Lonely Planet Writer

Obama eases US travel restrictions to Cuba

A colourful street scene in Trinidad, Cuba.
A colourful street scene in Trinidad, Cuba. Image by Bud Ellison / CC BY 2.0

Travel to Cuba will be simplified for Americans from today, as the Obama administration unveils plans to cut some of the red tape that has restricted travel for US citizens. Individuals who meet the criteria for one of the twelve general categories laid out in the regulations, no longer need to apply for a licence to travel. Travellers can now spend as much as they want in Cuba, as the per diem rate previously imposed has been scrapped, and they will be able to do so using American credit cards. Under the new rules, air carriers and travel agents will no longer need a specific licence to book authorised individuals onto trips to Cuba. Previously, the only way to book a flight to Cuba from the US was to go through an authorized travel service provider and to take what was called a ‘special authority charter flight’. It is expected that the new rules will spur US airlines such as American Airlines, Delta and JetBlue – which already offer authorised charter flights to Cuba – to launch scheduled services in the near future. Read more: skift.com