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Cuba visa for Indians

Cuba visa information for Indians (and anyone else)

The visa for Cuba is rather controversial since there isn’t much information about it on the internet. So here’s my attempt at dispelling all doubts regarding entry requirements into Cuba for Indians.

We travelled to Cuba in January 2012. Since we flew in from Mexico, we were able to purchase what they call a tourist card. This costed us 250 Mexican Pesos (approximately USD 20). The tourist card is available to anyone regardless of nationality. You simply buy it, fill in your details and you’re ready to arrive in Cuba. Present it at immigration in Cuba and they’ll let you in with a stamp on it. You need to keep this card with you until you leave Cuba.

 

The tourist card acts as your visa for Cuba.

 

You can also purchase the tourist card on board most flights to Cuba. If you’re flying in from another location, make sure you confirm with the airline that they do indeed have the cards available.

If not, you can also purchase them just before immigration when you arrive at Havana airport.

Just be careful to not make any mistakes while filling in your card. If you make an error, you will need to purchase a new card.

So there you have it. No prior visa is required for Indians (or anyone else) traveling to Cuba. All you need is your passport, USD 20, and the spirit to enjoy a country that is truly unique in this day and age of globalization!

 

Note: You will have to pay a 25 CUC (25 USD) departure tax when you leave Cuba. Everyone has to pay this at the airport, there are ATMs and currency exchange Cadeca’s at the airport – the counter does not accept cards though.

 

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53 Comments

  • Andrew Butchers Says

    It is not possible to buy the tourist card on most flights. Most airlines do not allow you to board without a tourist card.

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Andrew. Most flights leaving from latin america will sell you a tourist card. Also, like I mentioned in the above post, you can actually buy it at the airport in Havana when you arrive. You just need to convince the airline of this little detail ;) I’m sure it can be done as they can call Havana airport and confirm in the worst case scenario. You just have to be confident of the info you have, and my info is 100% accurate at the time of writing.

      • Qinghui Ji Says

        Hi Ashray,
        Thank you for the information. I have a Chinese passport, live in San Francisco (not a us resident). Do you mean I have to go to Mexico CIty/other cities in Mexico to get a tourist card for Cuba? I don’t really mind and if that’s the only option.

        And do they sell in the airport? or on the plane?

        Thanks again for helping..
        Q

        • Ashray Says

          Hi Qinghui

          They actually do sell the tourist card on arrival in Havana airport (the counters are right before immigration). The only issue is convincing your airline that you’ll buy one when you get there. (some airlines are very picky about things like this..).

          Since you’re in the US, you can’t actually fly directly to Cuba. This means you’ll either go through Canada or Mexico. Wherever you go through – you should be able to buy the card at the airport failing which you can always buy it when you arrive at Havana airport. I don’t think they sell cards in-flight but it’s definitely a possibility – usually they’ll sell it to you at the check-in counter at the airport of your departure.

          Hope this helps! Enjoy your travels in Cuba!

          • QInghui Ji Says

            Hi Ashray,

            Thank you for the reply. So you mean no need to apply for visa in advance? What is said on the Cuban Embassy website is totally useless. I emailed them also and they replied with a form and instruction in spanish that I need to fill out…

            If I buy my tickets online, I don’t think they check whether I have a visa or not so it should be fine.

            Again thanks for helping.
            Q

          • Ashray Says

            I’m quite sure that nobody (regardless of nationality) needs to apply for a visa in advance as long as you buy the tourist card.

            Also, it’s not when you buy your tickets that the airlines hassle you. It’s at the check-in counter that they usually check your documents. However, if you’re flying through Canada or Mexico, they will sell you the tourist card right there.

            As a Chinese national, I think you’re also exempt from the departure tax in Cuba – not totally sure about that though.

          • vasukiraj Says

            hi am vasu am from bangalore india .. am planning to visit cuba in a couple of days .. where can i buy a teavel card from in india .. do i hv to go and gv a personal interview in the embassy ??

          • Ashray Says

            Hi Vasu

            How are you going to travel to Cuba ? If you’re flying via UK, Canada, or Mexico, you can buy the card there before you board your flight to Cuba. Alternately, you can also buy it at immigration when you arrive in Havana. Hope this helps!

