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US Citizens Cuba Travel

New York City, New...
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US Citizens Cuba Travel

I know this has been addressed a million times before, but could anyone provide some current advice for dealing with US/Canada borders for US citizens flying from Toronto? I traveled to Cuba a few years ago without issue. My friends I'm traveling with are first timers and are worried about what to say and getting fined at the US border coming back in. Has anything changed over the last few years?

hfx
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1. Re: US Citizens Cuba Travel

sounds like nothing has changed, and that it continues to be a non-issue.

hfx
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2. Re: US Citizens Cuba Travel

see the first couple of replies in this post:

tripadvisor.com/…49809016

Miami Beach, Florida
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3. Re: US Citizens Cuba Travel

Everything changed at noon on Jan. 20, 2009! The Obama administration couldn't care less about "Illegal" Cuba travel. We've gone from Toronto twice, in '06 and '11. In '06, W was still in office and we carefully covered our tracks. In both cases, we crossed into Canada and back by land.

Panama City, Panama
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4. Re: US Citizens Cuba Travel

The reports indicate that things changed several years before that - more like just after the previous mid-term elections.

Burlington, Canada
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5. Re: US Citizens Cuba Travel

When your friends are crossing the border on their way to Toronto, all they need to say is that they are going to Toronto for a holiday. Likewise, when crossing back into the U.S. afterwards, their response can be the same. They wouldn't be telling a lie. ;-)

Terry

Edited: 10 August 2013, 13:34
Apopka, Florida
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6. Re: US Citizens Cuba Travel

OP: I will not dispute the prior comments that enforcement appears to be lax or non-existent.

However be aware that, unlike some Canadians suggest, the actual US Declaration form question #8 asks "What countries have you visited on this trip prior to US arrival?" so you will be faced with the decision of either including Cuba or making an untrue statement in writing and then signing it.

I enter the US in Miami returning direct from Cuba. So my form only indicates Cuba in question #8. I am always asked by US immigration what countries have I been to on this trip. My answer is always "only Cuba". Their most common response is "Welcome home, ... next in line please" as 574,000 Americans went to Cuba last year, most of us legally.

Toronto, Canada
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7. Re: US Citizens Cuba Travel

If I were an American citizen I would have a couple of serious concerns secretly travelling to Cuba via a third country.

Firstly, God forbid you met suffered a serious accident or illness and wanted to be medevaced out of Cuba directly to a hospital near your home in the States. I'm guessing that would pose a serious problem for you.

Secondly, I read all the time on this forum that even if you are caught, the chances of you being prosecuted and paying a fine would be almost zero. However, your name would be entered into a computer somewhere and in the future if you ever wanted to apply for a job with the government or in any job where a thorough background check is needed, chances are that you could be red flagged and it could cause you to lose the opportunity of employment.

With that said, I have met many Americans who successfully travel back and forth through Canada to Cuba every year and love it.

Edited: 10 August 2013, 15:18
Burlington, Canada
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8. Re: US Citizens Cuba Travel

I hear what you're saying, halfwaytree, but if we all lived our lives in fear, we'd never leave the safety of our houses. Of course there's a chance that anything could happen when traveling abroad...anywhere. I could get hit by a bus today crossing the street. But I'm not going to let that stop me from living my life. It's all about playing the odds no matter where we go.

Keep in mind too that one should have ample medical insurance in case of emergency in Cuba. And although Cuban hospitals leave something to be desired by our standards, the medical profession needed for most any emergency is there ready and able to address many life-threatening illnesses or injury without needing to be medivaced out.

Terry

Edited: 10 August 2013, 16:16
Apopka, Florida
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9. Re: US Citizens Cuba Travel

I have dealt with the US Interests section in Havana (US equivalent of an Embassy in countries without formal diplomatic relations) and they never asked if I was in Cuba legally or illegally.

While I have never seen any real information on the number of Americans who visit Cuba illegally, the large number who visit legally causes me to project that illegals are a small minority. So the presumption appears to me to be that any American visiting Cuba has a license to do so. Remember that Trip Advisor, being a tourist travel website, is not indicative of the total population.

Nothing I say should be construed as advice, only my stating facts or personal opinions where indicated.

Burlington, Canada
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10. Re: US Citizens Cuba Travel

"While I have never seen any real information on the number of Americans who visit Cuba illegally, the large number who visit legally causes me to project that illegals are a small minority."

That's a very good question, Bob, and one that no one can answer with any kind of certainty. However I do know that Americans have been traveling to Cuba illegally through 3rd countries for years. I think at one time there were definitely far more Americans traveling to Cuba illegally by proportion, but that has likely changed within the last couple of years especially. Still, with the relaxed stance of the U.S. government concerning illegal travel to Cuba in recent years, I'm assuming that those numbers have risen too. It would be interesting to know based on real figures though.

Terry