What are the exemptions and can I qualify? OFAC has issued general licenses within the 12 categories of authorized travel for many travel-related transactions to, from or within Cuba that previously required a specific license (i.e., an application and a case-by-case determination). Boaters may now visit the island for 14 days under one of these general licenses. Travel-related transactions are permitted by general license for certain travel related to the following activities, subject to criteria and conditions in each general license:
- Family visits.
- Official government business.
- Professional research and meetings.
- Educational activities.
- Religious activities.
- Public performances, clinics, workshops, exhibitions and athletic competitions.
- “Support for the Cuban people.”
- Humanitarian projects.
- Activities of private foundations or research for educational institutes.
- Exporting or importing information or “information materials.”
- Travel related to some authorized export transactions.
http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/pages/cuba.aspx and a good summary of changes here, http://www.safety4sea.com/images/media/pdf/2015/USFinalRule31CFR515.pdf . Although the President can make some modifications to the current restrictions through executive order, only Congress can repeal or significantly change the current travel restrictions and embargo that has been in effect for over 50 years.
previous blog entry here. The people were the friendliest we have met anywhere. The officials were professional, friendly and welcoming. The beaches were spectacular and the reefs pristine. It will take some time for the infrastructure to catch up to the demand once travel is allowed and the boats start arriving. There are 15 marinas and 795 slips in the entire country. The marinas in Havana and Veradero are undergoing major renovations and others will follow. The Cuban government is preparing for the influx of boaters, but progress will be slow. Many may find the restrictions and bureaucracy stifling if they have never experienced the likes before. But from our perspective, it's all worthwhile. As things change, look for us to report here. Stay tuned.