What you should know?

UPDATED NOVEMBER 8, 2017

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS RELATED TO CUBA

This document is explanatory only, does not have the force of law, and does not supplement or modify the Executive Orders, statutes, or regulations relating to Cuba. Where specific questions arise about applicability, scope, impact, or any other aspects of these sanctions, it is the responsibility of individuals or entities seeking guidance to review the relevant statutes, regulations, and Executive Orders, and, if appropriate, consult with legal counsel.

I. Embargo II. Travel III. Travel and Carrier Services IV. Remittances V. Banking VI. Trade/Business VII. Telecommunications VIII. Third-Country Effects IX. Miscellaneous

I. Embargo

1. Where can I find the most recent amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR)?

See the Federal Register.

2. When are the most recent amendments to the CACR effective?

The most recent amendments will become effective when published in the Federal Register on November 9, 2017.

3. Are sanctions on Cuba still in place following the June 16, issuance of the National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM) on Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba?

Yes, the Cuba embargo remains in place. Most transactions between the United States, or persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, and Cuba continue to be prohibited, and OFAC continues to enforce the prohibitions of the CACR. OFAC is issuing regulatory amendments to implement the changes to the Cuba sanctions program outlined in the NSPM. Specifically, OFAC is issuing changes to: restrict persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction from engaging in direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s List of Restricted Entities and Subentities Associated with Cuba (“Cuba Restricted List”), with certain exceptions; add requirements to certain categories of educational travel; remove the authorization for individual people-to-people educational travel; add requirements to the travel authorization Support for the Cuban People; and amend the definition of “Prohibited officials of the Government of Cuba.”

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4. Is the Department of Commerce also amending its regulations?

Yes. The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), in coordination with OFAC, is also amending its Export Administration Regulations (EAR) (15 CFR Parts 730774) to implement the NSPM on November 9, 2017. The BIS rule amends the licensing policy for Cuba and portions of three license exceptions available for exports and reexports to Cuba. For additional information, see BIS’s Cuba webpage.

II. Travel

For questions regarding travel and accompanied baggage between the United States and Cuba, see the specific guidance on OFAC’s webpage.

5. What are the travel authorizations in the Cuba program?

OFAC has issued general licenses within the 12 categories of authorized travel for many travelrelated transactions to, from, or within Cuba that previously required a specific license (i.e., an application and a case-by-case determination).

Travel-related transactions are permitted by general license for certain travel related to the following activities, subject to the criteria and conditions in each general license: 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.

In accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is adding a new prohibition to restrict certain direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. For a description of the scope of the prohibition on direct financial transactions and the restrictions and exceptions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.209. In order to implement this prohibition, OFAC is making a conforming change to § 515.421 and is adding corresponding language in the following general licenses: §§ 515.530, 515.534, 515.545, 515.560, 515.561, 515.564, 515.565, 515.566, 515.567, 515.572, 515.573, 515.574, 515.576, 515.577, 515.578, 515.581, 515.584, and 515.590. OFAC has not incorporated this prohibition into certain general licenses in accordance with the exceptions detailed in section 3(a)(iii) of the NSPM.

6. Are authorized travelers who have initiated travel arrangements prior to the addition of an entity or subentity on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List required to cancel their Cuba-related travel plans if their travel arrangements involve direct financial transactions with a listed entity or subentity?

Consistent with the Administration’s interest in avoiding negative impacts on Americans for arranging lawful travel to Cuba, any travel-related arrangements that include direct financial transactions with entities and subentities that appear on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List will continue to be permitted, provided that those travel arrangements were initiated prior to the State Department’s addition of the entity or subentity to the list. Once the State Department adds an entity or subentity to the Cuba Restricted List, new direct financial transactions with the entity or subentity will not be permitted, unless authorized by OFAC or exempt. For a complete
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description of the scope of the prohibition on direct financial transactions and the restrictions and exceptions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.209.

7. Do travelers who fall within the scope of a general license need to submit a written request to OFAC for permission to travel or conduct transactions?

No. No further permission from OFAC is required to engage in transactions by a person who meets all criteria in a general license. Individuals wishing to engage in activities that may fall within the scope of a general license should review the relevant general licenses contained in the CACR to determine whether their travel-related transactions are covered by such general licenses. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction who wish to engage in any travel within the 12 categories of activities specified in the CACR that does not meet the requirements of a general license will need to apply for a specific license from OFAC.

