Non-U.S. citizens flying directly from their home country to Cuba do not have any restrictions on their activities in Cuba and don't need any prior paperwork beyond the standard tourist card/visa and passport.
Non-U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba on a U.S. operated airline (passing through a U.S. airport) are required to declare their legal travel category when they purchase flights. This is because the U.S. airline (as a company beholden to U.S. laws) must ensure that anyone using their services (who they are earning revenue from) agrees to abide by the U.S. laws concerning travel to Cuba. ViaHero advises all non-U.S. citizens to adhere to this declaration and comply with U.S. law during their travels in Cuba. To do this, travelers will need to:
Choose one of the 11 categories of travel. You'll officially declare this category when you purchase flights (with a U.S. airline), lodging (if it is through Airbnb or another U.S. company), or tours (likewise, if the company is U.S. based). The Support for the Cuban People category is typically the easiest category to fit into.
- Once you book your flight, your airline will instruct you on where to purchase a Cuban Tourist Card. This is a Cuban government requirement, and has nothing to do with the 11 permitted categories of travel.
The easiest way to get a tourist card is during the pre-boarding process at the airport prior to departure. Once you book your flight, the airline will provide details on the process but it usually takes place at the check-in desk or at a kiosk located at the flight's departure gate. Alternatively, you can purchase the tourist card online, and have it shipped to you by mail prior to your trip.
For more help with answers to Cuba travel questions, feel free to message any of our local Cuban planners before you book. You can message one or several planners for free by clicking the messaging link on their profile.