White House Announces Some Easing on Travel, Remittances to Cuba

Late on Jan. 14, the White House announced some easing on travel and remittances to Cuba.  In order to implement the changes, President Obama has directed the Secretaries of State, Treasury and Homeland Security to issue modified regulations in the Federal Register within two weeks.

The main changes in the regulations are:

  •          Purposeful Travel:  Allow religious, educational, cultural organizations to sponsor travel under certain conditions.
  • ·         Remittances:  Allow any U.S. person to send remittances (up to $500 per quarter) to non-family members in Cuba to support private economic activity.
  • ·         U.S. airports:  Allow all US international airports to apply to provide services to licensed charters to Cuba, provided that such airports have adequate customs and immigration capabilities and a licensed travel service provider has expressed an interest in providing services between that airport and Cuba.  Previously, charters have only been allowed to operate from Los Angeles, New York JFK and Miami.

This announcement does not affect the restrictions on travel to Cuba by other U.S. citizens (except those in the purposeful travel categories), does not eliminate the prohibition against tourism travel to Cuba, and does not affect the trade embargo.