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OFAC - Full-time schedule: Requirements


Travellers to Cuba certify to their chosen carrier that they will comply with an OFAC general license category. Many of these include satisfying a full-time schedule of activities.

OFAC does not define “full-time” in terms of a specific number of hours.
Instead, it always relates it to a variety of activities in context with the nature of travel.
As a result, there is a lot of speculation about what is necessary in order to be compliant.
There is mostly good news here, because only one category of authorised travel, viz., 515.565(b) Educational exchange: people to people, requires you to furnish to OFAC, on demand, a copy of your actual full-time schedule of activities.
(n.b. - OFAC does require all travellers to have available a copy of their financial transactions - see §501.601 Records and recordkeeping requirements, and §501.602 Reports to be furnished on demand.)

The first step is to determine how activities would be reasonably treated by OFAC. This is not difficult because OFAC precludes tourism, and therefore activities normally associated with tourism may disqualify an authorisation. Thus, “free time or recreation” cannot be compliant activities. Sleeping is not an “activity”. Partaking meals is problematic, but clearly can be a compliant activity as per the example at §515.574 “eat at privately-owned Cuban restaurants”. Meanwhile, activities associated with personal hygiene are not “tourism”, and would be reasonably excluded.

The next step is to record all activities and determine which would be compliant and which, if any, would not. Having completed this step, check to see if your activities were consistent with your authorisation.

At this point there are 3 options:
The first is simple as your authorisation may not require a full-time schedule, eg §515.565 (a) Educational activities.
The second may require a full-time schedule, and not specify other activities being available, eg §515.565 (b) People-to-People travel (a subset of Educational activities).
The third may require a full-time schedule, and allow “free time or recreation” consistent with the authorisation, eg §515.574 Support for the Cuban People.

So what do we do when our authorisation does not specify other activities being available?
The answer usually is “who cares?”
But to the letter of OFAC, if you stray from your authorised activities then you would be non-compliant.

Ok, what about when we have free time or recreation available as per our authorisation?
The answer is to apply the rule outlined regarding your activities. To do that, add up your hours of compliant activities and, separately, your “free time or recreation” to see which is greater. This rule holds for all circumstances where traveller’s schedule of activities includes free time or recreation.
For example, a traveller on a cruise ship is in Havana port for 8 hours. S/he is authorised under "support for the Cuban people, so is allowed some free time. The first 3 hours is spent with a local tour operator before some shopping at privately-owned stores and later on taking dinner at a paladare. The last 3 hours is spent attending a show at Teatro Nacional de Cuba. So 5 compliant hours is greater than 3 hours of recreation and compliance is achieved.


Same error as always, Rob. Please show me where the hours spent in compliant activities must be greater than the hours spent in free time.


Jack, I do not have to.
It is clearly stated in OFAC.
You seem to have had the same problem in not understanding that OFAC only applies to people under US jurisdiction.


If that is true, why do you have so much problem telling me where? Perhaps it is because you know you are wrong and just won’t admit it.


If you want to debate this openly, then I suggest you open a new thread.
The simplicity of OFAC seems to baffle many.
So here is how it works.
Your basis for travel is a general license authorisation - a self certification process against a set of requirements you agreed to satisfy in order to be compliant.
Each and every general licence stipulates the activities which are allowed.
To be compliant in accordance with your chosen authorisation you would need to show your activities were consistent with the activities you agreed to, else your certification is not valid.
If your authorisation required a full-time schedule, it is incumbent on you to be able to detail the activities which were consistent.
Thus, from the outset your basis for travel is predicated on the concept of having a full-time schedule - it is what you agreed to when you self certified. In some cases “free time or recreation” is allowed. On that basis, these are OFAC’s exact words, your “schedule of activities does not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule”.


Which does not say that the free time can’t exceed the time spent in compliant activities. It only says that a full-time schedule is a full time schedule.
My point is made.


Jack, it says no such thing.
It asks that you have a schedule of activities as a starting point.
It concludes by asking that you check “time spent in compliant activities” against “free time or recreation”.
On the basis you have more compliant time, then this is consistent with a full-time schedule.
Until you apply the rule of what is required, you have no basis for defining a full-time schedule.
Your false claim is completely false.


And why is that? Because it is false?


Rob you are just being obstinate. The exact wording of “schedule of activities does not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule” only defines a full-time schedule as a full-time schedule, no matter how you try to dress it up with what you seem to believe are fancy words that say otherwise.
I can’t convince you, as you do not understand the words OFAC has written, so I may as well not try anymore.