8. Is travel to Cuba for tourist activities permitted?

No. Consistent with the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA), travel-related transactions involving Cuba are only permitted for the 12 categories of activities identified in the CACR. Travel-related transactions for other purposes remain prohibited.

9. What constitutes “a close relative” for generally authorized family travel?

OFAC regulations generally authorize persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction and those sharing a dwelling with them as a family to visit a close relative in Cuba, including a close relative who is a Cuban national or a person ordinarily resident in Cuba, or to visit or accompany a close relative who is located in or traveling to Cuba pursuant to the authorizations in § 515.562 (official government business), § 515.563 (journalistic activity), § 515.564(a) (professional research), § 515.565(a)(1)(i) through (iv) and (vi) (educational activities), § 515.566 (religious activities), § 515.575 (humanitarian projects), or § 515.576 (activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes). A close relative is defined as any individual related to a person “by blood, marriage, or adoption who is no more than three generations removed from that person or from a common ancestor with that person.” For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.339 and § 515.561. In accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is amending this general license to exclude from the authorizations direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. For a description of the scope of the prohibition on direct financial transactions and the restrictions and exceptions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.209.

10. Who is generally authorized to engage in travel and travel-related transactions for “journalistic activity”?

OFAC has issued an expanded general license that incorporates prior specific licensing policy and authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and other transactions that are directly incident to journalistic activities in Cuba. Among other things, this general license authorizes, subject to conditions, full-time journalists, supporting broadcast or technical personnel, and freelance journalists to travel to Cuba. The traveler’s schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule. An entire group does not qualify for the general license merely because some members of the group qualify individually. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.563.

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11. What constitutes generally authorized travel-related transactions for “professional research” and “professional meetings” in Cuba? OFAC has issued an expanded general license that incorporates prior specific licensing policy and authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and other transactions that are directly incident to professional research in Cuba. Among other things, this general license authorizes, subject to conditions, professional research in Cuba relating to a traveler’s profession, professional background, or area of expertise. In accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is amending this general license to exclude from the authorization direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. The traveler’s schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule. An entire group does not qualify for the general license merely because some members of the group qualify individually. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.564.

OFAC has issued an expanded general license that incorporates prior specific licensing policy and authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and other transactions that are directly incident to attendance at, or organization of, professional meetings in Cuba. Among other things, this general license authorizes, subject to conditions, attendance at professional meetings or conferences in Cuba relating to a traveler’s profession, professional background, or area of expertise, as well as organization of such meetings by a traveler whose profession is related to the organization of professional meetings or conferences or who is an employee or contractor of an entity that is organizing the professional meeting or conference. In accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is amending this general license to exclude from its authorization direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. Travel in this category is generally licensed provided that the traveler’s schedule of activities does not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule. An entire group does not qualify for the general license merely because some members of the group qualify individually. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.564. 12. What constitutes “educational activities” for generally authorized travel and other transactions?

OFAC is amending the general license for educational activities in accordance with the NSPM to authorize travel that was permitted by regulation on January 27, 2011. In addition, OFAC is adding requirements for certain categories of authorized educational travel that were not permitted by regulation on January 27, 2011 to require that all such travel be conducted under the auspices of an organization that is a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction. In addition, travelers utilizing this authorization must be accompanied by a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction who is a representative of the sponsoring organization. In certain cases where the traveler is an employee, paid consultant, agent, or other representative traveling individually (not as part of a group), the individual may obtain a certification letter from the sponsoring organization. For a complete description of what such a letter must include and which categories of educational travelers may utilize this authorization, see 31 CFR § 515.565(a)(2).

Among other things, this general license authorizes, subject to conditions, faculty, staff, and students at U.S. academic institutions and secondary schools to engage in certain educational activities, including study abroad programs, in Cuba, Cuban scholars to engage in certain educational activities in the United States, and certain activities to facilitate licensed educational programs. U.S. and Cuban universities may engage in academic exchanges and joint non
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commercial academic research under the general license. This provision also authorizes persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to provide standardized testing services and certain internet-based courses to Cuban nationals. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.565. In accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is amending this general license to exclude from the authorization direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. For a description of the scope of the prohibition on direct financial transactions and the restrictions and exceptions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.209. See also the FAQs below for additional information on educational exchanges not involving academic study pursuant to a degree program and that promote people-to-people contact, as well as on the provision of grants, scholarships, or awards to a Cuban national or in which Cuba or a Cuban national has an interest for educational and other purposes.

