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Copa from JFK to Havana now bookable? Will I be able to get back into the US?

Copa from JFK to Havana now bookable? Will I be able to get back into the US?

Old Mar 9, 15, 12:57 pm
  #1  
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Copa from JFK to Havana now bookable? Will I be able to get back into the US?

I've found that flights to Havana (connecting through PTY) are now available for booking on Copa.

The issue remains, as a US citizen, will I have trouble getting back into the country if my itinerary is direct to Cuba? I assume I would just show my boarding pass from Panama, but would I have to lie to US customs when getting back in? Will I have to show any proof when I get to the airport in NYC?

I know the rules have been eased, but I'm not sure to what extent. Anyone made this trip recently?

Thanks
Othernel is offline  
Old Mar 9, 15, 2:13 pm
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I'm researching this for a writing project I'm working on. The official, legal version is that you still have to fit one of the categories of travelers authorized to go to Cuba: journalism, education, family visits, humanitarian purposes, authorized economic missions, or cultural exchange. The final category can be accomplished through one of the many licensed tour operators that take you on people-to-people tours, such as Insight Cuba. I'm going next week, and I fit one of the other categories. Those categories have not changed. What has changed is that people in those categories don't have to apply for a license.

That's the official version. How you handle your return is something you'll have to decide.
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Old Mar 9, 15, 2:58 pm
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My question is who would be checking/enforcing that I had that documentation?

Thanks
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Old Mar 10, 15, 3:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Othernel View Post
My question is who would be checking/enforcing that I had that documentation?

Thanks
I would think having 2 seperate tkts would ease things a US-PTY-US and nested in it a PTY-HAV-PTY. Might cost more $ or miles but at least I think less of a paper trail, of cause if you can and do use a US-CC in HAV theres no need for 2 tkts they will know you went there
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Old Mar 10, 15, 5:27 pm
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I assume I would just show my boarding pass from Panama,
You don't actually show your boarding pass to the immigration officer. I've noticed that when you use the the machines that scan your passport upon arrival in the U.S., your airline and flight number pop up on the screen. The system knows where you came from. I'll assume Copa at HAV enters that information when checking you in. Will the flight be shown as only your PTY-JFK one? Or will it show as HAV-PTY-JFK? Whichever it is, if the machine knows, an immigration officer must be able to get that information too.
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Old Mar 15, 15, 5:14 pm
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One thing I forgot to mention: You do realize that Cuba now stamps all passports coming and going? If a CBP agent chooses to leaf through your passport, the evidence will be right there.
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Old Mar 15, 15, 6:15 pm
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Originally Posted by SJOGuy View Post
One thing I forgot to mention: You do realize that Cuba now stamps all passports coming and going? If a CBP agent chooses to leaf through your passport, the evidence will be right there.
CBP won't care if you went to Cuba.
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Old Mar 15, 15, 9:32 pm
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CBP won't care if you went to Cuba.
That's not a 100% true statement. It might be safe to say they pay attention to it less these days. That's as far as I'd go.
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Old Mar 15, 15, 9:48 pm
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No has been fined or prosecuted for visiting Cuba as a regular tourist in how long? 10 years? 15?

I went to Cuba as a tourist 2.5 years ago. When I came back, I told CBP I went to Cuba as a tourist. I haven't been fined or prosecuted either.
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Old Apr 20, 16, 1:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Othernel View Post
My question is who would be checking/enforcing that I had that documentation?

Thanks
For US travelers, you have to sign an affidavit through Copa Airlines and turn it in to them so that they have it in their records. What they do with it, I have no idea.

https://www.copaair.com/sites/cc/Doc...-a-cuba-en.pdf

Since I am traveling within the legal limits, I'm not sure how they would handle the situation if you were trying to travel outside of that. I will let you know about the process when I return.
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Old May 9, 16, 12:39 pm
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Thumbs up Copa Airlines

Originally Posted by Othernel View Post
I've found that flights to Havana (connecting through PTY) are now available for booking on Copa.

