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Cuba is without doubt one of the most vibrant locations within the Caribbean. You may go to take in the historical past, or spend your days lounging on the seashore then salsa dancing the night time away, all with a mojito or two in hand. The UK locations no restrictions on coming into Cuba — and it’s simple sufficient to get to as a vacationer. Nevertheless, you could expertise points moving into the US after you go to, even on transit — except you’re travelling beneath a visa as an alternative of the standard Esta. Right here’s what you must know earlier than reserving a Cuba or US journey.

Important photograph: travellers at Chicago’s O’Hare Worldwide Airport (Alamy)

What’s the background?

The frosty relationship between Cuba and the US is lengthy and complex however could be traced again to 1959, when Fidel Castro got here to energy. By establishing the nation as a socialist state, strengthening its ties with the Soviet Union, and introducing tariffs towards US imports, Castro distanced Cuba from the US. Within the context of the Chilly Battle, these actions in the end led to a commerce embargo being imposed on the nation by President Kennedy — one which’s remained in place since. 

Relations thawed considerably beneath President Obama, with cruise ships and common flights restarting between the 2 nations. US travellers have been additionally capable of go to the Caribbean island for tourism functions for the primary time. However beneath President Trump, the US coverage towards Cuba was reversed, that means the ban on journey to Cuba for tourism functions was reinstated. Whereas President Biden has but to formally abandon the sanctions towards Cuba, strikes have been made to ease journey between the 2 nations in sure circumstances.

Entry to the US will be affected if you visit there after visiting Cuba
The Church and Monastery of Saint Francis in Trinidad, Cuba (Getty Pictures)

I’ve been to Cuba, am I barred from the US?

The UK doesn’t have any sanctions towards Cuba however British passport holders are nonetheless affected by US coverage in the event that they need to journey there after visiting Cuba. It’s because Cuba is at present on the US’s State Sponsors of Terrorism list. And beneath the terms of the Esta (Digital System for Journey Authorization), you can not enter the US utilizing an current Esta when you’ve beforehand visited a rustic on this record, or apply for a brand new Esta once more. This ban contains for transit, the place you’re flying onto one other nation.

You’re not barred from coming into the US altogether. However as an alternative of a $21 Esta, you’ll have to use for a visa by way of the US embassy, which is able to value you a hefty £141. 

Might different nations trigger issues for visiting the US?

There are at present three different nations on the State Sponsors of Terrorism record: North Korea, Iran and Syria. In the event you’ve visited any of those nations up to now, you’ll want to use for a vacationer visa to enter the US. 

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