Significant amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations by US government officials, coupled recent announcements allowing scheduled air service between the United States and Cuba, will significantly increase the ability for US citizens to travel to Cuba.
Additionally, these regulations expand Cuba and Cuban nationals’ access to US financial institutions and the US dollar from Cuba, and will expand the ability for Cubans legally present in the United States to earn stipends and salaries beyond living expenses. These amendments further the new direction toward Cuba that President Obama laid out in December 2014. The changes take effect on March 16.
Under the amendments, individuals will be authorized to travel to Cuba for individual people-to-people educational travel, provided that the traveller engages in a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities and that will result in a meaningful interaction between the traveller and individuals in Cuba.
“Today’s steps build on the actions of the last 15 months as we continue to break down economic barriers, empower the Cuban people and advance their financial freedoms, and chart a new course in US-Cuba relations. Since December 2014, the Treasury Department and our partners across the Administration have progressively reshaped our regulations in order to empower the Cuban people and enable economic advancements for Cubans and Americans,” said Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew. “Today we are building on this progress by facilitating travel for additional Americans looking to engage with Cubans; allowing Cuban citizens to earn a salary in the United States; and expanding access to the US financial system as well as trade and commercial opportunities.”