If a US citizen's passport is lost/stolen in Cuba would s/she be fined?
Replies: 31 - Last Post: Feb 18, 2013 12:47 AM Last Post By: johnavery
Feb 9, 2013 12:14 PM
If a US citizen's passport is lost/stolen in Cuba would s/she be fined?If a US citizen loses his/her passport or has it stolen in Cuba, would this result in charges and a fine for violating the travel embargo, once the passport is replaced (presumably by way of the Swiss consulate), and the person in question gets home? Does anyone know if such a situation has arisen in recent years? This hasn't happened but is a matter of curiosity.
Feb 9, 2013 12:53 PM
Feb 9, 2013 1:48 PM
2I have had occasion to deal with the US diplomats in Cuba. They never asked if I was in Cuba legally or illegally.
I believe a previous poster here once said he lost his passport while illegally in Cuba and the embassy staff replaced it without every asking his status.
It appears the diplomatic corps and the OFAC folks are from two unrelated government agencies who tend to ignore each others mission.
Feb 9, 2013 2:15 PM
Feb 9, 2013 3:23 PM
Feb 9, 2013 7:27 PM
5As chef says, OFAC are not pursuing illegal travelers anyway. Even before that, it was stated that contating the US Interests Section woulf bnot lead to OFAC problems.
I think that there was someone who used to post here who proudly had a US passport which said issued in Havana.
I am sure the fact would be logged, though.
Feb 9, 2013 8:49 PM
6Ditto above, it's a complete non issue and that has been the case for a looooong time.
Years ago I had one American pal "lose" his US Passport in Cuba just so he could get a new one that says, "Issued in Havana, Cuba." (By the way, they don't do permanent US Passports anymore in Havana, they're now the one-time/one-way travel ones just to get you home.)
Bottom line: No big deal and that has been the case for many years.
Feb 10, 2013 8:41 AM
7I believe the OP's question was based on the erroneous assumption that an American in Cuba is there illegally.
I believe that the majority of Americans visiting Cuba do so with OFAC license. I see about 10 almost full 727s or 767s leaving Miami daily carrying Americans legally to Cuba. I cannot believe there are that many arriving from other destinations without licenses. While in Cuba, the overwhelming number of Americans I happen to run into are there legally. And that does not begin to consider the number of Americans of Cuban heritage who go unnoticed. In fact, I can only remember meeting 2 Americans in all my travels who were there without license.
While TT has a number of Americans who travel without licenses, it certainly is not representative of the total.
Feb 10, 2013 9:30 AM
8I went to Cuba to go to my husband's visa interview with him. I presented my passport at the U.S. interest section. I was also intereviewed during the process. Never once asked about licensed trip vs unlicensed trip, although we did discuss how many trips I had taken. I realize this is different than losing your passport and getting it replaced there, but it is the same "embassy".
Feb 10, 2013 9:45 AM
9We run in different circles Bob because the vast majority of Americans who I know/meet in Cuba are illegal. I've been involved (through my job) with hundreds and hundreds of Americans travelling illegally. Before the OFAC licensing became so simple there were thousands of Americans flying illegally through Canada to Cuba; some flights out of Toronto I was on had just as many Americans as Canadians on them and there were 30+ flights a week.
In any case I took the OPer's query to mean what would happen to an American who lost their passport on Cub while they were visiting illegally and the answer is nothing, and as far as I know that has always been the case.
Feb 10, 2013 11:25 AM
10Cheers Terry: I sure you were right back in the days before OFAC licensing became so simple. Now your example of 30 flights per week from Toronto half full of Americans may still be true. But now there is added the example of 70 flights per week from Miami, full of 100% licensed travelers.
We tend to forget that the majority of Americans traveling to Cuba now are of recent Cuban ancestry who look and sound like everyone else in Cuba and not most of us. We also tend to overlook all those Americans going on licensed group tours.
I agree the OP's query was meant to be about unlicensed travelers. I was simply trying to dispel the thought that Americans in Cuba are typically illegal as I just don't see that being the case any more.
Feb 10, 2013 12:00 PM
11Agree with everything you say Bob, my only point was there are still loads of off-the-beaten path illegal Americans in Cuba. I see them all the time.
Feb 10, 2013 1:22 PM
12Thanks for each of these replies. I apologize for not having been more clear, but as has been surmised, my OP was meant to refer only to US citizens traveling illegally in Cuba. I hadn't realized that, as #7 writes, "It appears the diplomatic corps and the OFAC folks are from two unrelated government agencies who tend to ignore each others mission." Counter-intuitive as this observation or fact might be, the unanimous, unqualified consensus here, along with the anecdotal reports mentioned, and the knowledge and experience reflected in these replies make them quite convincing.
Thanks again for all of the above.
Feb 10, 2013 2:20 PM
Feb 10, 2013 3:08 PM
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