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NTA Commends New Travel Amendments to Cuba Regulations

March 17, 2016

The National Tour Association commends the Obama administration for updating the Cuban Assets Control Regulations and Export Administration Regulations that, coupled with the arrangement recently announced by the departments of State and Transportation, allow U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba on an individual basis. Previously, U.S. citizens and residents could travel to Cuba only with organized groups.

“NTA is pleased with this next step toward normalizing relations with Cuba and providing U.S. citizens more freedom to travel,” said Pam Inman, NTA president. “I have learned from NTA tour operators, however, that the country’s tourism infrastructure is not ready for a steep increase in demand, and arranging travel to and within Cuba as an individual will be challenging.”

The new regulations, which took effect March 16, authorize travel that previously required a specific license with case-by-case determination. Travel to Cuba is permitted for activities within 12 categories—each with specific criteria and conditions—including family visits, professional research or meetings, public performances and humanitarian projects. Outside of the 12 categories, the statutory prohibition on travel for tourism remains in place, as does the Cuban embargo.

The new regulations will expand Cuban nationals’ access to U.S. financial institutions, and they authorize hiring and paying salaries to Cuban nationals in the U.S. consistent with appropriate visa terms. Regulations also expand the ability for individuals to purchase Cuba-origin merchandise.

For more information about authorized travel to Cuba, see the FAQ created by the U.S. Department of Treasury: 1.usa.gov/1NddEro.

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