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US Eases Cuba Travel, Trade Restrictions


While U.S. tourists still can’t fly to Cuba for vacation, new regulations from the Commerce and Treasury departments will make Cuba more accessible to many from the U.S. — as well as their money. The new rules expand on President Barack Obama’s Dec. 17 announcement that the United States would reopen diplomatic ties to the island.

In a prepared statement, Treasury Secretary Joseph Lew said the changes will “promote political and economic freedom” for Cubans.

“Cuba has real potential for economic growth and by increasing travel, commerce, communications and private business development between the United States and Cuba, the United States can help the Cuban people determine their own future,” Lew said.

According to the Treasury Department fact sheet, major changes outlined by the policy include:

  • All travel that was previously authorized (including travel for family visits, certain types of work, educational or religious activities and humanitarian projects) will now be possible without special licenses. Approved travelers will simply be able to book their flights and go.
  • Travelers will be able to spend as much as they want on the island while they are there — and use U.S. credit or debit cards to make purchases.
  • Travelers can bring up to $400 worth of personal goods back to the United States (but no more than $100 of alcohol or tobacco products).
  • People can sell or donate communication devices like computers and phones to the Cuban people without special permission.
  • Remittance limits will rise in many cases and be eliminated in the case of humanitarian projects.
  • Certain commercial imports from Cuban entrepreneurs will be allowed.  To read the official information, click here.

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