Introduction By BillieBLVD
Like every other cigar loving American born in the latter part of the twentieth century I have been wanted to visit Cuba for a long time. The scales of good fortune are starting to tilt in my favor but before I make the trip there are some things we all should know. This is one of the best articles I have seen on the subject.
By Patrick Oppmann, CNN
1. How can Americans legally visit Cuba?
U.S. citizens need approval from the Treasury Department to spend money in Cuba. Since the end of the Eisenhower administration, most business transactions with Cuba are banned and punishable with hefty fines or even jail time. Cuba remains the only country in the world off-limits to U.S. tourists. That said, it's recently become much easier for Americans to legally visit the island just 90 miles off the coast of the U.S. for reasons other than tourism. In January 2015, President Barack Obama expanded the categories of authorized travel to Cuba.
U.S. citizens can legally travel to Cuba if they are engaging in 12 categories of activities such as professional research, participating in an athletic event, performing in a concert, working on a humanitarian project or taking part in educational activities.
Previously many of these activities required applying for a specific license and maneuvering a labyrinth of government bureaucracy. Now many U.S. citizens can essentially "self license" if they believe their travel to Cuba meets the legal requirements.
The new Cuba policy allows thousands more Americans -- but not everyone -- to visit Cuba for the first time. The Treasury Department has answered frequently asked questions about the relaxed policy online (pdf).