OFAC Issues Guidance Regarding the Parameters of Authorized Travel Between the U.S. and Cuba

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

On May 5, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued guidance regarding travel between the United States and Cuba. In particular, the guidance clarifies that companies authorized to transport passengers via aircraft under general license or by commercial passenger vessel pursuant to a specific license (collectively, “Authorized Carriers”) may:

  • transport persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction who are traveling under a general license under one of the 12 categories of travel in the Cuban Assets Control Regulations or by specific license issued by OFAC; Authorized Carriers may also transport certain other individuals not subject to U.S. jurisdiction from Cuba to the United States if certain criteria are met (e.g., they have a visa for travel to the United States)
  • transport certain cargo from the United States to Cuba, including items in accompanied baggage that is licensed or otherwise authorized by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) (e.g., personal effects, including limited quantities of toiletries, medicine, clothing, food and other items for personal use); Authorized Carriers may also transport other cargo or unaccompanied baggage if the export is licensed or otherwise authorized for export by BIS
  • transport certain cargo from Cuba to the U.S., including items that authorized travelers may acquire while in Cuba (e.g., authorized travelers may import up to $100 of alcohol or tobacco products when returning to the United States); Authorized Carriers may also transport from Cuba to the United States other cargo authorized for importation by general or specific license and any other relevant United States government agencies.

For more information, please review the full guidance at the OFAC Resource Center. Although the additional guidance clarifies certain travel-related changes to the Cuba embargo, most of the U.S. embargo of Cuba remains in effect, and most Cuba-related activities continue to be prohibited for parties subject to U.S. jurisdiction.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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