U.S. Persons can still travel to Cuba 100% legally under the new Trump Administration Rules. In fact, the new guidelines mean basically ZERO changes for us here at Havana VIP. We’ve always been 100% compliant with U.S. regulations governing travel to Cuba, and always will be. We’re so confident in our compliance, that we’ll guarantee it. More on this later.
If, however, you’re a do-it-yourself traveler using TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet to bootstrap your way to Cuba so you can hang out at a resort on Varadero Beach drinking mojitos and puffing Cohibas, you’re out-of-luck. But really, contrary to much of the misinformation that’s been published on the internet, beach tourism to Cuba was never allowed under Obama-era rules either.
As we explained in a blog post over a year ago, all travel to Cuba by U.S. Persons is subject to the Cuban Asset Control Regulations (CACR) issued by the U.S. Department of The Treasury, Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC). Under the Obama Administration. Those regulations define 12 categories of authorized travel for U.S. Persons who must be engaged in a full-time itinerary of activities pertinent to their reason for travel. The most commonly used reason for travel to Cuba by U.S. Persons has been the “People-to-People” category. That’s also the category that’s been most abused by U.S. Persons traveling to Cuba during the Obama-era. At Havana VIP, most of our clients travel to Cuba under the “Informational Materials Exchange” category which allows travel to Cuba for collecting fine art.
Long story short: for clients of Havana VIP the proposed new Trump rules will cause little to no effect on their travel to Cuba.
At this point, the new rules proposed by Trump are only proposals. They have not yet been actually drafted as regulations, and so are not yet in effect. According to the Trump admin, new rules will be drafted within 90 days. As far as meeting the new proposed requirements for travel to Cuba, Havana VIP’s practices and itineraries already comply with the proposed requirements as we understand them to be.
Requirements for 100% Legal Independent Travel to Cuba:
1) We maintain full-time itineraries of activities pertinent to our clients’ reason for travel to Cuba.
2) Most of our clients reason for travel to Cuba is not under the “people-to-people” category, but rather under the “informational materials exchange” category which allows travel to Cuba for collectors of fine art.
3) We do not provide recreational time in excess of what is reasonably considered a full-time itinerary of activities.
4) We maintain full records for all expenditures made for our clients’ travel while in Cuba.
5) We do all of our business transactions with private small businesspeople in Cuba.
6) We do essentially no direct business with GAESA, the Cuban Military-owned conglomerate that is the main target of the proposed new Trump rules.
We certainly appreciate and share our clients concerns about these compliance matters, and we want you to rest assured that we at Havana VIP cut no corners when it comes to the letter of the law. We have engaged experienced counsel at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, one of the best law firms in Washington DC when it comes to OFAC compliance. They are reviewing our compliance with OFAC regulations, and will keep us on the straight and narrow.
We’re so confident that our services are 100% compliant with OFAC rules that we offer a 100% money-back guarantee: If you travel to Cuba with Havana VIP, and while in Cuba follow your itinerary closely, and do not violate any of our Terms & Conditions for Travel, Havana VIP will refund you 100% our fees in the unlikely event that you were to be fined by OFAC.
So, don’t put-off your travel to Cuba any longer. Contact us today to start arranging your 100% legal trip to Cuba – guaranteed.