13. Are persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction who have initiated travel arrangements to Cuba pursuant to the authorization for educational travel (31 CFR § 515.565(a)) required to cancel their Cuba-related travel plans if their travel arrangements are inconsistent with the CACR as amended on November 9, 2017?

Travelers may engage in educational travel and related transactions for a trip consistent with the authorization for educational travel (31 CFR § 515.565(a)) as the authorization existed on June 16, 2017 when the President announced the new Cuba policy, provided the traveler completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as purchasing a flight or reserving accommodation) for that particular trip prior to November 9, 2017 and further provided any new travel-related transactions initiated on or after November 9, 2017 do not involve a direct financial transaction with entities and subentities on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List.

14. Are secondary schools and secondary school students permitted to engage in travel-related transactions under the general license for “educational activities”?

Yes. Educational exchanges, including study abroad programs, sponsored by Cuban or U.S. secondary schools involving secondary school students’ participation in a formal course of study or in a structured educational program offered by a secondary school or other academic institution, and led by a teacher or other secondary school official are authorized. Such exchanges must take place under the auspices of an organization that is a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction, and a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction who is an employee, paid consultant, agent, or other representative of the sponsoring organization (including the leading teacher or secondary school official) must accompany each group traveling to Cuba. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.565(a)(2)(vi). This authorization allows for participation of a reasonable number of adult chaperones to accompany the secondary school students to Cuba.

15. What constitutes “people-to-people travel” for generally authorized travel?

In accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is amending the general license for people-to-people educational activities in Cuba to remove the authorization for individual people-to-people educational travel. This general license now authorizes, subject to conditions, persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to engage in certain educational exchanges in Cuba under the auspices of an organization that is a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction and sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact. Travelers utilizing this general license must ensure they maintain a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban
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authorities, and that will result in meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba. The predominant portion of the activities must not be with a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba, as defined in 31 CFR § 515.337, or a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party, as defined in 31 CFR § 515.338. A person subject to U.S. jurisdiction who is an employee, paid consultant, agent, or other representative of the sponsoring organization must accompany each people-to-people educational group traveling to Cuba to ensure that each traveler has a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities. Individuals traveling under the auspices of an organization that is a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction and that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact may rely on the entity sponsoring the travel to satisfy his or her recordkeeping obligations with respect to the requirements described above. In accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is amending this general license to exclude from the authorization direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.565.

16. What is an “organization” in the people–to-people context? Are such organizations required to apply to OFAC for a specific license?

In the people-to-people context, an organization is an entity subject to U.S. jurisdiction that sponsors educational exchanges that do not involve academic study pursuant to a degree program and that promote people-to-people contact. To the extent proposed travel falls within the scope of an existing general license, including group people-to-people educational travel, organizations subject to U.S. jurisdiction may proceed with sponsoring such travel without applying to OFAC for a specific license. It is OFAC’s policy not to grant applications for a specific license authorizing transactions where a general license is available. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.565(b).

17. What is individual people-to-people travel, and who may engage in travel-related transactions for such travel?

Individual people-to-people travel is educational exchange travel that: (i) does not involve academic study; and (ii) does not take place under the auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact. In accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is amending the regulations to remove the general license for individual people-to-people travel and limit the scope of this travel general license to authorize only people-to-people travel conducted under the auspices of an organization. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.565(b).

While new individual people-to-people educational travel will no longer be authorized, travelers who have already completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as purchasing a flight or reserving accommodation) prior to the President’s announcement on June 16, 2017 may engage in related individual people-to-people travel and transactions. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.565(b) and (e).

18. Who is generally authorized to engage in travel-related transactions for “religious activities”?

OFAC has issued an expanded general license that incorporates prior specific licensing policy and authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and other transactions that are directly incident to religious activities in Cuba. All persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, including
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religious organizations located in the United States and members and staff of such organizations, are generally authorized to engage in travel-related transactions that are directly incident to engaging in religious activities in Cuba provided, among other things, that the travel must be for the purpose of engaging in a program of religious activities. In accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is amending this general license to exclude from the authorization direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. The traveler’s schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule in Cuba. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.566.

19. What constitutes “public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions” for generally authorized travel?

OFAC has issued an expanded general license that incorporates prior specific licensing policy and authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and other transactions that are directly incident to organization of and participation in amateur and semi-professional international sports federation competitions as well as other athletic and other competitions and public performances, clinics, workshops, and exhibitions in Cuba. In accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is amending this general license to exclude from the authorization direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.567.

