THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
June 16, 2017
Fact Sheet on Cuba Policy
President Donald J. Trump is changing the policy of the United States toward Cuba to achieve four objectives:
- Enhance compliance with United States law—in particular the provisions that govern the embargo of Cuba and the ban on tourism;
- Hold the Cuban regime accountable for oppression and human rights abuses ignored under the Obama policy;
- Further the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and those of the Cuban people; and
- Lay the groundwork for empowering the Cuban people to develop greater economic and political liberty.
Summary of Key Policy Changes:
The new policy channels economic activities away from the Cuban military monopoly, Grupo de Administración Empresarial (GAESA), including most travel-related transactions, while allowing American individuals and entities to develop economic ties to the private, small business sector in Cuba. The new policy makes clear that the primary obstacle to the Cuban people’s prosperity and economic freedom is the Cuban military’s practice of controlling virtually every profitable sector of the economy. President Trump’s policy changes will encourage American commerce with free Cuban businesses and pressure the Cuban government to allow the Cuban people to expand the private sector.
The policy enhances travel restrictions to better enforce the statutory ban on United States tourism to Cuba. Among other changes, travel for non-academic educational purposes will be limited to group travel. The self-directed, individual travel permitted by the Obama administration will be prohibited. Cuban-Americans will be able to continue to visit their family in Cuba and send them remittances.
The policy reaffirms the United States statutory embargo of Cuba and opposes calls in the United Nations and other international forums for its termination. The policy also mandates regular reporting on Cuba’s progress—if any—toward greater political and economic freedom.
The policy clarifies that any further improvements in the United States-Cuba relationship will depend entirely on the Cuban government’s willingness to improve the lives of the Cuban people, including through promoting the rule of law, respecting human rights, and taking concrete steps to foster political and economic freedoms.
The policy memorandum directs the Treasury and Commerce Departments to begin the process of issuing new regulations within 30 days. The policy changes will not take effect until those Departments have finalized their new regulations, a process that may take several months. The Treasury Department has issued Q&As that provide additional detail on the impact of the policy changes on American travelers and businesses.
Travel to Cuba for tourist activities remains prohibited by statute. There are 12 categories of authorized travel. The Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued general licenses in all 12 categories of authorized travel, subject to appropriate conditions.
The 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba are: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials; and certain authorized export transactions.
However, the President instructed Treasury to issue regulations that will end individual people-to-people travel. Individual people-to-people travel is educational travel that: (i) does not involve academic study pursuant to a degree program; and (ii) does not take place under the auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact.
If you are an individual or a group and the purpose of your travel to Cuba doesn´t fall within any of the 12 authorized categories and you still want to go, please follow the steps below for knowing what to do and for your best trip options through a third country.