For a while now I have wanted to go back to Cuba (I had been to Guantanamo Bay) but I wanted to see the “real Cuba”. I wanted to know the people, the food, the culture – to know her past and her future.
I heard that Jet Blue would be flying direct to Cuba so I called to inquire about a ticket. I was told that I needed a license from the US Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control. I got online and found the site to apply for a license for travel to Cuba. There are 12 categories in which your reason to travel must fall. These are the reasons:
1. Family visits
2. Official US Govt. business
3. Journalistic activity
4. Professional Research & Meetings
5. Educational activities
6. Religious activities
7. Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletics, competitions and exhibitions
8. Support for the Cuban people
9. Humanitarian projects
10. Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
11. Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials
12. Certain export transactions under authorization of Dept of Commerce
As a travel writer, I applied under section 4 (research for my travel writing). I was informed it could take up to 2 months to process my application. 28 days later I received a letter from the Department of the Treasury stating that since my reason for travel falls within the scope of one of the provisions – I was clear to travel!
Step 1 accomplished!
Stay tuned for more details…