Who requires a Cuban visa?
Virtually any visitor need a Cuban visa or tourist card, which allows a stay of 30 days in the country, and usually could be extended for 30 extra days. Usually, visas for all nationalities cost around $30usd and can be obtained over the counter at the Cuban Embassy, or direct from your travel agent. Postal visa applications take 1-2 weeks to process. Visitors need a return ticket, and proof that they have booked a hotel room for at least three nights (a casa particular reservation slip is usually acceptable).
WARNING! US citizens must be licensed by the Department of Treasury in order to travel to Cuba, but travel to the country is strictly controlled and only select categories of travellers are licensable. Tourist travel is officially impossible due to the US Embargo and travel for business reasons is heavily restricted. US citizens who are licensed require a passport valid for at least three months and a visa for entry.
Cuba Visas are not required for:
a) Nationals whose countries have signed visa exemption agreements with the Republic of Cuba (contact your nearest Cuban Consulate for more information);
b) holders of a Tourist Visa Card. Certain tour operators, travel agencies and airlines can issue a Tourist Visa Card valid for one single trip of 30 days, although the stay can be extended in Cuba. Stipulations are that the traveller pre-books and pre-pays hotel accommodation in Cuba through an officially recognised tour operator.
c) transit passengers continuing their journey to a third country within 72 hours, provided they hold confirmed onward tickets and US$50 per day.
Note: All business travellers (except journalists, those attending a conference or those wishing to study) need a visa regardless of nationality. (b) Neither visa exemptions nor Tourist Visa Card facilities are applicable to foreign passport holders born in Cuba, unless holding a document proving withdrawal of Cuban citizenship.
What documents will be required?
PASSPORTS: Passports valid for at least 6 months after the departure date from Cuba required by all nationals without diplomatic representation in Cuba.
Note: Persons of Cuban origin who are nationals of other countries must travel with a Cuban passport if they left Cuba after 1970.
Time required to issue Cuban visa:
Tourist Visa Card: 1 day (7 days for postal applications).
Tourist visa: 7 to 10 days.
Business visa: 10 days (2 weeks for postal applications).
Journalist visa: 6 weeks minimum.
Application to: Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy). Application forms for tourist visa cards can also be obtained from major tour operators and travel agents.
Tourist Visa Card: (a) One completed application form. (b) Photocopy of valid passport. (c) Photocopy of return ticket or travel agent voucher for pre-paid package tour. (d) Fee (payable in cash, by postal order or cheque).
Business visa: (a) Valid passport. (b) Two completed application forms. (c) Two passport-size photos. (d) Details of business contact in Cuba. (e) Letter of invitation from Cuban company, organisation or institution. (f) Fee (payable in cash, by postal order or cheque).
Journalist visa: (a) Valid passport. (b) Two completed application forms. (c) Two passport-size photos. (d) A sponsor letter from employer and a written version of your journalistic project. (e) Fee (payable in cash, by postal order or cheque).
Note: Once a Journalist visa has been issued, the individual must report to the Centro de Prensa Internacional for accreditation. They should take two photos and US$60
What is the cost of a Cuban visa?
Tourist Visa Card: around $30usd. (this price may change from place to place).
Journalist visas must be authorised by the Centro de Prensa Internacional del Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Cuba.
How long is the Cuba visa valid for?
Tourist Visa Cards must be used within six months of issue. Tourist Visa Cards and Tourist and Business visas are valid for 30 days from date of entry; extensions of a further 30 days are possible.