Until 2014, there were some travel restrictions regarding Cuba, but President Obama took care of them. The whole purpose was to eliminate the need for a specific license for some trips, and as a result, they are now under the rules of a general license. 12 such categories have been established, and you can choose the one that best suits your particular situation. Keep in mind that a visa is not the same as a travel license. If you are looking for a visa or a Tourist Card, please refer to an online service or a Cuban embassy.
12 categories of U.S. approved-travel to Cuba
1.Visiting family – you can travel to Cuba under a general license if you want to visit close relatives. They can be your family by blood, marriage, or adoption, but there must not be more than three generations removed from you or a common ancestor of yours.
2.Official government business – contractors, employees, and grantees of the US government, of any other foreign government, or an intergovernmental organization in which the US government is a part of or an observer can go to Cuba if they are on official business.
3.Journalism – the Cuban government grants access to any journalistic activity, and they support technical personnel or freelance journalist that are experienced in the field.
4.Research and meetings – you can go to Cuba if you want to do some research in your field, or you can attend professional meeting and conferences.
5.Educational purposes – this category will not allow you to attend a university or anything, but it will let you be a part of educational activities in Cuba. Both students and professors can travel under this category.
6.Public performances, workshops, clinics, exhibits, and athletic competitions – this category is self-explanatory. If you want to perform, you are an artist, or you want to participate in sports events, you can go to Cuba under this category.
7.Religious purposes – religious organizations, along with their staff and members fall into this category is they have a full-time schedule of religious activities.
8.Support for the Cuban people – independent organizations that promote a rapid and peaceful transition to democracy, as well as individuals and non-governmental organizations that help the interests of the Cuban civil society fall into this category.
9.Humanitarian projects – in this category there are a lot of sub-categories. There is medical care as well as environmental projects. Educational training, adult literacy, the development of small-scale enterprises, and many others, they are all part of this category.
10.Private foundations activities or research for educational institutes – you can travel to Cuba under this category if you want to collect information related to non-commercial purposes in Cuba.
11.Exportation, importation, and transmission of information or informational materials – this is related to the publishing, music, and film industries.
12.Export – only authorized export transactions fall into this category.
If you do not fall under one of the categories mentioned above, you need a visa to cross the Cuban border. You can get it either at the Cuban consulate, online, at travel agencies, and of course, some airlines.