Travelling to Cuba FAQs

Everything you need to know about travelling to Cuba – made simple.


You might have heard that travelling to Cuba is complicated – particularly for US citizens – but don’t let that put you off. With Flash Pack, it’s really not that hard! 

While there are a few hoops to jump through to meet the legal requirements, it really is less daunting than it sounds and definitely well worth the effort to spend time in this incredible Caribbean country. 

We’ve put together this information page to help you navigate the red tape, but if it still sounds confusing and you want someone to walk you through the process, our Travel Experts are just a phone call away and are always happy to help.

Don’t just take our word for it, hear what some of our US Flashpackers have to say about their recent experiences of travelling to Cuba. 

FAQs: Everything You Need To Know

Is it legal for Americans to visit Cuba?

Yes, absolutely. Due to US sanctions on Cuba, US law states that Americans aren’t allowed to travel to Cuba for tourism. However, there are 12 categories of travel that are perfectly legal. Most people choose the ‘Support for the Cuban People’ category.   

To qualify for this, you just need to be able to provide an itinerary that shows you will be following a ‘full-time schedule’ of approved activities that directly support private Cuban businesses and individuals. In other words, your Flash Pack itinerary (which uses local guides, guesthouses, restaurants and drivers).  

When you book a flight online, you’ll be asked to check a box certifying that your trip fits one of the 12 categories. Keep a copy of your itinerary handy in case anyone asks to check it. Simple!

Do I need a visa to travel to Cuba?

Most international travellers will need a visa – officially known as a Tourist Card (Tarjeta del Turista) or sometimes a ‘Cuban entry permit’. This is a small piece of paper with your basic travel information on it. You fill it in yourself with your name, travel dates, passport number, etc.

Be sure not to lose it – you’ll need it when you leave to return home.

If you’re flying to Cuba from a US airport (even if you’re not a US citizen or just transiting the US), you’ll need to get a pink visa.

Travellers arriving in Cuba from any other country (including US citizens) will need a green visa

For example: 

  • A British citizen flying to Cuba via Mexico = green visa
  • A British citizen flying to Cuba via the US = pink visa
  • A US citizen flying to Cuba via Mexico = green visa
  • A US citizen flying to Cuba direct from the US = pink visa
What’s the difference between a pink and green visa?

Pink visa denotes travel into Cuba from the USA, whereas a green visa denotes travel into Cuba from anywhere other than the USA.

Pink visas (50-110 USD) are more expensive than green visas (20-50 USD) because of the rocky relationship between the US and Cuba. Both visas are for single entry into Cuba and valid for 90 days. 


How do I get a Cuba visa?

In some cases, you may be able to buy the visitor permit/visa from your airline or from the departure airport. Check in advance whether your airline offers this service. 

However, we highly recommend getting your visa online before you travel. Not only does this allow you to skip the lines at the airport but it will give you peace of mind. Allow up to 30 days for your visa to be processed and sent to you.

For those travelling from the USA , please check if your airline includes visas in its fare. If not, you can buy your visa online ahead of time from

Other useful websites include:

What other documents will I need?

All travellers must complete the Certificate of Travel form on the D’Viajeros traveller information portal 48 hours before you arrive, which asks for immigration and health information. You’ll get a QR code to show to the authorities on arrival.

If you don’t speak Spanish, click on the top right hand ‘lenguaje’ tab for the dropdown language menu and choose Ingles/English which will translate the page for you. 

When you’re finished, make sure you view the pdf, print it out and keep it somewhere safe. It’s a good idea to take a photo of the QR code too, just in case.  

Why do I need to keep all my travel documents after I’ve returned home?

US government regulations require US travellers to keep documents from their trip to Cuba for five years after they travel. Keep hold of your Flash Pack itinerary, flight details and any receipts, photos or records from your trip. You’re very unlikely to have to show them, but rules are rules. 

Will my health insurance work when I travel to Cuba?

All visitors must have travel insurance for Cuba and you might be asked to show this to immigration officials on arrival. 

You’ll need to make sure your policy covers you for any unforeseen medical care, treatment and repatriation costs. Most medical facilities will require you to pay to cover the cost of your treatment, in full, before you leave the country.

Most insurance companies don’t have contracts with Cuba so if you have a medical emergency while in Cuba, your insurance company will ask you to pay in advance for treatment and you’ll get a refund once you return. 

Always double check the terms and conditions with your insurance provider. 

Will future travel be restricted if I have a Cuban stamp in my passport?

Don’t worry, your passport won’t actually be stamped when you travel to Cuba (unless you want it to be). Immigration officers will stamp your boarding pass and Cuba visa, which you must keep until you leave the country (or for five years if you are a US citizen).

Do I need an ESTA if travelling via the USA after coming back from Cuba?

If you’re flying via the USA after visiting Cuba you will not be able to transit using an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). To ensure a smooth return journey home, you’ll need to arrange a US visitor visa (B1/B2) from your local US embassy before travelling to Cuba.

Do you have a document checklist?

If you are travelling from or via the US, you will need: 

  • A passport valid for at least 6 months beyond your date of travel
  • A pink visa or ‘Tourist Card’ 
  • A copy of your Flash Pack itinerary 
  • Certification of Travel form (printed out)
  • Evidence of sufficient funds (bank statement)
  • Travel medical insurance (printed out)
  • Return travel documents (flight tickets)
  • US visitor visa (if transiting the US on your way home)

Check the latest requirements for US citizens travelling to Cuba on the U.S. Department of State International Travel Information website.


If you’re not travelling from or via the US, you will need: 

  • A passport valid for at least 6 months beyond your date of travel
  • A green visa or ‘Tourist Card’ 
  • Certification of Travel form (printed out)
  • Travel medical insurance (printed out)
  • Return travel documents (flight tickets)

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