Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
The global site for cruising sailors
Sections
You are here: Home / Countries / USA / Cuba: Clarification of the Rules for US Yachts Visiting Cuba

Cuba: Clarification of the Rules for US Yachts Visiting Cuba

By Addison Chan — last modified Sep 23, 2017 01:36 PM
This is a clear, updated explanation of the current procedures for US yachts wishing to visit Cuba.

Published: 2017-06-17 00:00:00
Countries: Cuba , USA

By Addison Chan from the Sailing and Cruising Cuba Facebook Page.

 

For the most recent update, see this document, which is a clarification of the rules issued from the US Treasury Department following President Trump's 16 June 2017 announcement.

There are three US Government Departments that are involved for an American citizen on a US-flagged vessel to go to Cuba:

1. Department of the Treasury, and more specifically the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC)

2. Department of Commerce, specifically the Bureau of Industry and Security BIS

3. Department of Homeland Security specifically the United States Coast Guard.

Early in 2015 the OFAC changed the licensing procedures so that American citizens could self declare under which of the 12 special sub-categories of general license that a traveller was qualified to enter Cuba. The actual requirements did not change, but the traveller no longer had to apply for and be granted a license prior to travelling. They merely had to retain proof that the purpose of their visit was bona fide and that they would be able to produce proof if requested by the appropriate authorities for 5 years.

In Sept of 2015 the question of using American flagged private vessels for travel to Cuba was addressed by BIS. Previously a private vessel going to Cuba would have to apply for an export permit from BIS. With a rule change published in the federal register BIS has adopted the position that provided a traveller is going to Cuba under one of the 12 self declared categories, they are exempt from needing a BIS export permit for their vessel, provided the vessel either leaves Cuba within 14 days for travel to another country to which an export permit would not normally be required or returns directly to the US. There has been some confusion because the earliest reports of the new rules stated that a vessel had to travel directly to and from Cuba from a US port. The published rules state clearly that is not the case.

Finally the Homeland Security permission to enter Cuba as administered by the USCG is still required. The online application forms are in the process of being modified to remove the requirement to submit the OFAC and BIS credentials provided a vessel is travelling according to the new provisions from OFAC and BIS.

So to summarize an individual going to Cuba only needs to self declare under one of the 12 categories. To take a vessel to Cuba requires that somebody travelling on that vessel qualifies under one of the 12 categories and the USCG form 3300 has been issued.

There you go, the path through the spiders web. Of course there are still poorly informed public officials who are over reaching their authority to interpret the regs as they see fit, so some wiggling might be required to make it all the way through. The short answer is, if you qualify, you qualify, so don't let an uninformed bureaucrat spoil your plans.

Share |
Countries
Albania
Algeria
American Samoa
Angola
Anguilla
Antarctica
Antigua & Barbuda
Argentina
Aruba
Ascension Island
Australia
Azores
BIOT (Chagos)
Bahamas
Bahrain
Barbados
Belgium
Belize
Bermuda
Bonaire
Bosnia
Bouvetoya
Brazil
British Virgin Islands
Brunei
Bulgaria
Cambodia
Canada
Canary Islands
Cape Verdes
Cayman Islands
Channel Islands
Chile
China
Christmas Island
Cocos Keeling
Colombia
Comoros
Cook Islands
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cuba
Curacao
Cyprus
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
East Timor (Timor Leste)
Easter Island
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Eritrea
Estonia
Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands
Federated States of Micronesia
Fiji
Finland
France
French Guiana
French Polynesia
French Subantarctic Territory
Galapagos
Gambia
Georgia
Germany
Gibraltar
Greece
Greenland
Grenada
Guadeloupe
Guam
Guatemala
Guinea-Bissau
Guyana
Haiti
Hawaii
Heard, McDonald & Macquarie Islands
Honduras
Hong Kong
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Ivory Coast
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Juan Fernandez Islands
Kenya
Kiribati
Kuwait
Latvia
Lebanon
Libya
Lithuania
Macau
Madagascar
Madeira
Malaysia
Maldives
Malta
Marion & Prince Edward Island
Marshall Islands
Martinique
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mayotte
Mexico
Monaco
Montenegro
Montserrat
Morocco
Mozambique
Myanmar (Burma)
Namibia
Nauru
Netherlands
New Caledonia
New Zealand
New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands
Nicaragua
Niue
Norfolk Island
Northern Marianas
Norway
Oman
Palau (Belau)
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Peru
Philippines
Pitcairn Island
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico
Qatar
Reunion Island
Romania
Russia
Saba
Samoa
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Sint Maarten
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands
South Korea
Spain
Spanish Virgin Islands
Sri Lanka
St Barts
St Helena
St Kitts & Nevis
St Lucia
St Martin
St Pierre & Miquelon
St Vincent & the Grenadines
Statia
Subantarctic & Southern Ocean Islands
Sudan
Suriname
Sweden
Syria
Taiwan
Tanzania
Thailand
Tokelau
Tonga
Trinidad & Tobago
Tristan da Cunha
Tunisia
Turkey
Turks & Caicos
Tuvalu
US Virgin Islands
USA
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
Uruguay
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Vietnam
Wallis and Futuna
Yemen
Add/Update Your Business
If you would like your business to be listed, or the details are wrong, please update your business