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Going to the US after Cuba: Can Americans visit Cuba?

by Catherine Carey | August 22, 2023
Statue of Liberty in the US

Is the United States of America, your next Holiday destination? Then you must not forget to visit the main tourist spots like Denali National Park, Florida Keys, Kilauea, Disney World, and modern and buzzing cities like Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, San Diego, and Las Vegas.

Before you go to the Land of freedom, you must have your travel permit, the ESTA travel authorization or a visa. Here we explain what you need to travel to the US without a worry on your mind.

What visa do I need to travel to the US?

All European countries and countries like Australia are allowed to apply online for the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) and avoid applying for a visa. You can easily get your travel permit for the US online, avoiding going to embassies or consulates. 

What is an ESTA travel authorization?

There are 40 countries that can apply for an ESTA US online because they are part of the United States’ Visa Waiver Programme (VWP). Among those nationalities, there are all European countries and other countries. For example, British passport holders and Australian citizens can apply for the ESTA. 

The ESTA travel document for the US will be valid for two years and will allow you to visit the US for tourist and business reasons multiple times, with a maximum stay of 90 days per visit. 

You can get your ESTA travel document with Visagov.com. Our experts will process your travel authorisation and send it directly to your email. For more information on the ESTA visa and other visas, you can read our article.

Can Americans travel to Cuba?

Yes, Americans can travel to Cuba

However, even though it’s possible for Americans to travel to Cuba, they can’t do it with the same visa needed when traveling from every other country. 

For Americans to travel to Cuba, they would need to apply for the Cuban Visa (Specific Tourist Card), a type of Cuban tourist visa created exclusively for those entering the country through the US.

What happens if I have been in Cuba and I want to travel to the US?

If you want to travel to the US and you have been to Cuba, you won’t be allowed to get an ESTA document. You will need to go to your nearest embassy or consulate form the United States and apply for a B2 Visa.

To get the B2 Visa you will need to fill out the DS-160 form for individuals aged 13 to 79 and conduct an interview at the US consulate in your country. Here you can find all the information regarding the process to obtain a B2 tourist visa for the US.

The U.S. Government considers Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST). This means that if you have travelled to Cuba from the 12 of January of 2021 you will need a visa. The only real change is that you will need to plan your trip to the US with more time than when you apply for the ESTA. The processing time is longer if you must go to the embassy to sit for an interview.

You must consider that if you have a valid ESTA and have travelled to Cuba after January 12, 2021, the ESTA will not be cancelled. However, it cannot be renewed upon expiration, and the holder must apply for a tourist visa at an embassy or consulate. 

This also happens if you have traveled to Iran, Irak, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen since the 1st of March 2011.

Times Square in New York

Is the passport always stamped when entering and leaving Cuba?

In some cases, the Cuban authorities won't stamp the passport upon entry into the country. Instead, they place the entry and exit stamps directly on the tourist card.

More required documents to travel to the US

In addition to the visa, you will need other documents to travel to the US. Here we talk about three important documents you need to take into account before travelling to the US: 

Passport

You must have a passport valid for at least 6 months from the start of your trip.

Travel insurance

Getting travel insurance is almost a must-have to travel to the US. You must know that, even though the US has access to a good healthcare system, it is private and extremely expensive. Travel and health insurance will avoid having to pay a large amount of money if you have any mishap.

Vaccines

Since the 12th of May, foreign nationals entering the United States by plane are not required to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or present a test confirming they are virus-free. 

Although there are no mandatory vaccines to travel to the United States, the National Travel Health Network and WHO recommend being vaccinated for rabies and tetanus, hepatitis A, and B.