OFAC enforces elements of the TWEA via CACR.
Tourism to Cuba is not allowed.
Travel to Cuba may be authorised by OFAC providing it is not tourism.
Authorisations are under either general or specific licenses.
To preclude tourism OFAC set forth terms under PART 515 of CACR.
Such terms describe the activities which would fulfil a compliant full-time schedule.
Consistent with compliance is OFAC’s determination that wherever an authorisation allows “free time or recreation” it must not be greater than the activities it specifies as fulfilling a full-time schedule.
Each traveller’s full-time schedule is unique to them and their circumstances.
To claim, as Jack has, that “full-time schedule is a full-time schedule” is not just a nonsensical statement, it denies the reality of everyone having a schedule of activities which will be different.
As a result, full-time schedules do not mandate a specific number of hours in order that compliance with one’s authorisation is satisfied. Which also suggests that common view concepts of “full-time” being anything from 6 to 8 hours are meaningless to OFAC. Thus, a cruise line traveller only venturing ashore in Cuba for a few hours on a tour with a local operator can achieve compliance.


Rob, you clearly do not know the meaning of consistent. Since you don’t, there is no point in my trying to explain it to you, nor is there any point in you stubbornly persisting with your wrong interpretation.
I am glad that you agree with me that OFACs definition of a full-time schedule as a full-time schedule is nonsense. You have made my point.



I closed this topic because it seemed that Rob and I should probably take a bit of time away from this discussion. I have reopened it to make one further suggestion that might help Rob to understand what OFAC is, in fact, not saying.
I believe, a do many others that OFAC really does not even want to define clearly what constitutes a full-time schedule. If they did, then the rule might become enforceable, and that was exactly what the previous US administration did not want. The 12 categories of general licence were set up to allow US citizens to more easily travel to Cuba. The current administration doesn’t care one way or another.
Consider the phrase consistent with. A synonym for that could be compatible with. So, rather than asking how much free time is forbidden as the wording seems to suggest we should, we might ask how much free time is compatible with a full-time schedule. Again, OFAC gives no guidance, neither in terms of actual hours, nor ratio of hours. All they seem to be saying is that the correct amount of free time must not be more than the amount that would be compatible with a full time schedule.
That is a meaningless statement. It is equivalent to saying it would be about the same as the amount of free time that someone has if they are following a full time schedule. It seems the people who wrote those rules are good at stringing together some words that mean absolutely nothing, but will fool some people into thinking that they do mean something. Basically, it is the same as saying a full-time schedule is a full-time schedule, which both Rob and I agree is also meaningless.
So, no matter which way around you put it, OFAC is not defining a full-time schedule.
Now, I need to say one more thing on the topic of free time. I realize that Rob seems either to have a comprehension problem, or stubbornly refuses to recognize the meaning of the word consistent. So if this doesn’t clarify the issue, I will say no more on the subject here.

The other point you brought up, to which I have not yet responded was where you said:

I understand perfectly well that OFAC applies to people under US jurisdiction. Here, again you are displaying your inability to comprehend simple English. I remember the discussion where I said that the airlines ask you to state you are traveling under an OFAC category. I did not say that they were correct to do so, but you admitted to me that you had agreed (in the dummy booking that you did) that you complied with an OFAC category. I believe that you may not have realized that you did that at the time, but that was probably only because you did not comprehend the words that preceded the “continue” button.

Rob, I know you need to have the last word on everything, so I will let you have it. You may respond to me all you want, and you may continue to insult me all you want, and tell any lies about me that you want to, but I am done with this discussion. I have better things to do with my time.



Jack, I disagree with most of your claims.
I also ask that you withdraw this false attribution: “I am glad that you agree with me that OFACs definition of a full-time schedule as a full-time schedule is nonsense.” OFAC makes no such claim.
OFAC for starters has 2 separate senses of a “full-time schedule” One allows “free time or recreation” and the other does not.
You and many others are at liberty to believe what you will about OFAC.
What is being missed by you is the logical point that we can know what things are by how they are defined. OFAC uses activities as the basis for determining what is included in a schedule. By examining what a traveller presents as their schedule of activities OFAC is able to determine compliance against either of the 2 senses of a full-time schedule. Essential here is that the traveller’s authorisation is predicated on not being a tourist, and the evidence underpinning this must be consistent with compliant activities as set forth. A traveller spending any time at all on non compliant activities needs to be assessed against the requirements of their authorisation. In the case of §515.565 (a) Educational Activities for example, which cruise companies and tour groups promote, prima facie there is no scope whatsoever to include activities of a recreational nature. However a fully compliant cruise excursion may be as short as a few hours, and definitionally satisfy the requirements of a full time schedule.
Had that same traveller chosen “support for he Cuban people” as their authorisation they are allowed “free time and recreation” consistent with not being a tourist. In other words they spent more time enjoying compliant activities.
Contrary to what you claim OFAC clearly state that tourist travel is not allowed, that satisfying a full-time schedule is consistent with this exclusion, and that in all cases one’s activities determine compliance.


I agree that tourism is not acceptable as a valid reason for US citizens and those under US control visiting Cuba.
I also see no prohibition of tourist activities done during their free time.

If our members wish to comment, I can leave this thread open a bit longer but would prefer to save this and encourage a new thread with less argument. I find it too difficult to chew through the minutia.
Thanks for the load of work and research guys.