Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Moving to Cuba

Cuba is the largest Caribbean Island. Its government is communist, its capital is Havana, and its official languages are Spanish and Castillian. Its history runs from the indigenous cultures to Spanish conquest, and to the revolutions, to the Cold War and political influence throughout Latin America and Africa. Because of the strict state control, Cuba is very contained and it is difficult to immigrate there.


Visas in Cuba are generally short-term. The only way you can become a permanent resident is if you marry a Cuban citizen. Even then, it takes a few months to process, and you also have to prove your funds.

Tourist Visa

Virtually everyone must obtain a tourist card or visa to enter Cuba. The United States prohibits its citizens from entering, unless they have a special reason and can obtain a license. For anyone else to apply, you can contact your embassy or even a travel agent. It takes about 1-2 weeks to process. You have to prove that you have arrangements to leave the country and that you have booked a hotel room.

In order to get a Tourist Visa Card through a Consulate, you must submit the following:

1.       Completed Application form

2.       Copy of poassport

3.       Copy of return ticket, or information about your tour if it is pre-packaged

4.       Two passport photos

5.       Fees

Business Visa:

If you are doing some temporary business while in Cuba, you are required to apply for a visa. They usually last up to three months. You must submit:

1.       Valid passport

2.       Two completed application forms

3.       Two passport photos

4.       Details of business contact in Cuba

5.       Letter of invitation from Cuban company

Work Visa

You must obtain a work permit if you are a foreigner who wishes  to work in Cuba. This is not easy to do, because the system makes it so the jobs are in favor of locals. Every job in Cuba is distributed by the state. Workers are selected and paid through a Cuban State agency.

You must apply for a work permit through the Ministry of Work and Social Security. As the salary is under socialism, it is very difficult to earn and save a substantial amount of money from regular jobs. Cubans make an average of 10-20 American dollars per month. It is easier to work for an international company stationed in Cuba, or as a freelancer or journalist.

You can apply for a Temporary Residence Card if you land a job and work visa.

Visit Havana Guide for more details.

Student Visa

In order to study in Cuba as a foreigner, you are required to have a visa. You should first contact the school and apply to study there. The school will then request a visa on your behalf from the Cuban government’s immigration department. You must provide them with your name, passport number, nationality, date of birth and date of arrival in Cuba. Once the permit is granted, Cuba will notify your local consular office or embassy.

Your initial visa is valid for 30 days. Foreigners are required to stay at a university residence, tourist resort, or licensed private rental homes. If you wish to exceed the 30 day visit, your school can probably help you out with the necessary procedures. You will need to submit your passport, as well as proof of your accommodations. You will need to pay fees and pay for postage.

Visit the University of Havana’s website for more information. Spanish language courses are popular at this institution.

Other Information

Click here for a list of Cuban embassies.

Visit Wikitravel for travel and visa information.


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