All travelers need a visa for Cuba. Some can get it online, others can’t.
The Cuba Tourist Card or – in Spanish – Tarjeta de Viaje, is commonly referred to as the Cuban visa (though the actual visa is a different thing). This is fairly easy to get. What you need to keep in mind when applying for one is your nationality.
Travelers coming from North America (Canada and Mexico), New Zealand, countries of the European Union or the United Kingdom and other countries in the world need to get a green card.
The Cuba visa for people flying from the United States is different: indeed, people flying directly from the US need a pink card.
The color of your Cuban visa is not based on your nationality. What matters if which country you are traveling from. So, if you are a British national but you are flying from or through the US (ie London-Miami-Havana), you will need a pink card. If you are a US national and are flying from Canada (ie Denver-Toronto-Havana), you will need a green card.
Yes, Americans can actually travel to Cuba; it is a bit more complicated than for EU nationals, but doable.
Continue reading to learn if you need a visa for Cuba and which steps to follow to get. I will also explain the steps to get a Cuban visa for Americans.
Do You Need A Visa For Cuba?
Chances are that you will need a Cuba Tourist Card – only nationals from a handful of countries don’t need to have it.
COUNTRIES WHOSE NATIONALS DON’T NEED A VISA: Antigua and BarbudaBarbados, Belarus, Benin, Bosnia, China, Dominica, Grenada, Macedonia, Malaysia, Montenegro, Mongolia, Namibia, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Serbia, Singapore, and Vietnam.
COUNTRIES WHOSE NATIONALS CAN GET A CUBA VISA ONLINE: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Vatican City.
Nationals of countries that aren’t mentioned above need a Cuba tourist card, but can’t get in online – they will have to get it at the nearest Cuban embassy or consulate.
What Documents Do You Need To Get Your Cuban Visa?
In order to enter Cuba, you will need to have the following documents:
- A passport with at least six months of validity after the arrival date in Cuba.
- A round trip air ticket.
- Proof of sufficient funds for your trip.
- A good travel insurance valid for the duration of your time in Cuba.
- Accommodation reservation.
Step By Step Instructions To Get Your Visa For Cuba
You can get your visa for Cuba in 7 very easy steps.
Buy your flights
You will be required proof of arrival to and departure date from Cuba, so you need to buy your flights in order to get your Cuba Tourist Card. This is a standard requirements for all travelers to Cuba.
As of June 2019, cruise ships departing from the US can no longer go to Cuba.
Buy your travel insurance
This is a standard requirement for anybody traveling to Cuba. Your insurance has to cover for medical evacuation by air, repatriation and any medical emergency.
Book your accommodation
You need to show hotel bookings or, even better, private accommodation bookings. If you prefer to stay in private accommodation (casas particulares) make sure to always get licensed ones which can be recognized by the blue logo usually placed on their front door or right by it. The best site to book accommodation in Cuba is Airbnb.
Select which card you need
The first thing you need to do is going on Easy Tourist Card here and select whether you need a green card or a pink card. As I have said before, the color of your Cuba Tourist Card is solely based on where you are flying from and not on your nationality.
If you are flying from the US, you need a pink card.
If you are flying from anywhere outside the US, you need a green card.
Fill in the form
You will be prompted to fill in the form with all the information needed to process your Cuban visa:
- number of visas required
- First and last name of the applicant(s)
- Shipping address
You can pay for your Cuba Tourist Card with your credit card or via Paypal. Once payment is received, it takes a business day to process the visa, so 95% of the visas are delivered within a week from the date of applications.
Easy Tourist Card only uses tracked-shipping providers to make sure your visa is delivered anywhere in the world within 3 business days. You can check the status of your application on Easy Tourist Card contact page here.
The flat fee delivery rate is $31,19 USD USD for delivery. Cards are delivered between 1 and 3 business days.
Fill in your visa
As soon as you get your card, make sure to fill it out completely and write legibly.
Remember that you need to keep your Cuba Tourist Card with you at all times.
Important Information About The Cuban Visa For Americans
If you are an American traveling to Cuba, the procedure to get your visa may be slightly different. Here are the steps you need to follow.
Determine which kind of visa you need
If you are going to Cuba for strictly tourist purposes, and you are flying directly from the United States, you may qualify for the pink card.
If you are flying from outside the US, you will need to apply for a green card.
If you are going to Cuba to visit family or friends, for business purposes or for a course, you will probably need a full visa. You can check the website of the Cuban Embassy for more information on what kind of visas are available.
Remember that your nationality has nothing to do with which kind of visa for Cuba you need. What matters is the location your are flying from.
