General License for Educational Travel to Cuba
Professional Research Travel to Cuba General License
The General License for Professional Research is a do-it-yourself Cuba travel license. No application, permission or prior approval from the U.S. government is required. It takes less than an hour to prepare. It is simple, easy and free.
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Q What can I bring back from Cuba?

A Informational materials including publications, books, films, posters, phonograph records, photographs, tapes, compact discs, and artwork. Everything else is prohibited. Click here for the actual regulations.

Leonardo Hechavarría of Cuba Explorer Tours
I am Leonardo Hechavarría. I co-founded Cuba Explorer Tours. My colleagues and I are here to help you decide what travel license best meets your needs. Many thousands of Americans have witnessed my homeland on General Licenses since 1997. Not one has faced complications. We require all of our American travelers to go to Cuba with a valid travel license.
Who is eligible?
Professionals and self-employed persons. Also, cultural workers, volunteers, and retirees who dedicate significant labor time towards their art, craft, technical or scholarly pursuits, but don't receive income.
What should I know?
To be eligible to travel on a General License for Professional Research, you must be regularly employed or actively engaged in an art, craft, technical or scholarly pursuit.
Your travel to Cuba must be noncommercial and academic in nature.
Your time in Cuba consists of a full time research schedule, and your research findings must have a substantial likelihood of public dissemination.
Your license documents (travel affidavit) must be available to show to U.S. immigration officials upon return to the States from Cuba.
Preparing your license documentation in two easy steps.
1 Complete and sign a travel affidavit. Download affidavit
2 Print out a copy of the OFAC guidelines for professional research and include it with your travel affidavit. Download OFAC guidelines
Together these two documents are your license to travel to Cuba legally. Nothing else is needed. No other action is necessary. Take them with you to Cuba to present to U.S. immigrations upon our return to the States from Cuba.

Text of OFAC U.S. Cuba research travel provisions, issued April 19, 2011 and revised May 10, 2012:

IV. Professional Research – 31 C.F.R. § 515.564(a)

General license for certain professional research and attendance at certain meetings or conferences - 31 C.F.R. § 515.564(a):

Section 515.564(a) sets forth general licenses authorizing certain travel-related and additional transactions that are directly incident to full-time professionals conducting Professional Research Travel to Cuba, attending certain international professional organization meetings or conferences in Cuba, and attending certain professional meetings related to the provision of telecommunications services.

Research requires a full work schedule of noncommercial, academic research that has a substantial likelihood of public dissemination and is in the traveler's professional area.

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.

Q What is meant by profession?

A A profession refers to the source of funds from which a person's main income is derived. For this license, professionals and self-employed persons qualify. Also, cultural workers, artists, musicians, volunteers, and retirees who dedicate significant labor time towards their art, craft, technical or scholarly pursuits, but don't receive income qualify. Professionals between jobs, or who are on sabbatical, also qualify.

Q Is it legal to go to Cuba with a Canadian tour operator?

A Yes! Click here for OFAC legal ruling.

Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Cuba Travel Guidelines.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) website on Cuba travel.

This page and its content are current at . Information herein is provided as a courtesy and does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion.
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