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Americans Returning From Cuba

Americans Returning From Cuba

Old Apr 26, 16, 11:22 pm
  #1  
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Americans Returning From Cuba

I am off to Cuba soon. Flying in from Nassau and out through Cancun.

Would it be wise to just write at US customs the Bahamas and Mexico as destinations traveled to? I have 3 hour layover in the Bahamas, same with Mexico. I am nervous about writing Cuba however I won't be able to explain the gap between the Bahamas and Mexico if asked about that.

So basically better to be open about Cuba or why bring it up? (techinically my trip is legal as I am staying with Cubans and would be promoting democratic values to the Cuban people).
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Old Apr 27, 16, 8:11 am
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Well …

My concern is that a trip to both Cancun and Nassau would raise questions about Cuba. One or the other is common, but who travels to both places in one trip?

The "promoting democratic values to the Cuban people" category means that you travel to Cuba on a structured trip with an international organization that does that type of work. I'm not sure you can claim you're doing that if the question comes up.

You are permitted to go on your own now. You no longer have to go with a group on a people-to-people tour. You are supposed to engage in the types of activities you'd do on a people-to-people tour, though. That means entirely cultural and educational activities. You're not supposed to hang out at the beach, although how would anyone know if you did that? You are required to keep a journal of your activities if you travel this way. In theory, someone from the U.S. government could ask to inspect your journal. I don't know anyone who's been asked, but you are required to keep what you write on hand for five years. I've gone as a journalist and have been upfront about that when I returned to the U.S. No one batted an eye. No one asked to see further evidence of my work.

My gut feeling is that no one will care if you go to Cuba these days. (I can't guarantee anything.) They will care if you're discovered to have omitted something on your customs declaration.
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Old Apr 28, 16, 10:37 am
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Due to the electronic kiosk at MIA, we didn't even have to fill out the standard written customs declaration upon our return, and didn't see any opportunity to report what countries we had visited or what we might have acquired. It was remarkable!

The passport wasn't inspected either, other than via the kiosk, which could not read the interior pages with the Cuban passport stamps.
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Old Apr 28, 16, 11:07 am
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the interior pages with the Cuban passport stamps.
To the OP: That does bring up a good point. You'll have a Cuban stamp in your passport. There's no hiding that you've been there.
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Old Apr 28, 16, 5:22 pm
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I am going to go with the above and just be honest at customs. People to people it is! Hopefully they won't ask why I have bathing suit etc if they check our luggage. I'll report back when I return. Tnx!
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Old Jun 7, 16, 2:37 pm
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I just traveled to Cuba via Key West by boat round trip, the customs officials met us about a mile offshore and escorted us to the Marina. They asked both at entry and exit if we wanted stamps - we took them, figured I'd live a little

Update - I made it back to Key West (in about 10 ft seas) and cleared customs, they made no fuss about the stamps.
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Old Jun 10, 16, 8:12 am
  #7  
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No one cares anymore.

They didn't care four years ago when I went.
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Old Jun 10, 16, 7:12 pm
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Originally Posted by MatthewLAX View Post
No one cares anymore.

They didn't care four years ago when I went.
Maybe the State Department should update their travel page for Cuba!

https://travel.state.gov/content/pas...ntry/cuba.html
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Old Jun 10, 16, 8:03 pm
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To answer the underlying question, the dumbest thing you can do is to make a false statement to the US government. Take a look at 18 USC Section 1001. It's a felony.

Not to travel to Cuba, but to answer the Bahamas if you are asked the countries to which you traveled and you don't include Cuba if you traveled to Cuba.

Will you be prosecuted? Not likely. But, you will likely wind up in secondary for the next few years because you have demonstrated that you are dishonest in answering simple questions.
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Old Jun 11, 16, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
To answer the underlying question, the dumbest thing you can do is to make a false statement to the US government. Take a look at 18 USC Section 1001. It's a felony.

Not to travel to Cuba, but to answer the Bahamas if you are asked the countries to which you traveled and you don't include Cuba if you traveled to Cuba.

Will you be prosecuted? Not likely. But, you will likely wind up in secondary for the next few years because you have demonstrated that you are dishonest in answering simple questions.
Exactly. And an 18 U.S. Code § 1001 violation may not get you the potential "up to eight years in a Federal Prison", but if you hold or aspire to GE, LEXUS, NEXUS, PreChevk, kiss that goodbye. In addition to secondaries and third degrees upon reentering the USA.

Fill out your form 6059B with "Cuba", you're most likely to get nothing more than a bemused look from an agent. Fail to fill out, or fail to stare if asked, you've "knowingly and willfully... falsified, concealed or covered up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact" and possibly get in some 💩.
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