Did you know that almost every visitor to Cuba needs some kind of Cuba visa? For most it’s a Cuba tourist visa or a Cuban tourist card obtained prior to arrival. It’s surprising to many, so don’t get caught surprised at the departure gate before your flight to Cuba!
Thankful, most travelers won’t need to send a special application for a visa prior to booking their tickets. Keep reading for the easiest (and cheapest) ways to get your Cuban tourist visa – plus, who needs a more specialized visa to Cuba for certain activities.
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Do I Need a Visa to Visit Cuba?
Almost every traveler to Cuba will need a Cuban tourist visa. Also known as a Cuban tourist card or Cuba travel card, you’ll need to present this tourist visa at immigration when you enter and exit Cuba.
Only Cuban citizens and those travelers with other types of Cuban visas (like student visas, business visas, or family visas) will not need to present a Cuban tourist visa upon arrival in Cuba.
However, only a very limited few will need to apply for a Cuban visa in advance, before booking tickets and planning their trip to Cuba. Most travelers will be able to purchase their Cuban tourist visas before arriving in Cuba.
Those that must apply for a tourist visa in advance are from a select few Asian and African countries – that list can be found here. Check out this account from an Indian blogger about special requirements and procedures for the Cuba visa requirements for Indian citizens.
Most travelers to Cuba simply need to book their tickets to Cuba and plan on purchasing their Cuban tourist visa before arriving in Cuba.
Jump ahead to the following sections in this article to learn about the three most common ways to get a tourist visa for Cuba:
- Getting your Cuba visa online;
- Getting your Cuba visa from airlines;
- Cuban embassy visa processing.
Do Americans Need a Visa for Cuba?
Yes! Citizens of the United States need a tourist visa for Cuba. The government of Cuba requires that ALL visitors to the island have a tourist visa – also known as a tourist card – before arriving. There is no special Cuba visa for Americans; everyone needs the same tourist visa!
The special regulations regarding the travel of citizens of the United States to Cuba come from the government of the United States, not the government of Cuba.
If you’re traveling to Cuba from the United States, there are some important regulations you should be aware of. Check out our series of articles written specifically for travelers to Cuba from the United States, regarding details about legal travel to Cuba for American citizens:
Cuban Tourist Visas vs. Cuban Tourist Cards
Many people refer to the Cuban tourist visa as the Cuban tourist card, or the Cuban travel card. Confusingly, these different phrases all refer to the same document.
Most visitors to Cuba will only need this one tourist visa / tourist card to enter the country! You won’t need to apply for this visa with the Cuban government ahead of time – just purchase it before entering the country.
Jump down further in this article by clicking below to read about the three most common ways to purchase tourist visas to travel to Cuba:
Get a Cuban visa online – EasyTouristVisa
Get your Cuban visa from airlines
Get a Cuban embassy visa
For even more information about the Cuban tourist visa and tourist card, check out this article clarifying a bit more about the difference.
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Cuban Tourist Visa
Cuban tourist visas are required for most travelers to Cuba who are not Cuban citizens or don’t have another visa status in Cuba (a student visa, permanent residency, etc).
Thankfully, visas to travel to Cuba are very easy to get. Most travelers to Cuba get their Cuba visa before they travel, either online through the EasyTouristVisa website, or from their airline, if possible.
Since there is no option for a Cuba visa on arrial, you’ll have to get your visa before you land in the country.
How Much Does a Cuban Visa Cost?
The Cuban tourist visa does not have one fixed price – it varies depending on how and where you get it. The cost of a Cuban tourist visa also varies based on which type of tourist visa for Cuban you’ll need – either a pink tourist visa or a green tourist visa.
Pink Tourist Visas
Pink tourist visas are required for travelers arriving in Cuba on a flight from the United States (regardless of whether the traveler is a citizen of the United States or another country). These pink tourist visas generally cost between $50-110.
Green Tourist Visas
Green tourist visas are for travelers arriving in Cuba from any country other than the United States. These green tourist visas generally cost between $20-50.
If ordering your visa online from EasyTouristVisa, make sure you select the correct visa type – either pink or green – depending on where you’ll be traveling from. Prompts on the website will guide you to make the right choice if you have any questions.