        • Mohamed Says

          What’s it like? I have spent a grand total of 4 weeks in Cuba. 2 one week and atnoher 2 weeks atnoher time. I lived like a native not a tourist.Cuba is a very poor country. It looks unkepted. Most homes look like they are falling apart. There is nothing to buy in the stores. The cars look like wrecks. The sidewalks are busted up. And everyone wears jeans.Life is dreary in Cuba. The place shutsdown at night. There is nothing to do. Entertainment on TV is poor. About the only thing to look forward to in Cuba is rerun of old American TV shows or movies.There are no commercial ads anywhere. Not on the streets or TV or radio. You go place to place and the only ads you do see are political slogans. There is no commercialism. No McDonalds or Burger Kings or Starbucks.Many women try to score with foriegn men in the hope that they can marry their way ou of Cuba. And many men try their best to sell tourist something like cigars.Cuba reminds me of Haiti. I have been in Haiti and you see the same desperation.

          • Knanaya Says

            The question isn’t eenlrtiy clear. Personal safety risks are insignificant as Cuba is one of the safest countries in the region. Risks associated to the U.S. legislation on Cuba (assuming you are a citizen or a legal permanent resident) would apply only insofar as you are caught violating the Helms-Burton Act, which doesn’t explicitly prohibit travel to Cuba, but prohibits any commercial transactions (including basic purchases while in Cuba) without the expressed consent by the OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) in Miami.The chance of being denied entry into Cuba by Cuban authorities are nil, provided that you have a valid travel document, that you fill out a tourist card, and that you don’t carry prescribed substances or pose a threat to Cuban security.

      • Prathima Reddy Says

        Hi Ashray

        Thank you for your helpful post. I am an Indian passport holder planning to travel to Cuba from the UK. Do any of the airlines give out tourist cards.

        many thanks

        • Andrew Butchers Says

          Prathima – Thomas Cook and other tour operators include the tourist card in their prices. Scheduled airlines, I hear that Virgin sell them close to check-in. Otherwise you need to buy the tourist card in advance – from the Cuban consulate, or there is an online agency in the UK.

  • Andrew Butchers Says

    As Ashray says, if travelling to Cuba as a tourist, you just need the tourist card which can be bought at most gateway airports in Latin America (or gets given out on the planes from Canada) – it is more complicated if coming from Europe.

  • CuriousKS Says

    My situation is a little different. I am currently in the process of getting my GC and am planning to go to Cuba next month. Will this affect my process of getting my GC? Will they decline it because I went to Cuba? And if the answer is, how will they know that I went to Cuba since I won’t have a Cuban stamp on my passport, then my question would be that there would be two entry stamps on my passport, how would I explain the second stamp to them? Especially since I’m pretty sure they’ll keenly look through my passport since I’m brown and not a US Citizen. I really want to go, but I’ve been getting very contradictory answers during my research.

    • Ashray Says

      I think you’re being super paranoid. First of all, I believe the US embargo on citizens/residents traveling to Cuba was partially lifted earlier this year. However, I’m not an expert on US law by any measure so do please google this info.

      Where are you entering Cuba from ? Mexico for example does not stamp your passport on exit. So if you go through Mexico, there’s no evidence of when you left the country. The airline takes your entry slip and that serves as proof that you’ve left. There’s no evidence of when.

      Also, the likelihood of a US immigration officer noticing that you have two entry stamps is extremely low. Especially if those stamps are of a 3rd country. Different countries have different rules regarding stamping your passport and these are not standardized across the world. However, your story should be believable.

      Besides, back to the main point. Why would you get into any trouble if it’s not illegal for you to travel to Cuba (do the restrictions apply to US citizens or US residents as well ?) ? :)

      • CuriousKS Says

        “I think you’re being super paranoid. First…”
        Yes, I’ve done research on the embargo being partially lifted. It is still a difficult process, you need to get a license, costs more money, and there are way too many restrictions of what you can and cannot do. I do not believe it is worth the effort and money to get a license to travel to Cuba and then have restrictions to top it off. Don’t you? I mean IT IS a vacation. I am not traveling there with an agenda or for work.

        “Where are you entering Cuba from ? Mexico…”
        I am entering Cuba from Mexico.

        “Also, the likelihood of a US immigration officer noticing…”
        Your answer relieves me a bit. I pretty much have my entire life here in US – everyone who I love is here, so loosing my GC would be the end of my life (not really, but… you know what I mean :).

