On December 17, 2014 President Obama announced a set of diplomatic and economic changes to chart a new course in U.S. relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people. The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Commerce today are announcing the forthcoming publication of the revised Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which implement the changes announced on December 17 to the sanctions administered by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). The changes take effect tomorrow, when the regulations are published in the Federal Register.
These measures will facilitate travel to Cuba for authorized purposes, facilitate the provision by travel agents and airlines of authorized travel services and the forwarding by certain entities of authorized remittances, raise the limits on and generally authorize certain categories of remittances to Cuba, allow U.S. financial institutions to open correspondent accounts at Cuban financial institutions to facilitate the processing of authorized transactions, authorize certain transactions with Cuban nationals located outside of Cuba, and allow a number of other activities related to, among other areas, telecommunications, financial services, trade, and shipping. Persons must comply with all provisions of the revised regulations; violations of the terms and conditions could result in penalties under U.S. law.
To see the Treasury regulations, which can be found at 31 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 515, please see here. To see the Commerce regulations, which can be found at 15 CFR parts 730-774, please see here. The regulations will be effective as of Friday, January 16. Major elements of the changes in the revised regulations include:
- In all 12 existing categories of authorized travel, travel previously authorized by specific license will be authorized by general license, subject to appropriate conditions. This means that individuals who meet the conditions laid out in the regulations will not need to apply for a license to travel to Cuba.
- These categories are: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions.
- The per diem rate previously imposed on authorized travelers will no longer apply, and there is no specific dollar limit on authorized expenses. Authorized travelers will be allowed to engage in transactions ordinarily incident to travel within Cuba, including payment of living expenses and the acquisition in Cuba of goods for personal consumption there.
- Additionally, travelers will now be allowed to use U.S. credit and debit cards in Cuba.
Travel and Carrier Services –
- Travel agents and airlines will be authorized to provide authorized travel and air carrier services without the need for a specific license from OFAC.
- U.S. insurers will be authorized to provide coverage for global health, life, or travel insurance policies for individuals ordinarily resident in a third country who travel to or within Cuba. Health, life, and travel insurance-related services will continue to be permitted for authorized U.S. travelers to Cuba.
Importation of Goods –
- Authorized U.S. travelers to Cuba will be allowed to import up to $400 worth of goods acquired in Cuba for personal use. This includes no more than $100 of alcohol or tobacco products.
Changes to the Cuba Sanctions – Frequently Asked Questions
These Frequently Asked Questions provide?an overview of OFAC’s regulations with regard to the Cuba sanctions.? They also highlight what changes have been made to the Cuba Sanctions program as a result of the President’s announcement on December 17, 2014.
- Frequently Asked Questions on Changes to the Cuba Sanctions Program (Updated May 5, 2015)
© Cuba Travel Group LLC, 2016. Photos by Julio Larramendi.