Cuba travel is a pleasant and exciting experience. Because you haven’t visited the country yet, you might not be able to relate. However, there are roughly 12 different Cuba visa types, giving you a wide range of options.
Learning about the various Cuban visa kinds should be at the top of your list of things to include in your travel planning.
You don’t need to go elsewhere because this article goes into more detail. This page covers the many Cuban visa categories, the necessary qualifications, and the simplest procedures for a straightforward application process. Keep reading! You’ll learn stuff about Cuba visas that you didn’t know.
In this article
- What is the Cuba visa?
- Types of Cuba visa
- #1. Tourist visa (A1)
- #2. Visa for family visits (A2)
- #3. Transit/Transfer visa (A3/A4)
- #4. Visa for Crew Members (A5)
- #5. Visa for events, business, and services (A6/A7)
- #6. Visa for technicians, scientists, and students (D1/D2)
- #7. Visa for artists and athletes (D3/D4).
- #8. Visa for asylum seekers (D5)
- #9. Visa for journalists (D6)
- #10. Religious and Medical treatment visa (D8/D10)
- E/E2 (Apply for residence)
- What are the documents I need to obtain a Cuba visa?
- How to apply for a Cuba visa
- Things you should know about Cuba before applying for a Cuba visa
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Cuba visa?
The Cuba visa is an official document (paper card visa) that authorizes non-Cuba citizens to enter, live or work in Cuba. In some countries, the visa is a stamp attached to the traveler’s passport. However, it is not the same for some others, for instance, Cuba.
Cuba has its visa as a paper card (document). This document contains two parts where you fill in your personal information. The information you fill in on the document must be the same as the information on your passport biodata page. Else, it might warrant disqualification of your application.
After you arrive in Cuba, one part of the document is torn off and taken. Then when leaving, you hand in the other part. And so, it is of utmost importance that you should not forget to keep the visa with your passport in your hand luggage during and throughout your trip. Mind you, keep it separately from the passport and not stick it with it.
Types of Cuba visa
As stated earlier, the Republic of Cuba offers about twelve different passports to foreign nationals who intend to enter the country. These different Cuba visas are designated for other travel purposes. Therefore, it is an added advantage to your visa application journey to be clear about where you are going to start your journey, the duration you intend to stay, and the reason for your visit.
Below are the different types of Cuba visas.
First, the Republic of Cuba has three main categories of visas; A, D, & E, under which the 12 visa types fall.
Category A visa includes;
#1. Tourist visa (A1)
For almost every nationality, the tourist visa is for leisure travel. It is also the most common visa to obtain if you want to enter Cuba. This visa permits the holder to stay in Cuba for up to 30 days.
Furthermore, holders of the A1 visa can request a visa extension for any legitimate reason. However, the visa extension is possible only if the applicant’s request is made and approved before the initial 30 days’ permission expires.
The tourist visa is further divided into two subdivisions; the standard and specific A1 visas. The visa colors, price, and destination of departure from Cuba are the distinct characteristics that differentiate both visas from one another.
The Standard tourist card:
This tourist visa subdivision is green in color, costs about €22, and is issued to all foreign citizens traveling to Cuba from destinations other than the USA. If you are in the USA, you cannot apply for this visa.
The Specific tourist card:
This subdivision of Cuba’s tourist visa is pink in color, costs about €120, and is issued to all foreign citizens traveling to Cuba from the USA. Also, foreign citizens whose flights or boats will stop in the USA are eligible for this visa.
Always remember that you will be required to apply and obtain an ESTA visa for the USA. However, this is only if you will transfer or stopover in the US regardless of your final destination.
#2. Visa for family visits (A2)
This visa is issued to family members of Cuban citizens or foreign citizens holding Cuban residence permits. However, this visa only allows you to visit your family members and not stay with them.
#3. Transit/Transfer visa (A3/A4)
You apply for this visa if you are going to transit through Cuba to get to your final destination.
#4. Visa for Crew Members (A5)
This visa is for all crew that will dock or land in Cuba.
#5. Visa for events, business, and services (A6/A7)
This visa is specifically for business purposes. If you need to travel around Cuba, get a tourist visa.
Category D visa includes;
#6. Visa for technicians, scientists, and students (D1/D2)
This visa category is issued to technically inclined foreign professionals, scientific and academic researchers, and foreign nationals who want to study in Cuba.
#7. Visa for artists and athletes (D3/D4).
