Havana, Cuba

Havana, Cuba. Photo by Pixabay.


The Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) issued the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 CFR part 515, on July 8, 1963, under the Trading with the Enemy Act (50 U.S.C. 4301-41). These regulations were amended on Nov. 9, 2017 to implement the National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM), “Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba,” which was signed by the president on June 16, 2017. The amendments implement changes to the authorizations for travel to Cuba and related transactions and restrict certain financial transactions.

Even prior to the issuance of the November revision, as a comprehensively sanctioned country, all activity with or in Cuba required a license from OFAC. Within the regulation, there are general licenses for common activity on which persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction can rely. If the specific activity doesn’t fit within a general license, a specific license must be obtained prior to engaging in the activity. It is important to note that specific licenses can take several months to obtain, so contact the Export Control/Information Assurance Office as soon as possible to discuss your plans.

The three most impactful changes within the November revisions were:

  1. The issuance of the Cuba Restricted List: This list, including many hotels, identifies businesses with close ties to the Cuban government and military. In most cases, persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are prohibited from doing business with these entities. You can search the list at this Department of State link.
  2. The modification of general licenses for academic activities and professional research and meetings: In many cases, persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction traveling alone and not with a group must have a letter from their home institution documenting the general license the traveler is operating under.
  3. The elimination of the individual people-to-people general license: With this revision, persons interested in engaging in people-to-people activity must do so under the auspices of an organization subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

To ensure that Purdue personnel traveling and engaging with Cuba are compliant with the Cuban sanctions, please contact the Export Control/Information Assurance Office of the EVPRP well in advance of your activity. You can reach the EC/IA at or by phone at 765-494-9806.

Be prepared to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the proposed activity?
    • Include purpose, duration, and sufficient detail to assist in the determination of heneral license applicability.
    • Include, if possible, the general license reference you think best fits your plans.
  2. Who are the entities and people you intend to work with or do business with in Cuba?
    • Note that this includes hotels.
  3. Who are the Purdue personnel involved?
    • Note that there is also a current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory to Cuba, so student travel to Cuba will need to be reviewed by the Security Risk Assessment Committee before approved.

You can review the general licenses applicable to Purdue personnel at the following links:

§515.562 Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments and certain intergovernmental organizations.
§515.563 Journalistic activities in Cuba.
§515.564 Professional research and professional meetings in Cuba.
§515.565 Educational activities.
§515.567 Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions.
§515.574 Support for the Cuban people.
§515.575 Humanitarian projects.
§515.576 Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes.

Need Help?

Contact the Purdue export control/information assurance team by email at, by phone at 765-494-9806, or in person on the 3rd floor of Hovde Hall.