According to Cuba’s visa policy, everyone who wishes to visit the country needs to have either a Cuba visa or a Cuba Tourist Card. All nationalities can apply for one or the other at an embassy, online, through a travel agency or an airline. However, the only category of people who do not have to go through a visa application process is the one that includes the citizens of Cuba visa-free countries.
The citizens of visa-exempt countries, or visa-free countries, need only a valid passport to cross the Cuban border. According to Cuba’s visa policy, there are 18 states whose nationals do not need to apply for a visa. However, not all of them can spend the same amount of time within the Cuban borders as others. Depending on the nationality, travelers can spend 28 days, 30 days 60 days, and 90 days in Cuba without needing a visa. Apparently, only the citizens of Namibia do not have a specified staying period. Once that period of time expires, all of them are required to apply for a visa just as anyone else.
What if I am not a visa-exempt national?
If you are a citizen of a country other than the 18 states that are visa-exempt, you need a visa or a Tourist Card to cross the Cuban border. Cuba’s visa policy states that only 20 nationalities do not have another choice but to go and apply for a visa at the embassy, but the rest of the travelers can apply online, through a travel agency or an airline.
The requirements for a Tourist card are the same no matter where you apply. All applicants need a valid passport that maintains its status as valid for at least another 6 months from the date of arrival in Cuba. You are also required to fill in an application form with details about yourself and your trip. The cost differs depending on where you get the visa. Airlines, for example, have fees that range from $50 to $110. Online visa expediting services have several prices as well. With iVisa, the cost of a Tourist card depends on your nationality and the processing time you select during the application process. You have three options, each with its own fee:
- Standard processing – your application will be processed and your Tourist card delivered in 3 to 5 business days. This option costs $110.
- Rush processing – your Tourist card will arrive within 1 to 3 business days, and the fee is $130.
- Super Rush processing – you will have your Cuba Tourist card in 1 business day, and you will be charged $150. The shipping is included in the price in all three cases.
The fees above apply only for the USA Tourist Card, for which only US citizens and Green Card holders can apply. The rest of the nationalities must apply for an International Tourist Card, and it is less expensive. You will be charged $55, $75, and $95 respectively.
The conclusion is that while there are some Cuba visa-free countries, most of the nationalities are required to apply for a Cuba visa or Tourist Card. If you are eligible for a Tourist Card, we recommend that you use the online application process. It is fast, efficient, and iVisa will handle most of the hard work for you. The document you receive grants a 30-day stay in Cuba unless you are a Canadian citizen, in which case you are allowed to stay up to 90 days. Either way, you are given a single entry.