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FAQs OFAC Department of Treasury

June 16, 2017

Department of the Treasury

Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)

Frequently Asked Questions on President Trump’s Cuba Announcement

1. How will OFAC implement the changes to the Cuba sanctions program announced by the President on June 16, 2017? Are the changes effective immediately?

OFAC will implement the Treasury-specific changes via amendments to its Cuban Assets Control Regulations. The Department of Commerce will implement any necessary changes via amendments to its Export Administration Regulations. OFAC expects to issue its regulatory amendments in the coming months. The announced changes do not take effect until the new regulations are issued.

2. What is individual people-to-people travel, and how does the President’s announcement impact this travel authorization?

Individual people-to-people travel is educational travel that: (i) does not involve academic study pursuant to a degree program; and (ii) does not take place under the auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact. The President instructed Treasury to issue regulations that will end individual people-to-people travel. The announced changes do not take effect until the new regulations are issued.

3. Will group people-to-people travel still be authorized?

Yes. Group people-to-people travel is educational travel not involving academic study pursuant to a degree program that takes place under the auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact. Travelers utilizing this travel authorization must maintain a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that are intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities, and that will result in meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba. An employee, consultant, or agent of the group must accompany each group to ensure that each traveler maintains a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities.

4. How do the changes announced by the President on June 16, 2017 affect individual people-to-people travelers who have already begun making their travel arrangements (such as purchasing flights, hotels, or rental cars)?

The announced changes do not take effect until OFAC issues new regulations. Provided that the traveler has already completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as purchasing a flight or reserving accommodation) prior to the President’s announcement on June 16, 2017, all additional travel-related transactions for that trip, whether the trip occurs before or after OFAC’s new regulations are issued, would also be authorized, provided the travel-related transactions are consistent with OFAC’s regulations as of June 16, 2017.

5. How do the changes announced by the President on June 16, 2017 affect other authorized travelers to Cuba whose travel arrangements may include direct transactions with entities related to the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services that may be implicated by the new Cuba policy?

The announced changes do not take effect until OFAC issues new regulations. Consistent with the Administration’s interest in not negatively impacting Americans for arranging lawful travel to Cuba, any travel-related arrangements that include direct transactions with entities related to the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services that may be implicated by the new Cuba policy will be permitted provided that those travel arrangements were initiated prior to the issuance of the forthcoming regulations.

6. How do the changes announced by the President on June 16, 2017 affect companies subject to U.S. jurisdiction that are already engaged in the Cuban market and that may undertake direct transactions with entities related to the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services that may be implicated by the new Cuba policy?

The announced changes do not take effect until OFAC issues new regulations. Consistent with the Administration’s interest in not negatively impacting American businesses for engaging in lawful commercial opportunities, any Cuba-related commercial engagement that includes direct transactions with entities related to the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services that may be implicated by the new Cuba policy will be permitted provided that those commercial engagements were in place prior to the issuance of the forthcoming regulations.

7. Does the new policy affect how persons subject to U.S jurisdiction may purchase airline tickets for authorized travel to Cuba?

No. The new policy will not change how persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction traveling to Cuba pursuant to the 12 categories of authorized travel may purchase their airline tickets.

8. Can I continue to send authorized remittances to Cuba?

Yes. The announced policy changes will not change the authorizations for sending remittances to Cuba. Additionally, the announced changes include an exception that will allow for transactions incidental to the sending, processing, and receipt of authorized remittances to the extent they would otherwise be restricted by the new policy limiting transactions with certain identified Cuban military, intelligence, or security services. As a result, the restrictions on certain transactions in the new Cuba policy will not limit the ability to send or receive authorized remittances.

9. How does the new policy impact other authorized travel to Cuba by persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction?

The new policy will not result in changes to the other (non-individual people-to-people) authorizations for travel. Following the issuance of OFAC’s regulatory changes, travel-related transactions with prohibited entities identified by the State Department generally will not be permitted. Guidance will accompany the issuance of the new regulations.

10. How will the new policy impact existing OFAC specific licenses?

The forthcoming regulations will be prospective and thus will not affect existing contracts and licenses.

