Visa for Cuba: Travel Requirements and Application –

Everything about Cuban Visa

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Cuba is a free country located where the Gulf of Mexico, Northern Caribbean Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean meet. It comprises the island of Cuba, Isla de la Juventud, and a collection of small archipelagos. It is officially known as the Republic of Cuba. It is bordered in the South by Florida and the Bahamas, Haiti and Dominican Republic to the west, and the Cayman Islands and Jamaica in the north. Cuba has a land area of 109,884 square kilometers. The island of Cuba is the largest and has an area of 104,556 square kilometers. Cuba had a population of 11,181,595 in 2020, giving it a population density of 101.8 persons per square kilometer.
In the 15th century, Spain colonized Cuba, and it was in Spanish custody till the Spanish-American war in 1898, when it was officially handed over to the US by Spain. In May 1902, Cuba gained independence from the US, although it is still considered a part of Latin America. After Cuba gained independence from the US, the US retained the right to intervene in foreign relations and other Cuban affairs. The US could also supervise Cuban finances.
Cuba welcomes thousands of tourists to its territory every year. In 2021, it received 356,470 visitors—each of these visitors aligned with the travel regulations and requirements for entering Cuba. The requirements for entering Cuba are slightly different from what is obtained in the US. Cuba uses other forms of travel authorization apart from ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).
Cuba Uses another system called the visa tourist card to admit visitors into its borders, as opposed to ESTA used by the United States. Depending on where you plan to access Cuba from, you may still need an ESTA. If you are catching a connecting flight to Cuba from the US, you also need to get an ESTA alongside the Cuban Visa. If your flight passes through somewhere else like Mexico, you need no ESTA to enter Cuba.

Do I Need a Visa for Cuba from the UK?

Traveling to Cuba from the UK will require you to have a Cuban tourist visa or a tourist card, as it is popularly called. The tourist card gives you access to stay in Cuba for 30 days. On arrival in Cuba, the tourist visa can be extended by another 30 days, allowing you to stay in Cuba for 60 days in total. The tourist card is a physical card and can only be received online, only by mail.
Obtaining a tourist card for Cuba is relatively easy and involves just three steps.
  • Visit the online application portal and apply for the visa. Fill in your details appropriately, and you are good to go.
  • Pay the visa processing fee online. The payment portal allows you to pay with American Express, Visa, PayPal, or Mastercard.
  • After paying for your visa, please wait for it to be approved. Once approved, wait for your tourist visa card to arrive in the mail.
The tourist card does not have arrival and departure dates written on it. It gives you 30 days of stay in Cuba and only starts counting the day you arrive in Cuba. However, note that the passport used for applying for the visa is the only one used for the visa card and must be valid for at least three months after your expected return date from Cuba.
The visa card should not be attached to your passport or laminated. Travelers should keep it close to their passport on arrival in Cuba. The card is made of paper and has two parts. On both parts, the traveler has to fill in their passport number, nationality, first name, last name, and date of birth. On arrival in Cuba, the authorities will tear one part out and leave you with the other part. When your stay is over, and you are leaving the country, you will need to hand the other part over to them. Remember not to attach the visa card to your passport; keep it separate from your passport.
When you receive the card, carefully fill in your details and carry it with your passport when traveling to Cuba. You should apply for the visa card in advance of your travel date, as you cannot get it at the airport when you are traveling.

Requirements for Cuban Visa Card

When applying for the Cuban visa card, here are the required documents:
  • A filled-out and completed application form where you supply your personal information
  • A valid international passport that will be valid for at least three months after leaving Cuba
  • Two passport photographs with neutral facial expressions. Tinted eyewear and headgear for decoration are not allowed
  • A complete itinerary that shows your entry and exit dates with flight numbers
  • Proof of accommodation such as a hotel reservation or letter from your host in Cuba
  • Health insurance that covers you in Cuba
  • Evidence of payment of visa fee
The tourist visa card usually takes about one week before it can be made available to the traveler. However, for those who need it faster, Cuba has an urgent visa package that gets delivered in one working day. People opting for the urgent delivery package have to make their application before noon on a working day and pay an extra £10.00 to get it sent in the mail the same day.
UK citizens coming through the US will need to provide an ESTA before arriving in Cuba. The ESTA is not to enter Cuba but to pass through the US. Citizens of countries eligible for an ESTA need to provide the authorization in the US, even if they are only changing flights in the US.
More about: US Visa

Requirements for Cuban Visa Card

Registering for ESTA is fast and convenient. It takes only about 20 minutes to complete the process. These are the requirements for applying for ESTA from the UK.
  • A valid international passport
  • A functional email address
  • A bank card to pay the visa fees
  • Your details
Remember, only people who will catch a connecting flight to Cuba from the US are required to come with an ESTA.

Work Visa for Cuba

The Cuban work visa is available for foreigners who have jobs in Cuba to move in and work for their Cuban employers. Here are the requirements for a Cuban work visa.
  • Employers offer letter
  • Professional degrees like Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctorate degrees
  • Other certifications and diplomas
  • Resume or CV
  • Permission for residency issued at the Cuban consulate
  • Proof of financial stability
  • A certificate of clearance from the police for the previous three months.
  • A medical certificate shows the results of the thorax examinations under radiographic conditions, AIDS test, and blood test. It must be legalized and not older than six months of issuance.
Note that applying for a work visa may be challenging due to regulations. Your employer needs to start the application process for you in Cuba.

Global Entry: Apply for Faster Entry to the USA

Low-risk individuals who need entrance into the USA frequently can do so through one of the following; Global Entry, SENTRI, TSA PreCheck®, FAST, and NEXUS.The Global Entry Visa program allows eligible applicants to enter the US freely withoutpassing through the border officials.

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