20. What constitutes “support for the Cuban people” for generally authorized travel and other transactions? This general license authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and other transactions that are intended to provide support for the Cuban people, which include activities of recognized human rights organizations; independent organizations designed to promote a rapid, peaceful transition to democracy; and individuals and non-governmental organizations that promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba. In accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is amending this general license to require that each traveler utilizing this authorization engage in a full-time schedule of activities that enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities and that result in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba. OFAC is also amending this general license to exclude from the authorization certain direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. The traveler’s schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule in Cuba. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.574.

21. What constitutes “humanitarian projects” for generally authorized transactions, including travel-related transactions?

OFAC has issued a general license that incorporates prior specific licensing policy and authorizes, subject to conditions, transactions, including travel-related transactions, that are related to humanitarian projects in or related to Cuba. These authorized humanitarian projects are: medical and health-related projects; construction projects intended to benefit legitimately independent civil society groups; disaster preparedness, relief, and response; historical preservation; environmental projects; projects involving formal or non-formal educational training, within Cuba or off-island, on the following topics: entrepreneurship and business, civil
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education, journalism, advocacy and organizing, adult literacy, or vocational skills; communitybased grassroots projects; projects suitable to the development of small-scale private enterprise; projects that are related to agricultural and rural development that promote independent activity; microfinancing projects, except for loans, extensions of credit, or other financing prohibited by 31 CFR § 515.208; and projects to meet basic human needs. For persons traveling pursuant to this authorization, the traveler’s schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule in Cuba. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.575.

22. What constitutes “activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes” for generally authorized travel?

OFAC has issued a general license that incorporates previous specific licensing policy and authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and other transactions that are directly incident to activities by private foundations or research or educational institutes with an established interest in international relations to collect information related to Cuba for noncommercial purposes, among other things. In accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is amending this general license to exclude from the authorization direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. The traveler’s schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule in Cuba. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.576.

Additionally, effective March 16, 2016, OFAC expanded an existing general license to authorize private foundations or research or educational institutes engaging in authorized transactions to establish a physical presence in Cuba, such as an office. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.573(b).

23. What constitutes “exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials” for generally authorized travel?

In 2015, OFAC issued a general license that incorporates prior specific licensing policy and authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and other transactions that are directly incident to the exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials. In accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is amending this general license to exclude from the authorization direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. The traveler’s schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule in Cuba. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.545(b)(1).

Additionally, effective January 27, 2016, OFAC issued a general license that authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and other transactions that are directly incident to professional media or artistic productions of information or informational materials for exportation, importation, or transmission, including the filming or production of media programs (such as movies and television programs), the recording of music, and the creation of artworks in Cuba, provided that the traveler is regularly employed in or has demonstrated professional experience in a field relevant to such professional media or artistic productions. In accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is amending this general license to exclude from the authorization direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. The traveler’s schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in
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excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.545(b)(2).

The definition of “information and informational materials” may be found at 31 CFR § 515.332. 24. What are examples of a full-time schedule of activities for authorized travelers?

Authorized travelers to Cuba pursuant to most general license categories are expected to maintain a full-time schedule of activities consistent with the terms of the general license(s) pursuant to which they are traveling. For example:  An individual traveling to Cuba for four days pursuant to the authorization for professional research and professional meetings (31 CFR § 515.564(a)), such as a professional architect, could participate in a two-day conference on Cuban architecture that directly relates to the traveler’s profession, followed by one day of meetings with Cuban nationals engaging in historical preservation of colonial and baroque buildings in Havana. The following day the traveler could engage in a full day of site visits and fact-finding around Havana at key architectural sites.  An individual traveling pursuant to the authorization for journalistic activities could engage in three full days of interviews with local residents, followed by one full day of follow-up investigative research at local institutions.  A group of friends traveling to Cuba could maintain a full-time schedule volunteering with a recognized non-governmental organization to build a school for underserved Cuban children with the local community (31 CFR § 515.574). The travelers would need to ensure that their activities promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba and that they engage in a full-time schedule of activities that enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities, and result in meaningful interaction between the travelers and individuals in Cuba.

