Couple planning trip to Cuba

How to get Cuba Short-term visa?

Priyam Lahon Priyam Lahon 16 August 2021
27 view 5 min. read

It’s authentic and has a rich history, and yet, it is untouched by tourists.

We are talking about Cuba - one of the best known and favourite destinations of Central America. Cuba has it all, from pristine beaches to hearty food to exotic cigars.

So, let’s first get acquainted with the basics if you want to travel to the country during your next vacation!

Who needs a visa to Cuba?

capital of cuba

All the foreign citizens who plan to travel to Cuba will need a Cuba visa.

There are a few Cuba visa free countries that don’t need a Cuba visa for entry. However, the citizens of Cuba visa free countries must have a visa-exemption agreement, and only then they can enter Cuba without a Cuba visa.

What are the Cuba visa requirements?

cuba visa declaration

First of all, know that to travel to Cuba for tourism purposes, you have to get a Cuba Tourist visa, also known as a Cuba Tourist Card.

To get a Cuba Tourist Card, the following listed Cuba visa requirements are a must.

- You will need a Cuba visa application form.

- You should have a recognised passport/travel sized document that’s valid for at least 2 months from the date you intend to leave for Cuba.

- You should have two passport-sized photos of yourself, taken recently.

- You should have a flight ticket which includes the arrival and departure date.

- You must also have travel insurance. The Cuba travel insurance requirements require that the insurance plan must cover sudden illness, accidents, and repatriation for the duration of your stay.

- A proof of accommodation in Cuba, such as a hotel, is a must.

- If you apply by mail, do include a pre-paid envelope with sufficient stamps and an address where the Cuba Consulate or Embassy can return your documents.

- Find out whether you must send photocopies of the required documents or the originals.

- Payment of the Cuba visa fee.

How to apply for Cuba visa?

embassy of cuba

To apply for a Cuba visa, you need to go to the Cuba Embassy or Consulate nearest to you. Gather all the necessary documents and submit them directly to the Cuba Embassy or Consulate, either in person or by post.

However, note that the Cuban authorities also allow the applicants to opt for a Cuba visa online through authorised visa application agencies or travel agencies.

Apart from getting a Cuba visa online, you can also get a Cuba visa at the airport right before travelling. The Cuba visa will then be a Cuba Visa on Arrival. However, getting a Cuba Visa on Arrival may be an issue as all airports don’t offer this option.

How to get a visa for Cuba?

apply for cuba visa

To get a visa for Cuba, know that the Cuba visa process is not hard. You only need to be aware of the following listed ways:

- You can apply for a Cuba visa at the Cuba Embassy or Consulate in your country in person. Even if your country doesn’t have one, you can travel to the nearest to your country. Check the opening hours and the working days of the Cuba Embassy or Consulate. You can do so at their website and check if you have to make an appointment.

- You can send the Cuba visa application form and the necessary supporting documents to the Cuba Consulate or Embassy by post. Note that if you send the application by post, it’s necessary to include a pre-paid envelope with sufficient stamps and an address where the Consulate can send your documents. Also, it’s recommended that you check on Consulate’s website to see whether you need to send copies of your documents or the originals.

- You can also appoint a representative to apply on your behalf.

- You can apply for a Cuba visa online through an authorised visa application agency. Be sure to analyse the agency to make sure that it is legal.

You can apply for a Cuba visa through a travel agency or tour group, which has organised a Cuba trip.

- You can also apply for a Cuba visa at the airport through which you plan to travel to Cuba. However, remember that not all airports offer Cuba Tourist Visas to their passengers, so contact them beforehand to make sure.

Now, for the sake of the article, let’s get to the main question at hand.

How to get Cuba short-term visa?

calendar

As of now, the Cuba authorities offer the following listed visas:

- Cuba Tourist visa

- Cuba Family visa

- Cuba Journalist visa

- Cuba Business visa

- Cuba Work visa

- Cuba Student visa

- Cuba Medical Treatment visa

Of the above visas, the Cuba Tourist visa is the only short-term visa. Note that the Cuba Tourist visa is valid for only 30 days, though the Cuba Tourist visa is valid for 90 days for the Canadian nationals.