Buy your Cuban Tourist Card
If you are traveling from the US, you can buy your visa for Cuba in three different ways.
From an official site
This is the easiest way to obtain your visa, especially if you like planning everything in advance. You can get your pink card from sites such as Easy Tourist Card and have it delivered to your address via DHL.
From the airline (at the airport or online)
Airlines flying from the US to Cuba normally sell visas. You should be able to get yours from the airline either on the plane or at the airport, but sometimes this is not the case: different airlines have different rules, and you’ll have to check with them to see what they are.
Keep in mind that if you don’t have a Cuba Tourist Card and the airline is unable to sell you one, you will not be allowed to board. Save yourself the hassle and get your pink card online.
This is a list of all airlines that fly to Cuba from the United States. Please double check with them to make sure that their policies haven’t changed and to make sure what their prices are for the visa.
From any Cuban embassy in the United States
You can contact the Cuban embassy nearer to you and get your visa directly from them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cost of a visa for Cuba?
All Green Cards cost $40.70. To this, you will have to add a flat delivery rate of $31.19 USD for delivery within 3 business days, and the VAT, which is $15.72 – so the total amounts to $90.58 USD.
Pink Cards, which is for people traveling from a US airport, cost $111.05 USD and have a flat rate for shipping of $31.19 USD, for delivery within 3 business days, plus the VAT, which is $29.97 – so the total is $172.11.
How long does it take to receive the tourist card?
Cuba tourist cards are sent by DHL. You should get yours within a week of purchasing.
Will I have to print information on the visa?
Yes, but we will tell you how to do so.
We are traveling in a group. Do we have to order the visa separately?
You can make just one order, so that you’ll only pay one shipping charge. The tourist cards will be delivered to the address used to place the order.
Do minor children need separate visas?
Yes, regardless of the fact that they may be registered on their parents’ passports.
How long does the processing take?
Easy Tourist Card normally takes a business day to process the visa. Your visa is usually delivered within a week.
How long is the Cuba Tourist Card valid for?
The Cuban visa is valid for 180 from the day of purchase – which means you have six months from the day you buy it to actually get to the country.
How many entries does the visa allow?
Once you get your Cuba Tourist Card, you are allowed one single entry in the country.
How long can I stay in the country?
30 days from the date you get there, unless you are Canadian, in which case you can stay for up to 90 days.
Can I extend the visa?
You can extend your Cuba tourist card at a local immigration office for an extra 30 days while you are in Cuba (Canadians can extend for 90 days). In order to do so, you will be asked to show your passport with at least six months validity from the date of your arrival in the country; your current Cuban visa; a receipt of payment from the casa particular or hotel where you are staying; the credit or debit card used to purchase travel insurance; a valid travel insurance for the extended duration of your stay; and stamps to pay for the extended visa.
Your Cuban visa will be stamped on arrival in the country.
I am traveling from the USA. Which card do I need?
If you are flying to Cuba directly from the USA, you will have to get the pink card. If you have a layover in another country, you will have to get the green card.
Are the Cuban Visa and the Cuba Tourist Card the same thing?
No. Only nationals of some African and Middle Eastern countries need a Cuban visa. If you are coming from North America, New Zealand or Europe, you will need a Cuba Tourist Card. However, the Cuba Tourist Card is often referred to as Cuban visa.
What kind of things can you do if you travel on a Cuban Tourist Card?
You can only visit the country for tourism purposes.
How long in advance should I apply for a Cuba Tourist Card?
You visa for Cuba will be valid for 180 days from the time of purchase. This means that you should travel to Cuba within 6 months of buying it.
How many times can I apply for the Cuba Tourist Card?
As often as you want. Each visa allows you to stay for up to 30 days.
You can see a detailed map of which countries require a tourist card or a Cuban visa, and for how long the visa-free countries citizens can stay in Cuba here.
Make sure to read my other posts about Cuba:
- The Most Fantastic Things To In Do Cuba: The Ultimate Guide
- The 31 Best Beaches In Cuba
- Trinidad, Cuba: The Most Complete Guide
- The 7 Best Places To Go Hiking In Cuba
- The Most Delicious Cuban Food: 35 Mouthwatering Cuban Dishes
- Why did I not meet the lovely, friendly Cubans everyone talks about?
- A Great Guide To The Things To Do In Havana
- 10 Fabulous Day Trips From Havana
- The Worst Scams In Cuba
- A Great Guide To Viñales
- A Great Guide To Baracoa
- A Great Guide To Cienfuegos
- A Short Guide To Camaguey