You are currently viewing Ineligibility for Travelers Who Have Been Present in Cuba

In early July 2023, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced ESTA ineligibility for travelers who have been present in Cuba.

This announcement renders ineligible individuals who are nationals of countries belonging to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) who:

  1. Have been present in Cuba, or
  2. Have a dual nationality with a VWP country and Cuba.

As a result, these individuals will not be able to travel to the United States through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). 

Despite this news, it does not mean that those affected cannot travel to the US, furthermore, they will be able to do so by applying for some type of American visa.

Therefore, travelers affected by this new CBP announcement who want to come to the United States should not hesitate to contact us in advance. Curbelo Law is an immigration law firm in New Jersey that has more than 10 years of experience helping national foreigners to become legal in the country.

What Is This CBP Announcement About?

Near the end of January 2021, the United States Department of State (DOS) designated Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism. Therefore, this made certain individuals ineligible to travel under the VWP.

Since then, to reflect these changes, on July 6, 2023, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) updated:

  1. The application form for the ESTA, and
  2. The ESTA mobile application.

It should be noted that there are no exemptions for presence in Cuba on behalf of international organizations or with dual nationality for VWP countries or Cuba.

What Will Happen To Travelers Affected By The ESTA Restriction?

Individuals who are affected by the restriction and already have an approved ESTA permit should be aware that their authorization will be revoked. In view of this decision, those affected will receive a notification indicating that their ESTA status has changed.

Similarly, individuals can check their updated status on the ESTA mobile app or on their website. We remind you that this does not mean that you cannot travel to the US, you just need to apply for a visa at an American embassy or consulate.

Limited Exceptions Based On ESTA Ineligibility

Under the law, military personnel and government employees are exempt from the travel restrictions imposed on the VWP. However, this is based on their presence in Cuba if it was to fulfill their duties as:

  • Officers on behalf of the military service of the Armed Forces of the United States, or
  • Full-time government employees from a VWP country.

Curbelo Law Available To Travelers To The United States

Traveling to the United States requires compliance with a large number of processes and documents necessary to legally access the country. If this is not fulfilled, it could lead to a series of immigration penalties that would prevent the national foreigner from re-entering.

To avoid these negative aspects, we urge all our clients to contact us immediately to evaluate their situation and help them become legal.

Therefore, all those who require our help, can communicate by our telephone number, by E-mail or by scheduling an appointment with the office, located in Ridgewood, New Jersey.