25. Can I purchase a ticket to Cuba directly from an airline based or operating out of the United States?

Yes, provided that you are authorized to travel to Cuba pursuant to an OFAC general or specific license. Airlines and travelers are responsible for maintaining records of their Cuba-related transactions for at least five years.

26. May a person that qualifies for the general license to provide carrier services transport a third-country national located in the United States to Cuba for travel authorized by a general license under one of the 12 categories of travel listed in Section 515.560 or by specific license from OFAC?

Yes.

27. May I take a commercial passenger ferry to travel to Cuba?

Yes, provided that you are authorized to travel to Cuba pursuant to a general or specific license. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are authorized to provide carrier services by vessel to authorized travelers, and travelers may purchase tickets provided that their travel is authorized pursuant to the CACR. The authorization to provide carrier services is limited to transportation of authorized travelers, directly or indirectly, between the United States and Cuba. Vessel operators and travelers are responsible for maintaining records of their Cuba-related transactions
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for at least five years. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.572.

28. May an individual authorized traveler use his or her private boat to travel to Cuba?

A person subject to U.S. jurisdiction engaging in authorized travel pursuant to an OFAC general or specific license may use a personal boat for his or her travel to Cuba provided that the temporary sojourn of the vessel is authorized by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), and provided that he or she otherwise complies with all other applicable U.S. government laws and regulations. Goods exported to Cuba also require a license or must be eligible for a license exception from BIS. See additional guidance on the OFAC website titled Guidance Regarding Travel Between the United States and Cuba.

29. Are U.S. vessels, including private boats and commercial passenger ferries, permitted to carry passengers to or from Cuba?

OFAC has issued a general license authorizing the provision of carrier services between the United States and Cuba, directly or indirectly, by vessel, in addition to the existing authorization for provision of such services by aircraft. Those providing carrier services between the United States and Cuba may require additional authorizations from other U.S. government agencies. Goods exported to Cuba may also require separate authorization from BIS.

30. May vessels transporting authorized travelers to Cuba provide lodging services?

Yes. Section 515.572(a)(4) of the CACR permits persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction providing authorized carrier services by vessel to also provide lodging for authorized travelers onboard during the period of time the vessel is traveling to, from, or within Cuba, including when docked in a port in Cuba.

31. Are authorized U.S. travelers permitted to travel onboard vessels in Cuba to meet their transportation needs within Cuba?

Travel onboard a vessel in Cuba is permitted for authorized travel. 32. Are there any spending limits for authorized U.S. travelers while in Cuba?

There is no specific dollar limit on authorized expenses; however, in accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is amending the CACR to restrict persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction from engaging in direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List, with certain exceptions. See 31 CFR § 515.209 and § 515.421. Consistent with these authorizations and restrictions, authorized travelers may 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. In addition, travelers are authorized to acquire in Cuba and import as accompanied baggage into the United States merchandise for personal use only. Value imports remain subject to the normal limits on duty and tax exemptions for merchandise imported as accompanied baggage and for personal use.

33. Are there any CACR restrictions on what foreign persons entering the United States from travel that included Cuba may bring in their accompanied baggage?

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A non-U.S. person (i.e. not a U.S. citizen or resident) arriving in the United States is authorized to import Cuban-origin merchandise, including tobacco and alcohol, as accompanied baggage provided the merchandise is not in commercial quantities and not imported for resale. See 31 CFR § 515.569. 34. Can I purchase Cuban-origin cigars and/or Cuban-origin rum or other alcohol while traveling in Cuba?

Persons authorized to travel to Cuba may purchase alcohol and tobacco products while in Cuba for personal consumption. Authorized travelers may also return to the United States with alcohol and/or tobacco products acquired in Cuba as accompanied baggage for personal use. OFAC considers “personal use” of an imported item to include giving the item to another individual as a personal gift, but not the transfer of the item to another person for payment or other consideration.

35. Can I purchase Cuban-origin cigars and/or Cuban-origin rum or other Cuban-origin alcohol while in a third country (i.e. not Cuba)?

Yes, persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction may purchase or acquire Cuban-origin merchandise, including alcohol and tobacco products, while in a third country for personal consumption. Such products may be consumed while in a third country, or imported into the United States as accompanied baggage for personal use only. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.585(c) and (d).

36. As an authorized traveler, may I travel from a third country to Cuba and from Cuba to a third country?

Yes, a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction engaging in authorized travel-related transactions may travel to Cuba from a third country or to a third country from Cuba. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction traveling to and from Cuba via a third country may only do so if their travel-related transactions are authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, and such travelers are subject to the same restrictions and requirements as persons traveling directly from the United States.