If you will be purchasing your tourist visa from your airline prior to departure, they’ll be prepared to offer you the visa color you’ll need.
How to Get a Cuban Visa
How Can I Apply For a Cuban Visa?
There are several ways to get the Cuban tourist visa card required before you arrive in Cuba – some more challenging than others. You can get yours one of three ways:
Get your Cuban visa from your airline
Get a Cuban embassy visa
Keep scrolling for the details about these three ways to get a Cuba travel visa, and why I recommend getting yours online!
Cuba Visa Online
Can you get a Cuba Visa Online?
Cuba does not currently offer an online “e-visa” version of the tourist visa. You must have an official, physical tourist visa that you will present in immigration when arriving in the country.
However, you can obtain the Cuban visa online before your trip and have it sent to your home before you travel. I recommend looking into EasyTouristVisa as the most convenient way to get your tourist visa!
Cuba Visa Services
EasyTouristVisa offers Cuban tourist visas that can be ordered online and shipped to your home before you depart for Cuba. This service offers either pink tourist cards or green tourist cards, depending on your travel needs, and is a reliable and convenient way to secure visas to travel to Cuba.
Cuban Visa from Airlines
Another way to get a Cuban tourist visa card is from the airline you’ll be flying to Cuba with. Each airline is responsible for making sure its travelers have a tourist visa before boarding a flight to Cuba, so they’ll generally offer the Cuban tourist visa for sale.
Most airlines offer these tourist visas for sale through their website after booking, and others may offer them prior to boarding the plane.
Each airline offers Cuban tourist visas at different prices. Some airlines include the cost of the tourist visa in the price of the airline ticket!
Americans Airlines Cuba Visa
The tourist visa from American Airlines costs $85 if purchased online through the airline prior to your flight, or $125 if purchased at the airport during check-in or at your gate.
Delta Cuba Visa
The Delta Cuba visa costs $50 – currently, there is no way to secure the tourist visa online with Delta, but passengers are generally able to get the tourist visa at their gate prior to departing if they have not secured it beforehand.
Jetblue Cuba Visa
The Jetblue Cuba visa costs $50 and is generally issued at the boarding gate before departing. You will be required to show your Cuban tourist visa before boarding.
Copa Airlines Cuba Visa
Copa Airlines Cuba visas generally cost $20, though the airline has been charging up to $30 for the tourist visa at some of the airports where its flights depart for Cuba. Copa only serves passengers flying to Cuba from countries other than the United States, so it only offers green tourist cards.
Air Canada Cuba Visa
Air Canada is an airline that includes the cost of the Cuba visa in the price of its ticket. Tourist cards are distributed to passengers in-flight, along with the customs and immigration forms you’ll need when you arrive in Cuba.
Cuban Embassy Visa
A final way to secure your Cuban tourist visa prior to traveling to Cuba is through your nearest Cuban embassy. Visit the website of the Cuban embassy in your country for country-specific details about how to get a visa for Cuba.
I don’t recommend seeking a tourist visa from a Cuban embassy. Instead, plan on getting it from EasyTouristVisa or from your airline. It can involve jumping through many more hoops and take much longer if processed through an embassy than it otherwise would.
Remember, it’s only required that you pre-apply for a Cuban tourist visa through an embassy if you’re from a small list of Asian and African countries. If you aren’t from one of these countries you’re free to purchase your tourist visa card online or through your airline.
How to Get a Visa for Cuba
Apply for a Cuban Tourist Visa
If you are from one of the few countries whose citizens are required to apply for a tourist visa at their nearest Cuban embassy, you’ll start the process by contacting your embassy.
Make sure you visit the website specific to the Cuban embassy that serves your country. While the process generally starts out the same – with an application to the embassy – the requirements for each country vary.
If You Need a Different Type of Visa
For those looking for other visas to Cuba – not the standard tourist visa, the website of the Cuban embassy in your country is the way to start this process. Most of these processes can only be done prior to departing for Cuba.
Some common visa types include:
Family Visa (A-2)
Note: This visa can be obtained upon arriving as a tourist in Cuba by adjusting your visa status at a government office.
Journalist Visa (D-6)
Specialized Visa Types: student visas, visas to receive medical treatment in Cuba, etc.