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US citizen visits Cuba via Canada

I have a US friend wants to go to Havana taking pictures. He will fly out from Montreal. Does he need a Visa prior to arrive at Cuba airport?. I know Cuba do not stamp on the passport do you think any problem that can happen to my friend when he returns to the US. Thanks.

I don’t see it as a problem. No Visa required if it’s for a short visit. Happens all the time… Americans fly out of Montreal to go to Cuba. On most rips to Cuba we meet up with very nice familys from NY state. I think they have to make sure not to have their american pasport stamped in Cuba. Entry or Exit as I think it could present a problem when re-entering the USA.

good luck ! Maybe your friend can share some pictures on the board when he/ she gets back from Havana.

[quote=@nhathanh]I have a US friend wants to go to Havana taking pictures. He will fly out from Montreal. Does he need a Visa prior to arrive at Cuba airport?. I know Cuba do not stamp on the passport do you think any problem that can happen to my friend when he returns to the US. Thanks.[/quote]He needs either a visa or a tourist card. The tourist card is supplied by the tour operators, and you pick it up as you board the plane in Canada, they collect the first half as you arrive in Cuba, and the other half on the return trip, so there is nothing in the passport. However the US authorities certainly know about everyone who goes to Cuba from Canada, because they require the passenger records of everyone who flies over US territory. But it’s pretty clear they don’t enforce the rules unless the traveller is blatant about it, or the US border officer happens to dislike Cuba more strongly than most. They have near infinite discretion, so if you get officer Gonzales whose father rafted to Miami in 1985, you may be in trouble regardless. I have two US friends who have been to Cuba via Toronto, and in both cases their return to the US was completely unremarkable.

Tell your friend not to go in winter, hard to explain the tan.

[quote=@trent][quote=@nhathanh]I have a US friend wants to go to Havana taking pictures. He will fly out from Montreal. Does he need a Visa prior to arrive at Cuba airport?. I know Cuba do not stamp on the passport do you think any problem that can happen to my friend when he returns to the US. Thanks.[/quote]He needs either a visa or a tourist card. The tourist card is supplied by the tour operators, and you pick it up as you board the plane in Canada, they collect the first half as you arrive in Cuba, and the other half on the return trip, so there is nothing in the passport. However the US authorities certainly know about everyone who goes to Cuba from Canada, because they require the passenger records of everyone who flies over US territory. But it’s pretty clear they don’t enforce the rules unless the traveller is blatant about it, or the US border officer happens to dislike Cuba more strongly than most. They have near infinite discretion, so if you get officer Gonzales whose father rafted to Miami in 1985, you may be in trouble regardless. I have two US friends who have been to Cuba via Toronto, and in both cases their return to the US was completely unremarkable.
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thanks for that… I forgot about the tourist card when I commented. I wasn’t aware that the us authorities knew about all info about flights over the US. I guess BIG BROTHER is always watching :wink:

[quote=@ald1]thanks for that… I forgot about the tourist card when I commented. I wasn’t aware that the us authorities knew about all info about flights over the US. I guess BIG BROTHER is always watching :wink: [/quote]Actually, officially the APIS (Advanced Passenger Information System) only requires crew details for US overflights “at the present time”. But they won’t reject passenger records if the airlines send them, and without a doubt the NSA has had them all for some years in any case.

Thanks. I forward this to my friend and he makes the decision

As an FYI, for a time when I lived in Amherstburg, ON, they had direct flights to Cuba and according to a friend who worked at the airport, ~ 75% of travellers leaving that location were Americans, many who were repeat travellers and never had an issue.

That being said, ““YMMV”” (Your Mileage May Vary).

He will not have issue … travel agency that he fly with or better say air company will give tourist visa inside airplane so that they can use it once they land in Cuba !! I see many US citizens lately in Cuba