Do you need a visa for Cuba?

Published on: Monday, August 28, 2017


The short answer is yes, but the process is easy (you can definitely do it yourself) and the cost is £17 for UK residents

Cuba, the exotic land where retro Chevrolets roam in Havana and guerrilla escape routes still lie within the revolutionary heartland, is a must-see destination for many. Before you book your tickets, here are a few things you need to know:

British, EU citizens, Canadians, and Australians need a visa to visit Cuba. The tourist visa is commonly known as ‘Tourist Card’ and it allows you to stay in Cuba for 30 days. You must also have a passport valid for two months beyond the length of your proposed duration of stay and a confirmed return flight and booked accommodation.

How to apply

If you live in the UK and would like to visit Cuba for leisure or recreational purposes, you can apply by filling up this official form for Cuba Tourist Card. The tourist card fee is £17 if you apply in person at the Cuban consulate in London (167 High Holborn, London WC1V 6PA). However, to apply by post, the fee is £39. You can also engage a visa provider to do it for you and pay the extra fees chargeable by the selected company.

If the purpose of your visit is an event or business, or if you’re a visiting journalist, you need a different form which can be obtained here.

If you’re applying in person, please note that when the consular office is shut, they will only process the tourist card by post. Visit this website to check if the consular office is open before you take the trip into central London. Check out the passport and visa requirements to Cuba page for more information.

Travelling to Cuba from the USA

In theory, you can’t travel from the USA to Cuba for tourism reasons, but you can do so under one of the 12 permitted reasons. The laws are applicable to US citizens as well as all foreign nationals. The permitted reasons are:

  • Family visits
  • Official business of the US government, foreign government, and certain intergovernmental organisations
  • Journalistic activity
  • Professional research/ meetings
  • Educational activities
  • Religious activities
  • Public performances/ workshops
  • Athletic and other competitions
  • Support for the Cuban people/ Humanitarian projects
  • Exportation
  • Importation
  • Transmission of information

For example, if you hold a British passport and you’re flying from the UK to Cuba, you only need a tourist card. However, if you are flying into the US first and catch a flight from there to Cuba, you will need to apply for a visa under one of the 12 permitted reasons.

Touching down

Cuba has strict customs regulations – you can take mobile phones, tablets and laptops into Cuba, but you must disconnect or disable any in-built GPS. You must also be aware that the authorities can confiscate your GPS if it doesn’t comply with the country’s import requirements.

Cuba travel guide

Make the most of your time in Cuba by checking out our Cuba travel guide before your trip.