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Have any Americans on here traveled to Cuba through Europe?

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Hi. I'm American and considering a trip to Cuba now that some of the travel restrictions have eased. I found that you can travel from the US, but it has to be on a pre-packaged "people to people" cultural tour.  They seem quite expensive and you can't go wherever you like (no beach visits).

 

It's possible to get flights from European cities, and from what I can tell, Cuba doesn't care if you come as a tourist.  The two things I'm concerned about are:

-Does Lufthansa (or other airline) care about your nationality?  Has anyone had trouble getting on the flight?

-It seems Cuba has started to stamp passports again since last year.  I heard in the past you could ask them not to.  Is this a problem when you return to the US if you have a Cuba immigration stamp?

 

There's not much info on the web, so I'd like to hear from anyone who has done this.  Thanks!

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Sounds like the start of a bad Amanda Knox movie starring Lindsay Lohan.

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3 hours ago, Kalifornierin said:

Hi. I'm American and considering a trip to Cuba now that some of the travel restrictions have eased. I found that you can travel from the US, but it has to be on a pre-packaged "people to people" cultural tour.  They seem quite expensive and you can't go wherever you like (no beach visits).

 

Who cares? Just make sure the Yanks don't get wind of it! Go and stay at "casas particulares" in actual Cuban homes; that's the best.

 

3 hours ago, Kalifornierin said:

-Does Lufthansa (or other airline) care about your nationality?  Has anyone had trouble getting on the flight?

 

 

Lufthansa won't care as far as you have your Cuban visa and your passport when you board the plane.

 

3 hours ago, Kalifornierin said:

-It seems Cuba has started to stamp passports again since last year.  I heard in the past you could ask them not to.  Is this a problem when you return to the US if you have a Cuba immigration stamp?

 

 

I didn't know about the passport stamping. I've been there twice and they never stamped my passport. You didn't have to ask them; they just never did. The visa is also a separate document, so my passport has no record of my visits.

 

Some preventative thoughts:

 

1) You could ask the Cuban immigration officer that she not stamp your passport.

 

2) You could get two passports: show one in Cuba and if it gets stamped show the other one when you reenter the US. They might give you more than one passport if you tell a story about how you are planing to travel to Dubai, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon, and you want to make sure Lebanon doesn't find out about your trip to Israel. "That's why I need TWO passports, officer!"

 

3) Destroy your passport if it gets a stamp. Not recommended considering how difficult is to have a passport replaced these days.

 

4) Play the dumb Valley Girl when you return to the US. Do you think they are going to mess with you so much when you return?

 

Cuba is great! You should try to visit.

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 Used Canadian passport to go to Cuba, they stamped and took picture of each passenger. Do not forget the  tax payment on arrival- in Cuban money.

  US friends wanted to go- but had to go with organised group- officially recognised Cuban travel group.

   You may be lucky, or you may get grief from Cuban Immigration. US website  says by the end of 2016, individual travel to Cuba may be possible,  but you  may get      problems when you return to US. 

Good luck anyway- Cuba was great fun, and very safe.

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And if you don't get problems when you return to the US, it could be something that gives you problems later. I have more than a few friends who travel for work to places that have much warmer relations with the US than Cuba does, and their passport stamps still give them issues when it comes to re-entering the States or applying for security clearance.

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US and Europe share information about who flies where, so your trip to Cuba will be known to US authorities.

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Sorry for the late response, but thanks for all the feedback.  After talking to a few other people, it seems that they are definitely stamping passports in Cuba now.  I don't want to risk any issues going back to the US, so I'm postponing the trip until next Spring at least. 

 

Also, American Airlines and JetBlue are adding more flights later this year, so hopefully it all becomes more clear. 

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Europe shares information with the US for flights not touching US soil? Are you sure?

 

And, the US shares information with Europe? Any information? No way.

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Looking for an update of this thread on travel to Cuba as an AMERICAN traveling from Europe within the past year. My German boyfriend and I are looking at going for Fall Break. He is German, so no problem, but for me is the concern. If flying from Europe and not going thru US at all...did the European airline give the tourist card? Or did you have to apply for it online? If booked with Lufthansa or Condor or whatever, as an American, did you have to declare the reason for your trip (one of the 11 choices...)?

 

And as a side note, I don't care about the stamping of the passport. I have Global Entry for USA, so a custom official hasn't looked at my passport in at least 5 years anyways. They can stamp or not stamp in my opinion, wouldn't make a difference.

