currency) related to Cuban travel, unless they are licensed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). However, since the thawing of relations between the United States and Cuba started on December 2014, many travel restrictions were eased or lifted, and we can expect many other changes in a near future. For further information please vist our Cuban Thaw website.
Lily & Normand