In 2004, the
Office of Foreign Assets Control at the U.S. Department of Treasury issued
regulations to restrict study abroad in Cuba. The rule, effective June 30,
2004, tightened restrictions on travel to Cuba and established new licensing,
programming, and participant requirements for educational travel activities to
the country. The 2004 regulations resulted in the cancellation of most U.S.
study abroad programs in Cuba and dramatically decreased the number of U.S.
students studying there.
On January 14, 2011 President Obama announced
changes to some categories of non-tourist travel to Cuba, including travel for
academic purposes and people-to-people engagement. The new regulations allow
all students enrolled in degree programs at accredited U.S. academic
institutions to access programs to study abroad in Cuba. The regulations also
ease restrictions on length or time of study, expand opportunities faculty and
staff travel to Cuba, and create a special licensing category for other
non-credit bearing educational opportunities in Cuba.
were published by the Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control
on January 28, 2011.
If you are planning an educational program in Cuba
or planning to attend a program in Cuba, you should be familiar with the rules
and regulations posted. Violations of The Cuban Assets Control Regulations are
subject to civil and criminal penalties and fines.
A general license permits any accredited institutions of higher education in
the United States to sponsor travel to Cuba for educational activities carrying
academic credit toward a degree, including the following:
students to participate in academic activities in Cuba through any sponsoring
U.S. academic institution, not only through the accredited U.S. academic
institution at which the student is pursuing a degree.
participation in a formal course of study at a Cuban academic institution,
provided the formal course of study in Cuba will be accepted for credit toward
the student's graduate or undergraduate degree.
- Allows noncommercial
academic research in Cuba specifically related to Cuba and for the purpose of
obtaining a graduate degree. A student traveling to engage in such transactions
must carry a letter on official letterhead, signed by a designated
representative of the sponsoring U.S. academic institution, stating that the
individual is a student currently enrolled in a graduate degree program at an
accredited U.S. academic institution, and stating that the research in Cuba
will be accepted for credit toward that degree.
faculty/adjunct/part-time/staff at the sponsoring institution to accompany
students on academic programs to Cuba.
- Allows any individual regularly
employed in a teaching capacity at the sponsoring U.S. academic institution to
teach at a Cuban institution provided that the teaching activities are related
to an academic program at the Cuban institution and that the duration of the
teaching is at least 10 weeks. Teachers are required to carry a letter from the
The regulations specify that U.S.
students/faculty/staff participating the activities listed above will be
required to carry letters "stating that the Cuba-related travel is part of a
structured educational program of the sponsoring U.S. academic institution, and
stating that the individual is a member of the faculty or staff of that
institution or is a student currently enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate
degree program at an accredited U.S. academic institution and that the study in
Cuba will be accepted for credit toward that degree."
license also allows full-time professionals conducting professional research to
travel to Cuba, attend certain international professional organization meetings
or conferences in Cuba, and attend certain professional meetings related to the
provision of telecommunications services under a general license. The
regulations specify that research requires a full work schedule of
noncommercial, academic research that has a substantial likelihood of public
dissemination and is in the traveler's professional area.
satisfying all criteria and conditions in a general license, no further
permission from OFAC is required to engage in transactions authorized by that
Specific licenses may be
available to institutions, organizations, and individuals for educational,
people-to-people, and professional travel that does not qualify under a general
license. Types of specific licenses available include: individuals traveling
for academic purposes but not under the auspices of an accredited U.S. graduate
or undergraduate degree-granting institution; educational exchanges not
involving academic credit pursuant to a degree; academic seminars, conferences,
and workshops related to Cuba or global issues involving Cuba; professional
research; and to attend international professional meetings.
application in letter format with relevant supporting documentation must be
made to OFAC to obtain a specific license. A specific license applicant must
wait for OFAC to issue the license prior to engaging in travel-related
transactions as stated
For any questions about whether a certain travel-related
activity to Cuba qualifies under a general license, please contact OFAC
information for the Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assests
Control can be found on their Web site.
- Allows a general license category
for a U.S. person to send remittances (up to $500 per quarter) to nonfamily
members in Cuba.
- Under a general license, allows a sponsoring U.S.
academic institution to pay the stipend or salary of a Cuban scholar to teach
or engage in other scholarly activity.
- Under a general license, allows
a sponsoring institution to open a bank account in Cuba to facilitate
- Allows all U.S. international airports to apply to
provide services to licensed airplane charters.
- Allows organizations
to apply for specific licenses for educational exchanges not involving academic
- Students can participate in a
program that must be for academic credit but does not need to be for a minimum
length of time.
- Any student enrolled in a degree program at an
accredited academic institution may participate in any credit-bearing academic
program abroad hosted by any sponsoring institution.
- Any faculty or
staff at a sponsoring academic institutionis eligible to lead programs or
accompany students on such programs to Cuba.
- Individuals studying or
working in an academic capacity in Cuba either through their home institution
or through a Cuban institution will be required to carry a letter stating that
they are there for academic purposes from that respective institution.
- Faculty wishing to teach at a Cuban academic institution can do so as long
as the duration is no shorter than 10 weeks and they are carrying a letter from
the sponsoring U.S. academic institution.
- These provisions do not
apply to tourist activities.
- The health insurance requirement to enter
Cuba will still stand.
- The guidelines recommend applicants to submit
an application to OFAC no later than 45 days prior to the proposed date of