 

Any guidance would be appreciated as most things on internet are about if you are traveling from US.

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I know one who travelled there two years ago.

 

I don't think Cuba ever stamps your passport. I've only been twice, though, and it was a long time ago, and they never stamped mine.

 

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On 7/11/2018, 2:24:31, Nkwal said:

And as a side note, I don't care about the stamping of the passport. I have Global Entry for USA, so a custom official hasn't looked at my passport in at least 5 years anyways. They can stamp or not stamp in my opinion, wouldn't make a difference.

 

This is still a risk. First of all, they see it when you send it in for renewal. Second, for whatever reason, they could request your passport. An example is if you forget to declare an apple or something and they find it. Your GE is toast, and your passport will be exposed. This federal government is also not the same as before - they're zealots and can decide to give you a hard time. Always try to get risky stamps on a separate piece of paper.

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On 10/13/2016, 12:08:40, kaffeemitmilch said:

Europe shares information with the US for flights not touching US soil? Are you sure?

 

And, the US shares information with Europe? Any information? No way.

 

Yes, if you take a flight from Frankfurt to Amsterdam (as an example), your PNR (passenger name record) is shared with the US, Canada and Australia.  However, that information can only be used to fight terrorism and serious crimes. These three countries had to agree to abide by European Directive (EU) 2016/681 in order to access the data. 

 

On 7/11/2018, 2:24:31, Nkwal said:

Any guidance would be appreciated as most things on internet are about if you are traveling from US.

 

I am not going to dismiss @kaffeemitmilch advice. It's sensible, if, maybe a bit too cautious, but that's just a matter of opinion.

 

My advise would be "don't do it", but just because I wouldn't want you to be mad at me if something went wrong, which is extremely unlikely.

 

What I would do if I were in your shoes is different. If my country of citizenship were to ban me from going to Cuba, that's the first country I'd be going to (just out of rebellion). Cuba is got a lot going for it and it also has lots and lots of unbelievable problems (which you get to experience when you are there). However, the country is beautiful, the people are beautiful, it buzzes, it's friendly, it's sunny, it's a big, hot, disorganized and carefree, chaotic bundle of FUN. There's also nothing like it in the world. It really looks like in the movies, and the pictures in the magazines, including the old American cars, which one has to wonder how the hell they keep running.

 

Actually, forget my advice. Go! Risk it! They won't stamp your passport--they only stamp your visa card. You just have to see this island the way it is now and before it changes. It really is unforgettable.

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I did not discourage travel to Cuba - I only strongly advised against allowing your passport to have any proof of travel to Cuba!

 

I'd love to go :)

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Friends who went in last 2 years said they stamped passports ( UK and Canadian). Still taking photos of all passengers.

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I found out from a flight attendant friend who works for Condor that the tourist card is sold for 10 euros before you board the flight in Frankfurt. But the question is still there whether or not Americans are allowed to do this...she couldn't say as she hasn't experienced it. Because if you fly from the USA using an American carrier, the tourist card ranges from 70-120 dollars.

 

I have no problem going to Cuba. I want to go before it changes too much, like Smaug says.... just want to make sure I do it legally.

On 7/16/2018, 8:59:34, Smaug said:

 

 

Actually, forget my advice. Go! Risk it! They won't stamp your passport--they only stamp your visa card. You just have to see this island the way it is now and before it changes. It really is unforgettable.

 

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Americans can legally visit Cuba as part of an organized charity group, religious group, or when invited for cultural/artistic purposes.  If you go "illegally" and the US government finds out, you get fined 25,000 dollars.   That number may have changed since the last time I looked, and given the current US government, I wouldn't take any chances.  You can look at https://www.state.gov/travel/ to find current information on travel to Cuba.

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2 hours ago, LaDiv said:

Americans can legally visit Cuba as part of an organized charity group, religious group, or when invited for cultural/artistic purposes.  If you go "illegally" and the US government finds out and decides to go after you, you get fined 25,000 dollars.   That number may have changed since the last time I looked, and given the current US government, I wouldn't take any chances.  You can look at https://www.state.gov/travel/ to find current information on travel to Cuba.

 

I added a clause. They might find out and warn you, but they will not necessarily fine and or prosecute you. Still, you want to avoid any chance of this so ask that they not stamp your passport, and if they do, you will have to 'lose' it after your trip.

 

I know an American who bought the tourist card in Germany for whatever price it was and faced no problems in Cuba. As long as you have it, it doesn't seem to matter what you paid for it.

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