        “Besides, back to the main point. Why would…”
        The restriction apparently applies to everyone who is subject to US jurisdiction which includes all the residents of United States – Citizens, Permanent Residents, US Immigrants, Nonimmigrant aliens, etc.

        Thank You Ashray for your help and answering my questions :) Do let me know if you have any other tips.

        • Andrew Butchers Says

          CuriousK – I don’t know what a GC is, but also you don’t say what is your current status.

          • CuriousKS Says

            GC = Green card. I’m not sure what you mean when you “don’t say what is your current status”? You mean don’t talk about it to the immigration officers?

      • rambo Says

        hi,im from iraq and i wand to visit cuba with iraqi passport,so there is o cuba embassy in iraq,,, wat should i do? do i need visa to get cuba? thanks

  • Andrew Butchers Says

    Sorry – of course !

    No – I mean are you in the US on a visa already ? If so, then depending on what visa, travel to Cuba might be prohibited. If not, then I can’t see what concern they could have of what you did before.

    I have no idea if they examine your passport in any detail. You really need to find others who have gone through that process.

  • CuriousKS Says

    I thought so, but just making sure.

    I used to be on a visa, but currently I am on EAD, which makes it legal for me to live and work in US until they approve my GC. Which is what makes it hard for me to research about traveling to Cuba under my category. I practically don’t have a status in US but… I do, if that makes any sense? I am neither living in US on visa nor as a permanent resident/citizen, its a grey area. But like I said in reply to Ashray’s message – Any US resident, regardless of their status is restricted to travel to Cuba since they are all subject to US jurisdiction. This is the reason why I am just a tad bit afraid of going to Cuba.

    I’ve read quiet a few posts where they say it can possibly affect the outcome of your residency, but they doubt that it actually affects the results. Here’s an article about a nonimmigrant – visa status (not the same category as me, but I think it might work): http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2251675.

  • Erwin Says

    Thanks for sharing, Ashray, this post is very helpful.
    I’m still a little paranoid about the airlines being okay with this. I’m an Indian citizen in the US on a visa. If I want to fly to Cuba through Mexico, should I first obtain a Mexican visa? In general, I do need a visa to visit Mexico and have obtained one in the past. Do I need one in this case, too? Will the airlines check me in at San Francisco airport if I don’t have a Mexican visa? Thanks!

    • Ashray Says

      If you have a US visa you DO NOT need a visa for Mexico, in general. I don’t know when you last visited Mexico but visa free travel for Indians with US Visas has been in place for a couple of years now. This is clearly stated on the Mexico Embassy website. http://embamex.sre.gob.mx/india/index.php/en/consular-section/visas (this regulation also applies to tourist visas meaning if you have any class of US visa, you can enter Mexico without a visa).

      So in summary, you do not need a Mexico or Cuba visa in advance. Just go and have fun :)

  • ankita Says

    i am indianpassport holder residing in india… so what should i do to get my tourist visa for cuba???

    • Zara Says

      Ankita,
      The answer is in the post!
      If you have any specific questions that we could help with, let us know!

  • shipra Says

    Hi!
    I’m travelling to Cuba from India soon but then I plan to go to the US a few days after I return from Cuba. I have two questions:

    1. http://www.cubadiplomatica.cu/india/EN/Mission/ConsularSectioninIndia.aspx
    On that page it says The tourist card is not valid to travel to Cuba from India for any nations.
    So I guess we need Visas now?

    2. Will that be a problem when I travel to the US in a few days…i mean having a cuban visa stamped in my passport.

    I hope somebody knows! :)

    • Ashray Says

      Hi shipra

      That website does say some really strange stuff. I personally used a tourist card to enter Cuba and it was fine. However, maybe the difference was that I was flying in from Mexico ?

      I don’t see how the validity of the tourist card changes based on where you are arriving from. However, what is your route to Cuba ? Are you flying in through Mexico or Canada or where ?

      Also, they don’t stamp your passport in Cuba if you ask them not to so it won’t be a problem in the US. Besides, the US is now working on improving relations with Cuba so I highly doubt that your visit to Cuba will be an issue.

  • chhatwal daljit singh Says

    hello sir my name is chhatwal daljit singh i am from india and i am having indian passport.i want to go to cuba as a tourist and want to tell you that the immigration officers here in india do not allow the people to board flight to havana without having visa in your hand. can you give some advice so that i can travel cuba peacefully and can enjoy my trip.

