USA Travel to Cuba


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Text of OFAC US Cuba religious travel provisions:

VI. Religious Activities – 31 C.F.R. § 515.566(a)

General license for religious organizations located in the United States – 31 C.F.R. § 515.566(a):

Section 515.566(a) sets forth a general license authorizing religious organizations located in the United States, including members and staff of such organizations, to engage in certain travel-related and additional transactions that are directly incident to religious activities in Cuba under the auspices of the organization. Travel-related transactions pursuant to this general license must be for the purpose of engaging, while in Cuba, in a full-time program of religious activities. Activities that are consistent with U.S. foreign policy include, but are not limited to, attendance at religious services as well as activities that contribute to the development of a Cuban counterpart’s religious or institutional development such as ministerial training, education, or licensing; religious school development; youth outreach; training in or the conducting of marriage seminars; construction of places of worship or other facilities for full-time use by a Cuban counterpart; production and distribution of religious materials; assistance in holding religious services; religious preaching or teaching; and training or assistance in church administration.

Note: It is a requirement of the general license that travelers to Cuba authorized pursuant to this provision carry letters on official letterhead, signed by a representative of the sponsoring U.S. religious organization designated as the official responsible for overseeing the organization’s Cuba travel program. Please refer to section 515.566(a) for more specific information concerning the necessary contents of such letters. U.S. religious organizations and individual travelers must also retain records related to the travel transactions authorized pursuant to this provision. See 31 C.F.R. §§ 501.601 and 501.602.

General licenses constitute blanket authorization for those transactions set forth in the relevant regulation. For persons satisfying all criteria and conditions in a general license, no further permission from OFAC is required to engage in transactions authorized by that general license. Each person engaging in transactions, including travel-related transactions, under a general license must be able to document how he or she qualifies under the general license.

Reference: Comprehensive Guidelines for License Applications to Engage In Travel-Related Transactions Involving Cuba, Office of Foreign Assets Control, U.S. Department of the Treasury, revised April 19, 2011, page 26.