37. May crew or other personnel involved in the operation of aircraft or vessels transporting authorized travelers to Cuba remain in Cuba along with the aircraft or vessel?

Yes. Effective January 27, 2016, the general license authorizing travel-related transactions incident to the exportation or reexportation of authorized goods includes travel-related and such other transactions directly incident to the facilitation of the temporary sojourn of aircraft and vessels authorized by the Department of Commerce for travel between the United States and Cuba and that are transporting other authorized travelers. This authorization includes travelrelated transactions by persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction who are required for normal operation and service on board a vessel or aircraft or who are required to provide services to a vessel in port or aircraft on the ground. Travel-related transactions by such persons must be limited to the duration and scope of their duties in relation to the particular authorized temporary sojourn. For a complete description of what the OFAC general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.533(c)(2).

III. Travel and Carrier Services

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38. Do air carriers or vessel operators need to obtain specific licenses from OFAC to provide services?

No. A general license authorizes persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to provide carrier services by vessel or aircraft to, from, or within Cuba, in connection with authorized travel, without the need for a specific license from OFAC. However, while no additional license is required from OFAC, persons providing carrier services may still need to secure regulatory approvals from other concerned U.S. government agencies, including the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security, the Department of Transportation’s Office of the Secretary and the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security. For a complete description of what the OFAC general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(2).

39. Do travel service providers (such as travel agents and tour group operators) need to obtain specific licenses from OFAC to provide services for travel to Cuba?

No. A general license authorizes persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, including travel agents and tour group operators, to provide travel services in connection with authorized travel without the need for specific licenses from OFAC. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(1). In accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is amending this general license to exclude from the authorization certain direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. The provision of services related to travel for tourist activities or other unauthorized travel to Cuba remains prohibited.

40. May persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction providing carrier services to authorized travelers between the United States and Cuba provide such services via a third country?

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are authorized to provide carrier services either directly or indirectly between the United States and Cuba for authorized travelers, provided that they hold any additional authorizations required by other U.S. government agencies. For example, a vessel operator could transport authorized travelers from the United States to Cuba via stops in a third country. For a complete description of what the OFAC general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(2). Note that the civil aviation arrangement signed by the United States and Cuba in February 2016 does not contemplate that U.S. carriers providing scheduled air service between the United States and Cuba will be authorized to make traffic stops in third countries.

41. In the case of a customer traveling to or from Cuba under a specific license, may air carriers, vessel operators, and providers of travel services collect and retain on file the specific license number in lieu of a physical or electronic copy of the license?

Yes. Effective October 17, 2016, OFAC amended the recordkeeping requirements applicable to persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction providing authorized carrier or travel services to expressly permit persons providing such services to a customer traveling under a specific license to maintain either the specific license number or a copy of the license on file. See 31 CFR § 515.572(b)(1) Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction providing authorized carrier or travel services that choose to collect the specific license number in lieu of the license must maintain a record of that number, as well as the other required information set forth in § 515.572(b), for at least five years.

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42. Are airlines, vessel operators, and travel service providers required to verify that an individual traveler is authorized to travel to Cuba?

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction providing authorized carrier or travel services must retain for at least five years from the date of the transaction a certification from each customer indicating the provision of the CACR that authorizes the person to travel to Cuba. In the case of a customer traveling under a specific license, a copy of the license or the license number must be maintained on file. The names and addresses of individual travelers must also be maintained on file for at least five years. See 31 CFR § 515.572(b). This information, including certifications and copies of licenses or license numbers, may be collected and maintained in any form, including electronically.

43. What types of arrangements may airlines enter into with a Cuban national (individual or entity) to facilitate the provision of carrier services between the United States and Cuba?

The entry into blocked space, code-sharing, or leasing agreements to facilitate the provision of carrier services by air is authorized. For a complete description of what the OFAC general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(2)(ii). Transactions, including the remittance of payments, ordinarily incident to such arrangements are also authorized (see 31 CFR § 515.421).

44. To which travelers may I provide carrier services between the United States and Cuba?

See additional guidance on the OFAC website titled Guidance Regarding Travel between the United States and Cuba.

IV. Remittances

45. What changes have been made with respect to authorized remittances by U.S. persons to or relating to Cuba?

Effective November 9, 2017, in accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is amending the definition of “prohibited officials of the Government of Cuba” (31 CFR § 515.337) to add certain individuals. This regulatory change may exclude certain additional persons from receipt of authorized remittances.