    • Ashray Says

      Hi

      How are you flying to Havana ? It is true that you can buy the tourist card in Havana on arrival. However, I don’t think there is any direct flight from anywhere in India to Havana. You can apply for a Cuba visa in advance at the Cuban embassy in New Delhi. The procedure seems to be pretty straightforward, you just need to provide your passport, return ticket, and the fees: http://www.cubadiplomatica.cu/india/EN/ConsularServices.aspx#TouristCard

      However, if you are flying to Cuba from Mexico or another country (France) then you should simply present your credentials until there at Indian immigration and then buy the tourist card before you fly to Havana or right when you enter Havana.

  • Sushil Subramanian Says

    I am a graduate (PhD.) student and an Indian national (with an Indian passport) in the United States and have visited Mexico before without any problems (without requiring a visa, as I have a US visa). I really want to visit Cuba some time in the winter vacations. I was wondering if I’d have any problems re-entering the US given my graduate student status?

    • Ashray Says

      Cuba doesn’t stamp your passport when you enter so there really isn’t any way for US immigration to know whether you necessarily visited Cuba or not.

      You could fly from the US to Mexico and then fly to Cuba. Then, when you’re done in Cuba, you can fly to a 3rd country – say Guatemala before you fly to the US. Mexico does not stamp passports on exit and Cuba does not stamp at all so it will look like you went to Mexico, then to Guatemala (make sure you enter and spend a day or two there..), before you returned to the US. If US immigration asks you where you went, it’s simple – Mexico and Guatemala.

      Apart from that, you’re better off asking this question to the appropriate legal authorities in the US. I’ve been to Cuba and been to the US post that but as I am not resident in the US, I wasn’t asked any questions about where else I might have been in the world. I doubt that they would ask you similar questions and last year the embargo against travel to Cuba was partially lifted. Again, you should check with the relevant immigration authorities in the US, it shouldn’t be a problem though, you can fly to Cuba via Mexico for a smooth trip. (Interjet has cheap flights..)

  • Jaideep Says

    I am and Indian, residing in Spain (Not Permanent) with a valid residency card and wish to travel to Cuba. Now as you stated that you can buy the travel card, please advise me where can I buy this travel card in Spain. Do you get this travel card at the Airport. Secondly I hold a valid visa of 10 Years for US. Does that mean I do not require Visa for travelling to Mexico ? Thanks in advance for your reply.

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Jaideep

      You can buy the travel card from the airline if your flight is direct to Cuba. The card is also available upon arrival right before immigration.

      And yes, you can enter Mexico with a valid US visa. (any class)

  • Ar.ghodmanan Says

    Iam an iranian pasport holder how to get post card or visa.

  • Mehul Says

    Hello Ashray, I am an Indian want to visit Cuba Travelling from India. Do I need to apply for Visa In India or I can just buy Tickets and get the Tourist Card in Flight or on arrival at Havana Airport. Please Suggest
    Thanks

    • Ashray Says

      Mehul, it all depends on where you are flying through. Since there are no flights direct from India I can only assume you are either flying through Mexico/France/Canada/London/etc.

      Most of these transit points have the tourist card available prior to boarding. You can also buy the tourist card upon arrival as I have outlined in my post, however, most airlines use the timaticweb system for visa info and the system gives incorrect information saying that you must have the tourist card prior to boarding.

      Unfortunately, it’s one of those situations where you just have to explain yourself to the airline staff. Depending on your transit point, you can either buy a tourist card before boarding or encounter airline personnel who are well informed. Worst case scenario you buy it on arrival but the airline might not let you board in this situation. :(

  • Bharti Says

    Uhmmm hey its me I’m back again. The link you on the Cuban visa for Indians : http://www.cubadiplomatica.cu/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=52kAMSgavzE%3D&tabid=20393 . No.7 expressly specifies that the tourist card is not for Indians and one shall have to take a visa in advance.

    Would be glad to have some advise on this, if possible.

    Thanks,
    Bharti

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Bharti

      Thanks for your kind comments. If you read carefully, it says that the tourist card isn’t valid for travel from India. It does not say that it’s not valid for Indian nationals. So, if you’re going through France or Mexico – you should be able to buy a tourist card before boarding your flight.

