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Travel to Cuba

Travel to Cuba

Important information: All UC Merced employees planning on travel to Cuba or other sanctioned countries for the purposes of University business should contact the Research Compliance & Integrity Office prior to travel. Please contact Deborah Motton (AVC for Research and Director of Research Compliance) dmotton@ucmerced.edu or 209-383-8655 as far in advance of the planned travel as possible.

Recent years have witnessed unprecedented changes in US-Cuba relations. Nevertheless, Cuba remains on the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions list. Changes to the Cuba sanctions program made on June 16, 2017 will be implemented via amendments to the regulations within the coming months.

Even though US citizens are still prohibited to go to Cuba to engage in tourist or recreational activities, it is possible for US persons to go to Cuba without prior permission (a license) from OFAC if the travel fits within the 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba under the General License, which remains in place. Traveling to Cuba remains possible for educational institutions (faculty, staff and students); cultural, historical and religious organizations; private foundations; amateur sport teams; and US professionals and residents interested in cultural people-to-people exchanges with the Cuban people under the auspices of the General License, which means without having to ask permission to OFAC first. 

U.S. academic and educational graduate or under graduate degree-granting institutions and their staff, faculty and students are authorized to travel to Cuba under the General License for Educational Activities. However, these activities are limited. Please contact the Research Compliance and Integrity Office to confirm if the travel conforms to the allowed Educational Activities.                                                           Participants in these programs should carry a letter on official school letterhead that has been signed by a designated representative of the sponsoring academic institution at all times when traveling to Cuba. OFAC defines a designated representative as the dean, academic vice president, provost, or president responsible for overseeing the institutions Cuban travel program.

For more information on the recent changes to the Cuba sanctions program please visit the Department of Treasury website.