Effective January 16, 2015, certain remittances to Cuban nationals for humanitarian projects, support for the Cuban people, or development of private business are generally authorized.

Additional types of remittances are authorized by general license or may be authorized by specific license. See 31 CFR § 515.570 for a complete description of what the OFAC general licenses authorize and the restrictions that apply, as well as statements of specific licensing policy.

Effective September 21, 2015, the dollar limit on authorized remittances travelers to Cuba may carry has been removed. For a complete description of this authorization and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.560(c)(4) and (d)(2).

46. Is a bank, credit union, or money service business (MSB) such as a money remitter permitted to process my authorized remittances to or from Cuba?

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Yes. Pursuant to a general license, banking institutions, as defined in 31 CFR § 515.314, U.S.registered brokers or dealers in securities, and U.S.-registered money transmitters are permitted to process authorized remittances to or from Cuba without having to obtain a specific license, subject to the recordkeeping and reporting requirements set forth in 31 C.F.R § 515.572(b). For a complete description of what the OFAC general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(3).

V. Banking

47. What is the Cuba Restricted List and how does it impact Cuba-related transactions?

In accordance with the NSPM, the State Department is publishing a list of entities and subentities that are under the control of, or act for or on behalf of, the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services or personnel, and with which direct financial transactions would disproportionately benefit the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services or personnel at the expense of the Cuban people or private enterprise in Cuba. This list is called the Cuba Restricted List, and is available on the State Department’s website at http://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi/cuba/cubarestrictedlist/index.htm. In accordance with the NSPM, OFAC is issuing a new prohibition to restrict direct financial transactions with entities and subentities on the Cuba Restricted List. For a complete description of the scope of the prohibition on direct financial transactions and the restrictions and exceptions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.209. This prohibition applies to the following general licenses: §§ 515.530, 515.534, 515.545, 515.560, 515.561, 515.564, 515.565, 515.566, 515.567, 515.572, 515.573, 515.574, 515.576, 515.577, 515.578, 515.581, 515.584, and 515.590. For a complete description of what each general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see the aforementioned general licenses.

OFAC is amending the interpretive provision for incidental transactions to issue conforming edits and clarify that authorized transactions ordinarily incident to licensed transactions exclude direct financial transactions with such entities and subentities if the terms of the applicable general or specific license expressly exclude such direct financial transactions. For a complete description of the scope of the interpretive provision and the restrictions and exceptions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.421.

48. What are examples of direct financial transactions with an entity or subentity on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List prohibited by 31 CFR § 515.209?

A person subject to U.S. jurisdiction traveling to Cuba to engage in an authorized family visit pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.561 is prohibited from engaging in direct financial transactions with the entities and subentites on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. As such, this traveler would not be authorized to book a hotel room directly with a hotel included on the Cuba Restricted List.

A individual working for a church subject to U.S. jurisdiction interested in establishing a physical presence in Cuba pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.573(d)(3) is prohibited from engaging in direct financial transactions with the entities and subentites on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. As such, this traveler would not be able to sign a new contract directly with a real estate company on the Cuba Restricted List to rent a location for the church’s physical presence.

49. May the U.S. dollar be used to conduct transactions in Cuba or with Cuban nationals?

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Yes. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction may engage in transactions in U.S. dollars in Cuba or with Cuban nationals with respect to activity that is authorized pursuant to the CACR. For example, payments for telecommunications services in Cuba provided pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.542 may be made in U.S. dollars. Further, the use of U.S. dollars for transactions that are exempt from the prohibitions of or not otherwise prohibited by the CACR is also authorized. For example, payments related to the importation or exportation of informational materials as defined in 31 CFR § 515.332, such as books or musical recordings, may be made in U.S. dollars.

In addition, 31 CFR § 515.584(d), commonly known as the “U-turn” general license, authorizes U.S. banking institutions to process transactions originating and terminating outside the United States provided that neither the originator nor the beneficiary is a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction. This means that transactions related to third-country commerce involving Cuba or Cuban nationals may be processed in U.S. dollars through the U.S. financial system via financial institutions located in the United States that serve as intermediary banks. Additional FAQs below clarify that foreign branches or subsidiaries of U.S. banking institutions may act as the originating or beneficiary banks for such transactions.

The examples below illustrate some of the transactions and parties that may use the U-turn general license:
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