11. How will U.S. companies know if their Cuban counterpart is affiliated with a prohibited entity or sub-entity in Cuba?

The State Department will be publishing a list of entities with which direct transactions generally will not be permitted. Guidance will accompany the issuance of the new regulations. The announced changes do not take effect until the new regulations are issued.

12. Is authorized travel by cruise ship or passenger vessel to Cuba impacted by the new Cuba policy?

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction will still be able to engage in authorized travel to Cuba by cruise ship or passenger vessel. Following the issuance of OFAC’s regulatory changes, travel-related transactions with prohibited entities identified by the State Department generally will not be permitted. Guidance will accompany the issuance of the new regulations.

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Can I visit Cuba?

Yes, you can visit Cuba legally under one of 12 categories authorized by the US Department of the Treasury, although tourism in Cuba remains forbidden for Americans.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) lifted some of the travel restrictions to Cuba after January 2015. There are several tour organizers and Non Profit Organizations operating travel to Cuba under general License for People to People contact.  

In Touch Travel has been licensed to organize trips to Cuba since 2012. We have granted the specific license to travel to Cuba for certain educational exchanges not involving academic study pursuant to a degree program – 31 C.F.R. § 515.565(b)(2) from OFAC...

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Our packages to Cuba are all inclusive. Unlike other tour organizers, we include hotel, tours, meals...  You only need to bring your willingness to have a wonderful time when you travel to Cuba. 

The  Cuban Visa and the Departure Fee are payable to the charter are an extra charge of $85 and $25 respectively. 

Please note one or two drinks are included during lunch and dinner, depending on the venue. Extra drinks are on your own. Price for water is 1CUC, beers, mojitos, sodas, juices range from 1.5 to 3CUC. 

All prices, fees and deposits are per person and based in double occupancy. Depending on the tour, there is a single supplement for solo travelers 

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In Touch Travel Services has been licensed by The U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) authorizing us to organize and operate People to People programs to Cuba.

All programs under this license include a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities designed to promote meaningful interactions between Americans and Cubans. People to people travel is not tourist-oriented or self-directed but is a great experience to get in touch with real people, living how they live, visiting a wide scope of organizations, institutions, and community projects that provide a better understanding of the Cuban people. 

A few years ago the US Government implemented people-to-people educational travel, an initiative that allows Americans to travel to Cuba, using a specific license, issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s OFAC. Today it is possible to travel legally to Cuba under 12 categories of general licenses. In order to comply with OFAC rules for visiting Cuba, travelers should keep a travel journal as a record of the trip. This journal will serve as proof that you have traveled to Cuba for educational purposes and should be kept for a period of five years as proof of the educational nature of your trip. 

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Your home away from home – Private lodging in Cuba

By Laura Álvarez 

Here is a Caribbean island that is constantly reinventing itself, a place where its impressive sun can blaze, and yet, nurture.  Most foreign destinations wish to emulate our dazzling glow.  In Cuba, the course of events runs at an incredible speed; and like in other parts of the world, its economy permeates its social dynamics.  Private business initiative has sprung in an unusual, and at times, troubling fashion.  The public mindset, however, is still struggling with its memories of the ban on private property that was imposed many years ago.  Notwithstanding, the economic crisis that befell Cuba in the nineties accelerated a shift in favor of private enterprise as a way to satisfy household shortages.  In this context, informal home rentals to foreigners began to proliferate.  But this business model was also helping to foster a sort of “sex tourism,” since the formal hotel sector was out of bounds for locals.  Up until then, international tourism had not been promoted, but the growing numbers of foreign visitors that followed the collapse of the Eastern European socialist community encouraged an increasing number of Cubans to rent their homes as a means to bolster their personal income.          

In 1997, the lease of private homes was legalized; however, excessive taxation drove many of the initial micro entrepreneurs to bankruptcy, and only the most established operations managed to stay in business.   This result was also attributed to a lack of expertise and experience among these proprietors, as well as a poor foresight by the Cuban State that had failed to develop an infrastructure in support of its private sector as a sustainable source of living for Cubans and a steady generator of foreign-exchange streams.