      Where are you flying to Cuba from ? I flew into Cuba from Mexico and bought the tourist card at the check-in counter (flew via Interjet) in Mexico City. There was no issue, but this was back in 2011. You could call the airline and ask if they sell it at boarding/check-in locations.

  • mohammad arif rehman Says

    i want to visit cuba as a tourist… please let me know.. how can i go to the cuba. and suggest some airlines which gives that tourist card..which you talking about.. and as u said.. there is no such direct flights to the cuba.. in that case how will i manage my journey… please do reply.. as soon as possible..

    • Ashray Says

      Hi Mohammed,

      Where are you flying from ?

      You can connect via Canada, France, UK, or Mexico. As far as I know, most of these countries sell tourist cards on departure (at the check-in counters).

  • Pingback: Guide to Cuba Visas for Indians (and others!) | Visa & Travel Experiences of an Indian

  • Parikshit Says

    Hi guys!
    I don’t speak a Spanish word__going to be a problemo? The prices sound amazing ($20 to get in, $25 to get out). I was wondering how much to have on my purse, say, for a month of minmalistic stay.

    • Zara Says

      Hi Parikshit!

      Spanish would be useful, of course.. but many other travelers don’t speak Spanish either and they survive just fine, so don’t worry too much!

      Have a lot at this post about prices in Cuba:
      http://bkpk.me/what-money-can-buy-in-havana-cuba/

      Accommodation in homestays (the most basic form of lodging you’ll find) tends to be between USD20 – USD25 a day (sometimes with breakfast, sometimes without) – these prices are actually government regulated. Meals can cost between USD1 in local joints to USD10 in regular touristic places. This should give you a general idea!

      Have a great trip and… buen viaje! ;)

  • Mandeep Says

    hi guys – m Indian citizen , living in USA …i leanrned from the previous comments that if i have to go cuba , i will need to go through Mexico or canada … can somebody share what can be other threats ,precautions as far as nationality is concerned . how about expences and personal security …. any good advices will be greatly appreciated ,

    thanks ,
    mandy

  • Harry Says

    Hi ASHRAY
    i m indian student in canada and i wish to go cuba and what i have to do?
    plz can you suggest me. I will be very thankful to u.

  • Andre Souza Says

    Hi Guys… I am an Indian Passport holder and I have a 10 year B1B2 visa and I will be in Florida between 15th and 30th July 2014… Can I get a visa for Cuba from the US? Or a even better travel card?… Will be very grateful for correct information…
    Thanks so much
    Andre

    • Ashray Says

      I don’t think you can get the Cuba card from the US as there are still travel restrictions in place. How are you planning to go to Cuba from the US ? Normally you can’t. You have to go through Mexico. You can get the card at the airport in Mexico. Enjoy your trip :)

  • Pratibha Says

    Hello! Thank you for your post. However I just wanted to know if there was any updated info regarding the cuban visa? I am hoping to do a spur of the moment trip. But called my travel agent who gave me conflicting info and said I need to apply for visa etc and need forms attested etc. I am going to nyc and was hoping to travel via cancun. I understand from your post that one can buy a tourist card there. Is this regardless of nationality? Has anyone you know traveled recently? For eg this year itself to give some updated info? On one hand I dont want to risk landing up all the way to cancun only to be refused. Any updated info will be appreciated. Many thanks x

  • bikram Says

    Hi
    Your website and comment are really helpful. I am an India citizen , working in USA and planning to go to Cuba via Toronto. However i have a specific question. As I am planning to flyout from totonto via Air Canada. Do AirCanada sells the Cuban tourist card. Will i have any issues getting through the security at the airport as i wont have any Cuban visa.

    Thanks

  • Trupti Says

    Hi,

    I have been thinking of visiting Cuba with my husband. We are Indian citizens, born and brought up in India. We wanted to visit Cuba for couple of weeks. How do we go about obtaining a Cuban tourist visa?

    I appreciate your time and help on this matter.

    Thanks

  • Hi Ashray – excellent & highly useful post. Keep ‘em coming!

    • Ashray Says

      Thanks! I hope your PCC stuff got sorted. Being without a passport is probably my worst nightmare!

      I’ve been following your blog since before you abandoned it and re-started it =)

  • Niti Says

    Hi- im considering flying to cuba in the near future. I live in the states, but have an indian passport with a permanent residency card. Can I fly to Cuba just as easily from Miami and purchase the card there?

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