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  Home >Export Controls
Travel to Cuba

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) administers the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) (a subset of the Foreign Assets Control Regulations), which have the effect of imposing a general ban on travel to Cuba.  U.S. persons may travel to Cuba only pursuant to (a) a general license established in the CACR, or (b) a specific license obtained from OFAC.

Personnel wishing to travel to Cuba must first consult the University’s Export Controls Officer and Designated Cuba Representative (ECO/DCR), Patrick Briscoe (612-625-3860, bris0022@umn.edu).  The ECO/DCR will either authorize reliance on a general license, or work with travelers in applying for a specific license.  If a specific license from OFAC is needed, the approval process can take as long as three months, so travelers are advised to contact the ECO/DCR as early as possible.

As with all international travel, faculty and staff planning to visit Cuba must also register through the University’s Travel Registry.

General License

The ECO/DCR will authorize reliance on a general license in the CACR in the following situations.

1.  Professional Research

Professionals are authorized to travel to Cuba to conduct research, provided—

  • the research directly relates to the traveler’s profession or area of expertise, including full-time graduate study;
  • the purpose of the trip is not tourism, recreation, or the pursuit of a hobby or personal interest; and
  • the traveler’s schedule does not include free time in excess of that consistent with a full-time research effort.

2.  Professional Meetings and Conferences

Similarly, professionals are authorized to attend conferences or meetings in Cuba, provided—

  • the purpose of the event is not the promotion of tourism in Cuba;
  • the purpose of the event is directly related to the traveler’s profession or area of expertise, including full-time graduate study;
  • the purpose of the trip is not tourism, recreation, or the pursuit of a hobby or personal interest; and
  • the traveler’s schedule does not include free time in excess of that consistent with full-time attendance at the relevant meeting or conference.

3.  Structured Educational Programs

University faculty, staff, and students are authorized to travel to Cuba to participate in a structured educational program as part of a course offered for credit by the University.

4.  Academic Research

University students are authorized to travel to Cuba to conduct noncommercial academic research that is—

  • specifically related to Cuba, and
  • being conducted in pursuit of an undergraduate or graduate degree.

5.  Study in Cuba

University students are authorized to travel to Cuba to participate in a formal course of study at a Cuban academic institution provided the course of study will be accepted for credit toward the student’s graduate or undergraduate degree from the University.

6.  Teaching in Cuba

Faculty members regularly employed in a teaching capacity by the University are authorized to travel to Cuba to teach in certain programs at a Cuban academic institution.

7.  Sponsoring Events in Cuba

The University may sponsor or co-sponsor noncommercial academic seminars, conferences, and workshops related to Cuba or global issues involving Cuba.  Faculty, staff, and students are authorized to travel to Cuba to participate in such events.

8.  Academic Exchanges and Research Projects

Activities relating to the creation and operation of academic exchanges and research projects are authorized.

9.  Standardized Testing

The University may provide standardized testing services—including entrance and professional exams—to Cuban persons.

10.  Online Courses

Online teaching, including Massive Open Online Courses, may be made available to students in Cuba.

11.  Organizing Trips

Faculty and staff may travel to Cuba to organize and prepare for the educational activities described in sections 3 through 10 above.

Specific License

For travel to Cuba not qualifying for a general license, the ECO/DCR will work with travelers in applying for a specific license from OFAC.  Whether a specific license will be approved depends on the current state of U.S. Government policy, which may change over time, and which the ECO/DCR can explain.  One thing that rarely changes, however, is the length of time it takes to obtain a specific license.  This process can range from one to three months.  Accordingly, travelers should consult the ECO/DCR as early as possible.

Visiting Cuban Scholars

In certain cases, Cuban scholars may teach or engage in other academic activities at the University if sponsored by a University College or Department.  Before engaging a Cuban scholar, consult the ECO/DCR to discuss the requirements.

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