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Scheduled cuba flights/still need visa for u.s. Citizen ?

Scheduled cuba flights/still need visa for u.s. Citizen ?

Old Jun 21, 16, 1:13 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Naples, Florida
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Scheduled cuba flights/still need visa for u.s. Citizen ?

As a U.S. citizen I have traveled to Cuba previously and obtained a Cuban visa for about $95.00 through the charter operator in Miami.

Now that scheduled flights have opened up and I no longer need to call a charter operator, must I still obtain separately a visa ? And if so with whom would I get it ? I am very aware of the 12 reasons for going and have no problem with that. But if you go to the AA website or call AA they are totally clueless beyond booking the flight and document your one of twelve reasons. They know nothing of the visa, if even required.

If anyone can shed any light on this would be most appreciated.
worldspan is offline  
Old Jun 21, 16, 3:14 pm
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
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It's a question of terminology. If you go as a tourist, you do not need a visa to visit Cuba. You do need a tourist card, and airlines flying to Cuba generally issue them. That's probably what the charter company got for you, although $95 seems in inflated price. But then the charter airfares to Cuba are pretty outrageous too. I dont know what AAs plans are for when they initiate scheduled flights. Cuba now has an actual embassy in Washington and they can issue the tourist card too.

The catch here is that the U.S. government does not recognize tourism as a valid reason for going to Cuba, but that's what Cuba calls it.

Some of the 12 permitted categories require a specific visa. I went as a journalist last year and Cuba required that I get a visa for that purpose.
SJOGuy is offline  
Old Jun 21, 16, 4:52 pm
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Yellowknife, NWT, Canada and Sacramento, CA, US; UA Explorer Card Holder
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Part of the reason for the expense is that the Cuban government imposes hefty fees on charter air carriers, all of which are payable in cash before the plane even gets to Cuba. They're desperate for money to fund the basic governmental operations given their out of date business model.

The same appears to be true with the cruise ships from Miami to Cuba -- some reports said that the cruise ship company had to pay $500 per passenger to the Cuban government -- roughly half a million dollars for every sailing.

If this continues, the scheduled flights can be expected to be priced rather high, as well.
Reindeerflame is offline  
Old Jul 1, 16, 7:46 am
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,654
Yes, but for the moment AA has some excellent fare deals.
However, as I posted, regarding my experience the other day on the phone with a rep and a supervisor, they are utterly clueless about the tourist card and the compulsory insurance (although people post that they have not been asked for proof of insurance lately). And about how they are going to deal with the issue in the future before the flights actually begin in September.
Note: The newly opened Cuban facility in DC only accepts walk-ins to issue tourist cards, not a great option for most travelers.
VidaNaPraia is offline  

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