Getting a Cuban visa is required for many travelers to Cuba, including Americans. Most don’t need to fill out an application form or hand in your passport to a consulate or embassy. Where you’ll get a Cuban visa and how much it’ll cost depends on where you’re traveling from. In this blog, you’ll read all about how to get the Cuban visa as an American.
A Cuban tourist card, also referred to as a visa, is a document needed by most travelers to enter Cuba. In addition to your passport, you’ll need to present this to Cuban Immigration officials when you arrive in Cuba. It is a slip of paper on which you’ll need to fill out your name, date of birth, passport number and citizenship. The slip has 2 identical sides with a perforation in the middle. Upon arrival, a Cuban immigration official will take one side and when you leave, an official will take the other side.
Most travelers to Cuba will need a tourist card to enter and travel within the island. These are the countries that do not require visas to enter Cuba. If you do not see your country on this list, then you will need a tourist card to visit Cuba. Travelers from the US, Canada, UK and Australia all need tourist cards to travel to Cuba. Otherwise, we suggest contacting your nearest Cuban embassy or consulate to ask if you need a visa for Cuba.
Most American travelers to Cuba can get the Cuban tourist card with the airline they’re flying to Cuba with. If flying from the US, below are links with more information about obtaining tourist cards with a few US airlines that fly to Cuba:
You can usually purchase your Cuban tourist card either at check-in or at the departure gate of your flight to Cuba by credit/debit card only. If you have questions, it’s best to call your airline.
Alternatively, you can pre-purchase your Cuban tourist card online with Cuba Visa Services.
PRO TIP: Everyone on our 9-day trips will be traveling under the OFAC category “Support for the Cuban People”. This is probably the most common category for many travelers to Cuba.
The price of a Cuban tourist card will vary depending on where you’re flying from and the airline you’re flying with. The cost for most US travelers flying with US airlines will be anywhere from $50 – $85 USD payable in cash or by card with your airline.
Once you receive your Cuban tourist card, you will need to fill it out in black pen neatly and completely. Some airlines might also fill it out for you. You will need to print your last name, first name, date of birth, passport number and nationality on both sides of your Cuban tourist card. Keep it in a safe place during your travels. When you arrive in Cuba, an immigration official will take one side. Be sure to the other side safe during your visit in Cuba because you usually need to present it to immigration upon departure from Cuba.
PRO TIP: Make sure you fill out each side legibly and correctly. If you make a mistake, you will need to purchase a new tourist card.
There you have it… The ins and outs of the Cuban visa (or Cuban tourist card). Check out our other blogs about Cuba for more information on accommodation, tipping, currency, donations, food, etc. Happy travels!