US Relaxes Cuba Restrictions

By Dex Tennyson, for 19 January, 2015

The United States has relaxed long-standing travel and trade restrictions relating to Cuba.

Travel remains regulated, but US citizens wanting to visit the country in any of the 12 existing categories of authorized travel no longer need to apply for a specific license. Further, a per-day rate previously imposed on authorized travelers no longer applies, limits on authorized expenses have been removed, and it is now legal to use US credit and debit cards in the country.

Insurers are also now able to include Cuba in global life, health, and travel insurance policies for US expats.

Meanwhile, the limit on licensed remittances to Cuban nationals has been raised from USD500 to USD2,000 per quarter. In some cases, including for family remittances, travelers may carry up to USD10,000 with them, and restrictions have in general been removed altogether for humanitarian projects or the development of private businesses. Banking institutions, including US-registered money transmitters, can process authorized remittances to Cuba without having to apply for a specific license.

Travelers returning from Cuba to the US are allowed to import up to USD400 worth of goods for personal use, but there is a restriction of up to USD100 in the case of alcohol and tobacco products.

Other measures end banking restrictions and make it easier to export communications technology, including computers.

The details were announced in a joint statement by the US Department of Commerce and US Department of the Treasury. The US Government says that the moves chart a new course in relations with Cuba and will engage and empower the Cuban people.

Tags: United States | Cuba | Communications | Expats | Money Transfers | Travel | Lifestyle | Banking | Lifestyle |


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