Check your passport! Even if you traveled last week to South Africa, check your passport. Even if you are certain it is valid and good for another 2 years, check your passport!
You MUST have a valid passport good for 6 months after your planned return date with at least 2 blank pages available. Without this you will not be able to enter Cuba and it will be considered a last minute cancellation on your part. Check your passport!
If you need to renew or obtain a passport, see your countries passport agencies immediately. Resources for US travelers are listed to the right.
You do not need a visa to enter Cuba, you need a tourist card.*
But wait, as a US citizen or resident I am not allowed to travel as a tourist in Cuba. Why would I need a tourist card?
The restriction on US Citizens and residents traveling as a tourist in Cuba is one sided. From the Cuban perspective as a visitor you are defined as a tourist and while a visa is not required, you pay a fee to enter and you are registered on entering the country, at each place you stay, and when you leave.
There are 2 types of tourist cards – a pink one if you are traveling to Cuba from the US, and a green one if you are traveling there from anywhere else.
The Cuban Tourist Card:
Unless otherwise stated, we do not include the Cuban Tourist Card with Clave Cuba programs. The cost varies significantly depending on your last departure to Cuba and which airline you use, so be sure to check the details before deciding how you will purchase yours. In most cases, we recommend buying them at the airport.
Green Tourist Card
$0 when flying from Canada to Cuba, it is included in the cost of your flight and given to you in-flight
$20 at the airline check-in counter when flying from Mexico to Cuba
$20 – $75 purchased online or from your country’s Cuban Embassy
Pink Tourist Card
$50 purchased online and delivered at the gate through Southwest
$50 purchased at the gate through Delta or Jetblue
$75 purchased at the gate with United
$85 purchased online and delivered at the gate or purchased at the gate through American
$85 purchased online through Cuba Travel Services
$110 purchased online and delivered by mail through Frontier
As you can see there is a lot of variation in how much a tourist card costs and how to purchase it. To play it safe, always read the fine print with whichever airline you decide to fly with and just in case, when purchasing at the airport, be prepared to pay in cash even if they say a card will be accepted.
*Travelers from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belarus, Benin, Bosnia, China, Dominica, Grenada, Macedonia, Malaysia, Montenegro, Mongolia, Namibia, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Serbia, Singapore, and Vietnam do not need a Tourist Card to enter Cuba.
Travelers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka also do not need a Tourist Card, but they do need an actual Visa.
This is our candid take on the Cuban Tourist Card. To see the official word that you are actually bound to, contact your country’s Cuban Embassy. See resources.
Cuba requires that all visitors have medical insurance that includes medical emergencies, evacuation by air, and repatriation for the duration of their visit. If you are flying to Cuba from the US on any of the major airlines, insurance is included with your ticket for the first 30 days. If you are traveling from anywhere else, check with your airline and your personal medical insurance to see if you will be covered.
On arrival in Cuba, you may be asked to present proof of insurance. If you do not have insurance or do not have the documentation, you will have to buy insurance from Asistur in the airport at $3/day for the length of your stay.
As an alternative, you can also purchase travel medical insurance online in advance. We recommend World Nomads.
Wherever you come from, you must go back, To enter Cuba you are required to have a return flight. Period. End of Story. Let’s go to Cuba!