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US rules permitting Cuba travel for authorized purposes take effect

US rules permitting Cuba travel for authorized purposes take effect
US rules permitting travel to Cuba for authorized purposes, including allowing by general license the provision of carrier services by vessel, take effect today.

These build on the changes put into place by the US departments of treasury and commerce in January and further deliver on President Obama's new direction toward relations with Cuba laid out last December.

The US embargo of Cuba remains in place and travel for tourist activities is still prohibited.

What's allowed, as earlier reported, is travel under 12 authorized categories including educational and religious activities, humanitarian and family purposes. This encompasses the people-to-people educational activities planned by those cruise operators that have obtained licenses from the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

​Under the final rule published in the US Federal Register today, transportation by vessel of authorized travelers between the US and Cuba only and without stops in third countries will be authorized by general license. Certain related lodging services aboard vessels used for such travel will also be authorized. 

In addition, certain categories of vessels will be authorized for temporary sojourns to Cuba. These include passenger vessels for use in the transportation of passengers and/or items.

Frequently asked questions about the new rules are answered by the US Department of the Treasury here.