How to get a visa/tourist card?
If you opt for an all-inclusive package deal, your Tourist card will be supplied to you by your Tour Operator. In all other cases, Tourist card needs to be purchased separately, as it is not provided together with your airfare.
It costs between 15 and 25 CUC (or 15-25 Euro), depending on where purchased. It can be purchased at the Airport in Cuba on arrival, however it should be noted that many airlines will require a valid tourist visa card before boarding flights.
One can apply for a Cuban tourist card or tourist visa at the nearest Cuban embassy or consulate. Setting up an appointment with their office in advance is highly recommended, as their working hours are typically very short and sometimes unpredictable. The procedure takes no more than 15 minutes.
Next, tourist visas can be purchased at the airports across Central America, or in the UK (Virgin Airlines, the Gatwick Airport). Some local travel agencies also provide the service of acquiring the tourist card for their clients.
The best option for those who do not have time to pay a visit to a consulate or a travel agency is the online purchase. The sites such as Cubaism and Visa Cuba can have your visas delivered by royal mail and their cost would be around £15 plus a £5 service charge.
The Cuban Tourist Card allows you to stay in Cuba for 30 days. If you plan to stay longer than 30 days in Cuba you can extend your Cuban Tourist Card at Immigration in Cuba for another 30 days at a cost of 25 CUC. The maximum length of stay in Cuba with a Tourist Card is 60 days.
Travelling for tourism reasons directly from the USA to Cuba isn’t allowed under US law. This law applies to US nationals and all foreign nationals who are either US residents, or travelling through the USA en route to Cuba. Those travelling on direct flights to Cuba via other countries excluding the USA are unaffected by this US legislation.
Under certain conditions, travel is permitted from the USA to Cuba, including on the direct flights which now operate between the 2 countries. Everybody travelling on these routes (both US citizens and foreign nationals) will need to comply with US law and travel for one of 12 permitted reasons/categories of travel. Tourism isn’t one of these 12 permitted reasons/categories. For more information see the US Department of the Treasury website and the US State Department’s travel advice for Cuba .
It is recommended that you check your passport validity and blank pages for stamps at the moment of purchasing your airline tickets, as the Cuban Immigration Office requires it to be valid for at least six month when you get to their country.
It is vitally important that your passport meets these standard requirements, because you will need to show it on various occasions (e.g. when getting a car hire service, hotel check-in and even in a bank/CADECA when changing money).
All travellers to Cuba are required to hold both full medical insurance for the whole duration of your trip and special cover for expensive pieces of luggage (e.g. camera equipment). Note that in case of claims for loss of or damage to personal property, most insurers require a local police report to support them. Your travel insurance policy should cover all the activities you want to undertake.
If you arrive to Cuba without an insurance policy, Cuban insurance companies at the airport will be able to provide you with one. For more details please see the Asistur website and their information for travellers to Cuba : www.asistur.cu .
Immigration counter queues tend to be quite long, with a time-consuming interrogation procedure, so get armed with patience!
Make sure you have your passport, Tourist Card and insurance policy at hand. Keep your Tourist Card is a safe place for the full duration of your stay in Cuba, as you will be asked to submit it to Immigration when you leave the country.
The Cuban authorities have strengthened their health screening at entry ports. If you show symptoms of a temperature or infectious disease like Zika; or have come in contact with a suspected carrier of the disease, you may be subjected to a medical examination. In some cases you may be referred for medical observation for up to 10 days.
Some electrical items with heavy power consumption may be confiscated on entry to Cuba. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are also subject to import requirements and may be confiscated. Confiscated items are normally returned on departure.
Mobile telephones, tablets and laptops can be taken to Cuba, but any inbuilt GPS should be disconnected or disabled. For more information on Cuban customs regulations, including a list of prohibited and regulated items, visit the Cuban Customs Administration website.