Pilots can still fly themselves to Cuba under new regulations that went into effect Nov. 9; however, nonacademic educational travel “must be conducted under the auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction and that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact,” according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Previously, individuals could organize their own travel to the country.
The regulatory changes stem from President Donald Trump’s National Security Presidential Memorandum issued in June.
Travelers still cannot visit Cuba for tourist reasons. Visits must fall into one of 12 approved travel categories: “family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions.”
In addition, those traveling for nonacademic educational purposes “must be accompanied by a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction who is a representative of the sponsoring organization.”
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has also restricted financial transactions at businesses on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List.
While travel to Cuba via general aviation is still permissible, AOPA reminds pilots that it is now more important than ever to seek the advice of providers that are approved to provide these services by the U.S. government.
Among the approved providers to coordinate travel to the country is Cuba Handling. The company offers an analysis of the updated travel regulations on its website; pilots interested can sign up for the information, as well as a fact sheet about flying to Cuba.