Visit Visa to the US is Needed After Stay in Cuba

Visit Visa to the US is Needed After Stay in Cuba

As the United Kingdom is part of the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP), British visitors to the US can enter through the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). However, the US government advised that any visit to Cuba since 1 March 2011 disqualifies British holidaymakers from the ESTA scheme.

Instead, they must spend $160 on a full visa and attend an interview at the US Embassy.

This means that anyone who has been to Cuba can no longer enter the USA without a visa with ESTA. Not only do Cuba travellers no longer qualify for an ESTA but with a trip to Cuba, an existing Esta will also become invalid.

This is not a general entry ban however participation in the visa waiver program is no longer possible. This is specifically noted on the official ESTA site.

Can I Bypass the Rule

The US does not have a database of travellers who have visited Cuba so someone who was in Cuba in 2011 will certainly have a new passport by now, and many other people will have renewed their passports.

Without proof that a traveller has been to Cuba, it is difficult for  US authorities to know that the traveller has been there in the past. However, it is worth noting that it is a breach of the rules and consequences will be doled out if caught.

So if you have planned a trip to both countries, then either apply for a US visit visa ahead of time, give up the plan to visit Cuba, or risk being denied entry to the US.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Talk to us in the comment section below. Or if you need more advice on the above, contact us for further travel & immigration advice.

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