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Cuba Travel Restrictions To Ease Under Biden Administration

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Daniel Ross

Daniel Ross

Senior Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 56U.S. States Visited: 17

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points...

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Positive changes by the Biden Administration mean more flights between Cuba and the U.S. will be authorized.

As it stands, only flights to the Cuban capital of Havana (HAV) are permitted owing to restrictions brought in by the Trump Administration.

“The Cuban people are confronting an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and our policy will continue to focus on empowering the Cuban people to help them to create a future free of repression and economic suffering,” said the State Department.

Let’s take a look at what the lifting of some restrictions means for travel to Cuba.

Flights Between Cuba and the U.S. To Increase

It was only in 2016 that flights restarted after 60 years of a complete ban on flights between the 2 nations.

Flights then restarted between the U.S. and several Cuban cities such as Camaguey (CMW), Havana (HAV), Holguín (HOG), Santa Clara (SNU), and Varadero (VRA).

Travel restrictions between the 2 countries were then reenacted by the Trump Administration in October 2019. Flights were only allowed to and from Havana (HAV) and the number of flights was restricted to just 3,600 per year.

As it stands, there are only regularly scheduled flights to Havana (HAV) from 6 U.S. cities: Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Houston (IAH), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), and Tampa (TPA).

Map of routes from Havana (HAV) to the U.S. Image Credit: FlightConnections

There are 42 weekly flights to and from Havana (HAV) operated by American Airlines that arrive at and depart from Miami (MIA), given its huge Cuban population.

However, there are strict rules and regulations around who can travel on a nonstop flight between the 2 countries. For example, travel between the 2 nations for tourism purposes is strictly prohibited. This even applies to non-U.S. citizens transiting through the U.S. to Cuba.

This restriction is also set to change, with the Biden Administration planning to allow travel to Cuba for educational group trips as well as business meetings. This will be facilitated by the authorization of new charter and scheduled flights between the U.S. and Cuban cities other than Havana (HAV).

The State Department wants to “strengthen family ties and facilities educational connections for the U.S. and Cuban people by expanding authorized travel in support of the Cuban people.”

While this is a step in the right direction, regular “people-to-people” travel will not be returning just yet. This means that getting on a flight from the U.S. to Cuba for tourism remains off the table.

Hot Tip: Icelandair is now operating charters from 3 U.S. cities to Havana through May 31, 2022 — learn more in our news article!

Final Thoughts

The State Department is removing some Trump-era restrictions on travel between the U.S. and Cuba.

Additional charter and scheduled flights to more Cuban cities will provide more travel purposes for Americans and Cubans for predominantly reunification and educational purposes.

About Daniel Ross

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points Guy, and more.

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