The issue remains, as a US citizen, will I have trouble getting back into the country if my itinerary is direct to Cuba? I assume I would just show my boarding pass from Panama, but would I have to lie to US customs when getting back in? Will I have to show any proof when I get to the airport in NYC?

I know the rules have been eased, but I'm not sure to what extent. Anyone made this trip recently?

Thanks
I just got back last week using Copa. We were traveling as a group of four. No one asked for the affidavit at SFO when we left. When we landed in PTY, we had a long layover. We decided to go to downtown Panama City. We checked luggage at the airport before we left. Everything tends to be in cash and luckily, they are in US dollars. Bring enough for your trip if you plan to do this. The majority of places we visited were cash only, including the place where you check your luggage.

When you board in PTY to leave for Havana, you must buy a Cuban visa for $20 cash. They do not accept credit cards. You MUST have cash. If you do not have US dollars for the visa, there is an ATM in the airport to withdraw cash.

In Cuba, if you want your passport stamped, you must ask for one. The members of our party who did not ask for a stamp did not get one upon entry or exit. Although I expected that I would have to buy travel insurance, I was not asked about it by the agent. Leaving Cuba, I wasn't sure if I was to have cash for our exit fee, but Copa had assured me that it was included in our airfare. We were not asked about fees at the airport in Havana, and it was smooth sailing from there. Inside the airport near the Copa gate was a small CADECA where you could change the last of your CUCs. Or you can buy duty-free items to spend the last of your CUCs.

Upon our return to SFO, no one asked for our affidavit. You scan your passport and take a picture at an customs/immigration machine. It prints out a receipt that you hand to the agent with your declarations form. It was all very easy compared to the last time I traveled internationally. which was quite a few years ago. Things have changed to make the process much faster.

Would I fly Copa again? Absolutely! Legroom was fantastic. Even though we flew coach, the legroom was much better than most US airlines. They get a thumbs up from me.
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Old May 9, 16, 4:53 pm
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Has anyone who has Global Entry been to Cuba recently?

I'm very tempted to go visit, but I wonder if this would jeopardize my GE. I'd really hate to lose it.
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Old May 9, 16, 7:20 pm
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My experience Flying HAV-PTY-JFK

I have flown Copa Airlines Hav-Pty-JFK
3 times this year and upon arrival at JFK
US citizens were processed via the Automated Passport Control (APC)
all you do is scan your passport, have your picture taken, click yes or no to the usual questions on a paper customs form
and a Ticket is then printed (Looks like a Boarding pass)
all the printed ticket list is the flight you came on and airport
which would be PTY.
After baggage claim you hand this ticket to an officer as you exit and thats it.
Never had any questions asked or anyone look through pages of my passport.
Yes Cuba has been stamping all passport in recent months,but they will usually comply if you request them not to.
I have a passport full of cuba stamps.
This has been my experience and that of my travel companions.
I would not be so worried and simply enjoy your trip

Ps: If asked directly its a Federal crime to lie to an CBP officer so I would suggest you dont. I think the chances of this happening are close to zero unless youre acting all nervous and suspicious.

Happy Travels
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Old May 9, 16, 8:04 pm
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What would be the circumstances of your trip? If it's all done legally, what would be the harm?

Of course, I'm not CBP.
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Old May 15, 16, 5:59 pm
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Originally Posted by fliesdelta View Post
Has anyone who has Global Entry been to Cuba recently?

I'm very tempted to go visit, but I wonder if this would jeopardize my GE. I'd really hate to lose it.
I used Global Entry on my return from HAV-MIA. You do have to hand your card to an agent that asks questions but I was 100% not given a hard time about coming from Cuba. I stated I was on a people-to-people trip. He asked if I had brought anything back and I said some cigars. He then said "welcome home."

Hope that eases your concerns!
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