This visa is designated for artists and athletes to perform in the country.
#8. Visa for asylum seekers (D5)
For foreign nationals seeking asylum in Cuba. For the asylum visa, the application process should be done at the embassy nearest the country of residence.
#9. Visa for journalists (D6)
For foreign citizens traveling to Cuba to cover journalism or report on events. However, they must first submit a request for a visit to the International Press Center of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Once accepted and approved, the applicant should then go on and apply for the relevant visa.
#10. Religious and Medical treatment visa (D8/D10)
As the name implies, only foreign applicants who fall under the visa category are assigned the visa.
Category E visa ( permanent visas)
E/E2 (Apply for residence)
- The E1 visa is particularly for foreign nationals who intend to live in Cuba but also have direct relatives living in the country.
- The E2 visa is for foreign citizens who intend to live in Cuba but do not have any relatives living in the country.
What are the documents I need to obtain a Cuba visa?
There are different Cuba visas, and so are the specific requirements for each visa. However, general requirements must be in place before you begin any Cuba visa application.
- The Cuba visa application form.
- A copy of a valid international passport with an expiration date not less than six months.
- Two copies of civil passports were taken within the past six months against a white background.
- Proof of financial sufficiency (bank statement) must bear the bank stamp and be confirmed by the embassy.
- Proof of travel purpose legalized and confirmed by a Notary. This document will affirm that the applicant will travel to Cuba for the sole reason stated on the document.
- Travel health insurance certificate. Must be one original copy and issued by an internationally recognized insurance company.
- Proof of hotel reservation ticket with a confirmation in Cuba must be verified.
- The travel itinerary includes proof of round trip payment; travel and returns tickets (original and photocopy). The document must be verified by the embassy before approval.
- Proof of visa payment without which your application cannot be processed.
How to apply for a Cuba visa
After checking with the Cuba embassy in your country and finding out the requirement for the Cuba visa application, follow the below-listed steps;
- Go to your local embassy to request the visa application form. The Cuba visa application form is not online, so you will have to get the form from the embassy and fill it out yourself. Fill in all block letters.
- The form has two parts; make sure to fill in the correct information on the two parts.
- Pay your visa application fee and request a receipt. Remember, you have to attach the receipt with other visa documents that you have
- After filling out the form, submit your form together with the necessary documents and visa payment receipt to the embassy.
- Schedule an interview appointment with the embassy.
- After that, wait for the embassy to give you a response.
Things you should know about Cuba before applying for a Cuba visa
- Although the Cuba visa allows foreign citizens access to enter its territory, it doesn’t allow free access to some facilities. For instance, the Cuban Healthcare system is not free for foreigners unless they have a permanent residence permit or citizenship status.
- The local culture is beautiful, and music is its charm.
- Cuba is one of the significant cigar cultivators trees in Northern America. And so produces more of the cigar. So, don’t be surprised if you receive a cigar as a gift from the nationals.
- Cuba nationals love arts and so have so many museums. You can also visit there and allow your eyes to behold the aesthetics of these museums.
- The Casas Particulares are cheaper than hotels and will save accommodation costs. The Casas Particulares are private houses licensed to offer lodging services to foreigners. Their foods are good and exceptional too.
- Tourists can access the internet in big cities only through the government’s communication centers and Wi-Fi hotspots in parks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a Cuba visa be modified once it has been processed?
No, it cannot. The Cuba visa is a handwritten document. Once it has been processed, nothing can be changed again. So, if by any chance you recorded some erroneous information during your application, you have to re-apply for a new visa.
How far in advance do I need to apply for a Cuba visa?
This depends on the visa category that you want to apply for. You must apply six months in advance for a residency visa, and for tourism or vacation, you must apply 20 days in advance. It is best to enquire from the local embassy to avoid mistakes.
Does Cuba grant a visa on arrival?
Yes, the Republic of Cuba does offer visas on arrival. However, the visa on arrival is slowly being replaced with electronic visas. Regardless, you can still get a Cuba visa on arrival, but only if you land at the airport in Havana.
How long does it take to process a Cuban visa?
A Cuban visa is processed within 30 days. However, it can be delayed due to some circumstances. For this reason, you are advised to apply for your visa between one to two months from your departure date.
Cuba is one of the most influential states in the Caribbean region. As such, it has a lot of beautiful places and pleasant weather. Therefore, you can take a trip to Cuba and be refreshed that you did so.