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Guidance Document - Cuban Travel

Updated: November 11, 2020 (reflects OFAC Cuban Sanction amendment published September 23, 2020.

Change as of September 23, 2020 – the federal action taken amends the Cuba Sanctions adds the following restrictions (all of the previous restrictions still apply):

  1. The prohibition of the Importation into the United States of Cuban-origin alcohol and tobacco products without a specific authorization from the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC).
  2. The elimination of the general authorization related to the attendance at, or organization of, professional meetings or conferences in Cuba. These activities may be authorized via specific license on a case-by-case basis through a specific license.
  3. Any person subject to US jurisdiction are prohibited from lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge at any property on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List

The general authorization links below are still current.

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

Note, OFAC licenses can take 3-6 months, so please plan accordingly.

Changes as of November 9, 2017 - 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 November 9, 2017 to implement the National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM), Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba.” 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 Controls Office as soon as possible to discuss your plans.

The 3 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 of Cuba. 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 Controls Office of the EVPRP will in advance of your activity. You can reach the EC/IA at or by phone at 765) 494-9806.

Be prepared to provide the following information:

  1. What is the proposed activity?
    1. Include purpose, duration, and sufficient detail to assist in the determination of General license applicability.
    2. 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?
    1. Note that this includes hotels.
  3. Who are the Purdue personnel involved?
    1. 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 read the specific General Licenses applicable to Purdue personnel at the following links:


Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations.


Journalistic activities in Cuba.


Professional research and professional meetings in Cuba.


Educational 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.

Need Help?

Contact the Purdue Export Controls team by email at, by phone at (765) 494-6840, or in person on the 10th floor of Young Hall (155 S Grant St.).

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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