From the date of issuance of the Cuba Tourist visa, you can enter Cuba within 180 days. However, note that you can enter only once, as it’s a single-entry visa.

To get a Cuba short-term visa, you can do so through any of the above-mentioned ways. However, the foreign citizens will require different documents based on their nationality as for the supporting documents.

Also, it’s important to know that the necessary supporting documents you will need for the Cuba visa; have to be in Spanish. If they are not in Spanish, make sure to have a translation of these documents. You have to submit both the original documents and the translated documents.

All the documents you submit (original and translation) have to be legalised by the competent authorities in your country and then by the Cuba Embassy or Consulate.

One more important thing to note is that the Cuba authorities offer two colour types of Cuba short-term visa - the Pink Cuba visa (Pink Tourist Card) and the Green Cuba visa (Green Tourist Card).

The Pink Cuba short-term visa is exclusively for those passengers who fly in from the United States of America, while the Green Cuba short-term visa is for those other passengers who fly into Cuba from other locations or arrive in Cuba on a cruise. Note that the colour depends on the last airport that the traveller departs from their way to Cuba. If the last direct flight to Cuba is from an airport in the US, a Pink Tourist card will be required.

What is the Cuba visa processing time?

The Cuba visa processing time varies - it will depend on the Cuba Embassy or Consulate through which you have applied. Some may take between 7 to 14 days, while others may take longer or up to a month.

However, if you plan to apply for a Cuba visa online or through another method, you may get the Cuba visa quickly. At some airports, you may also be able to get a Cuba visa earlier.

How much is a visa to Cuba?

money

A visa to Cuba is not expensive, but remember that all the foreign citizens who plan to apply for a Cuba visa will have to pay a non-refundable Cuba visa fee upfront.

The Cuba Visa cost will vary, and it will depend on the method that you have applied.

The Cuba visa cost can range from $25 to $75 if you plan to apply for a Cuba visa at the Cuba Embassy or Consulate in person. However, if you plan to apply for a Cuba visa by mail, you must pay the additional postal fees.

If you want to apply for a Cuba visa online through a visa application agency, you also have to pay for the service fees in addition to the Cuba visa fee.

Do you need a Cuba visa if you travel by sea?

sailing cuba boat

Yes, you do. 

No matter what route you take to travel to Cuba, you will need a Cuba visa.

How long can you stay in Cuba with a Cuba visa?

capital of cuba

With a Cuba visa, if it’s a short-term Cuba visa, you can stay in Cuba for a maximum of 30 days. The Canadian nationals, however, can stay in Cuba for 90 days.

You can enter Cuba within 180 days, starting from the date when the Cuba visa is issued. Note that the Cuba visa is a single-entry visa.

If, as a foreign citizen, you plan to stay longer or engage in other activities in Cuba, then you have to go with the relevant Cuba visa, as the Cuba Tourist visa doesn’t support these activities.

Can a Cuba visa be extended?

flag of cuba

Yes, a Cuba visa can be extended for an additional 30 days from the Cuba immigration authorities. It means that you can stay in Cuba for a maximum of 60 days.

If you are from Canada, you can extend your Cuba Tourist visa for an additional 90 days. It means that you get permission to stay in Cuba for up to six months (180 days).

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Priyam Lahon

A world filled with words, that's where Priyam wants to reside in. Living in an ethnically diverse nation, India, she has always been interested in travelling. She has been to more than 80 cities, before deciding that travelling has always been her call, and hence, a travel content developer. As a travel content developer, she has been a regular contributor to numerous travel blogs and magazines. When she's not smashing her keyboard for churning out new content, you can find her sipping coffee at her favourite old cafe with the latest travel magazine on her hand and a stack of the same by her side.

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