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Faces of Cuba Today

by Gary Topper

Born and raised in Los Angeles, I first started traveling with camera in hand at the age of 21, on a 7 month solo journey around the world. This was in the early 60’s when tourism had not really reached most of the planet.  The opportunity to see a multitude of cultures sparked a lifelong interest in travel and photography, documenting a mysterious world few had seen.  The passion to find places both spiritual and secular led to years of continuous travel, including this recent journey to Cuba in January 2015.  

Several years ago I joined the Marin Photo Club, where I met a community of wonderful photographers, who were open to sharing their knowledge and expertise.  The stimulation of exploring a shared interest with like-minded colleagues has continued to refine my “shutter eye”.   Recently awarded the Best Color Photograph at the 2015 Marin County Fair and Best in Show photograph by the Mill Valley photography studio, The Image Flow, my enthusiasm and excitement for photography has fueled a driving passion to capture “moments in time” in a rapidly changing world.

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Organic Farming in Cuba

By Loly García de León and Yunior Crespo

In 2014 Tripadvisor included Cuba among the first 10 places of major increase as world tourist destination.  Moreover, after the announcements made by US President Barack Obama to lift some of the travelling limitations for American citizens to visit the island, Cuba has boomed in 2015 as a cultural and educational destination.

Due to a world trend for good feeding habits and also as part of the concern for the environment, a culture for ecologic agriculture and consumption of organic produce, mainly vegetables and legumes, is growing in Cuba.

An important precedent of organic farming in Cuba has been the coffee plantations located in the mountains of Guantánamo and Baracoa since 1900, where the Altoserra company grows gourmet quality coffee exported mainly to Japan and some European countries.

Among the attractions offered by the major companies especialized in educational and cultural people-to-people trips are the guided visits to the ecological farms “La Yoandra” in Havana and “Paraiso” in Viñales.

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Why to Travel In Touch with Cuba?

  • Americans can visit Cuba legally
  • Licensed people to people tours
  • Experience the real Cuban People
  • In Touch Travel is based in Miami, FL
  • Tours departing every Thursday
  • Check in assistance at Miami Airport
  • Professional Tour Directors in Cuba
  • It's Fun and Legal to Travel to Cuba 
  • Delicious Cuban food 
  • Best restaurants in Havana  
  • Fantastic party with a Cuban family
  • Lot of fun and cultural activities
  • Visit the countryside of Cuba
  • Exclusive educational activities
  • Learn about UNESCO World Heritage
  • More than 4 years of experience
  • Weekend tours in Havana
  • 9 days tours in 4 cities
  • Tours for professional photographers
  • Luxury tours in private planes
  • Customized trips for artists 
  • Special tours for colleges 
  • Experts in Cuban topics
  • Real support to the Cuban people

About us

In Touch Travel was founded in 2012 in Hartford, CT by Elme Castillo who is actually the president and one of the tour directors of the company.

We have been licensed by OFAC Department of Treasury to organize trips to Cuba under the people to people program and we have brought lot of Americans to visit the big island during 4 years. Our Cuban tour leaders, expertise, relations and contacts in Cuba make us an unrivaled tour company to count on when planning your trip.

In 2016 we have opened our new office in Miami where you are welcome to visit us.

Contact us

Polimita Cuba Travel LLC
dba In Touch Travel

4401 W Flagler Street. Suite 2 

Coral Gables - FL - 33143

+1 855.546.2822

+1 860.819.3737

Mon-Fri: 9:00AM - 6.00PM
Sat:       9:30AM - 1:00PM

Downloads

> Required Paperwork

> OFAC General License 

> FAQs on Cuban Topics

> Application for Travel Insurance

> Itinerary 90 Miles Weekend

> Itinerary Soul of Havana

> Itinerary Colonial Heritage

POLIMITA CUBA TRAVEL LLC dba IN TOUCH TRAVEL is Registered with the State of Florida as a Seller of Travel. Registration No. ST40093.