Delta Scheduled Service to Cuba – FAQs Updated March 21, 2017
This article was updated January 2018. There is new information available in the Travel Policies for Cuba section. All new information is indicated in red text and includes updates on baggage information.
As of December 1, 2016, Delta Air Lines began serving Havana, Cuba from New York-JFK, Atlanta and Miami, resuming operations of daily, nonstop scheduled service to the Caribbean island for the first time in almost 55 years.
As service to Cuba moves forward, there are industry-wide changes to how Cuban-bound U.S. travelers are booked for scheduled air service on U.S. flag carriers, compared to historic Charter service to Cuba. Delta intends to be at the forefront of being easy to do business with for booking U.S.-Cuba scheduled air service.
1. From which cities will Delta flights to Cuba depart?
Delta Air Lines will begin serving Havana, Cuba this winter from New York-JFK, Atlanta, and Miami. Connections are available on Delta’s extensive network.1
2. When did Delta begin flights to Cuba?
As of December 1, 2016, Delta began operating commercial service to Havana.
3. Will connections be available to and from Cuba?
Domestic connections will be available on Delta’s extensive network. International connections will likely become available after communications processes are developed to insure foreign travelers to Cuba understand and comply with the unique U.S. legal restrictions applicable to all passengers aboard U.S. carriers.
4. How can I book travel to Cuba?
You can book travel to Cuba through all GDS channels, as well as direct channels (delta.com, mobile, reservations, etc.) and all travel agencies.
5. If a passenger’s travel begins in another U.S. city, does the passenger need to check in again upon arrival to their U.S. gateway to Cuba?
Passengers will not be required to check in again for their flight to Cuba; however, passengers will be required to complete and submit the OFAC certification form at the gateway departure gate, if not previously submitted electronically*. Passengers failing to submit an OFAC certification form will not be permitted to travel. Non-Cuban citizens must have a visa to enter Cuba. Travelers may obtain a visa (e.g. tourist card, business visa, etc.) through the Cuban Embassy or via third-party vendors prior to travel. If not purchased in advance, travelers will be required to purchase a tourist card (Cuba’s entry visa) for $50 at the gateway departure gate, prior to boarding. Additional details regarding the process for purchasing and presenting tourist cards will be provided as the process develops.
Cuban-born travelers have different requirements. Please refer to the “Cuban-Born and/or Cuban Nationals” section for more information.
*Electronic submission will be available through delta.com and My Trips later in 2016, and will be available via kiosk and mobile check-in in 2017. Through the automated process, the OFAC certification may be pre-submitted to Delta electronically prior to travel. If a traveler does not fill out and submit the OFAC certification electronically, the passenger will be required to fill out, sign, and submit a form at the gateway departure gate. All travelers must submit an OFAC certification or they will not be permitted to travel.
6. Will passengers be able to view their itinerary on My Trips?
Yes, passengers will be able to view their flight itineraries on My Trips.
7. On return from Cuba, do passengers need to recheck their bags to their final destinations upon arrival at the U.S. port of entry (Atlanta, New York, Miami)?
The same process for other international travel applies to travel from Cuba. Passengers will be required to pass through U.S. Customs & Border Patrol, collect their bags, clear U.S. Customs, and recheck their bags to their final destination prior to proceeding to their connecting flights.
1Initially, Delta will prohibit international connections to avoid misunderstandings about U.S. legal restrictions. Once communications processes are adequate to inform foreign passengers of the U.S. restrictions, Delta will remove these prohibiters.
8. What documentation will a passenger need to travel to Cuba?
The following is required to travel to Cuba:
a. Passport: Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the return date of a passenger’s trip to Cuba.
b. Cuban visa: Upon arrival in Cuba, all travelers (excluding Cuban-born) from the U.S. must present an entry visa (e.g. tourist card, business visa, etc.) as required by the Cuban Government based on traveler's nationality. Tourist cards will be available for purchase and distributed to passengers at the gateway departure gate prior to boarding their flight.
c. Medical Insurance: Cuba requires visitors to obtain Cuba-specific medical insurance, and a temporary policy will be automatically included in the cost of the passenger’s fare (a $25 surcharge). Passengers must retain their boarding pass during their stay in Cuba. The boarding pass will serve as evidence of the insurance policy should any emergency medical services be required during the trip.
d. OFAC Certification: U.S. law restricts travel to Cuba to certain authorized travel categories. Each passenger will be required to submit a signed form certifying the passenger is traveling under one of the 12 travel categories authorized by Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The traveler is responsible for qualifying under one of these travel categories.
The 12 travel categories are general categories, but each requires travelers to meet certain requirements. Anyone planning travel to Cuba should review the legal restrictions contained in the Cuban Asset Control Regulations at 31 CFR § 515. Links to the specific requirements for each travel category are provided below. More information can be found in the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Cuba FAQs.
OFAC Travel Categories
Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
Professional research or professional meetings
Educational activities and people-to-people exchanges
Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
Support for the Cuban people
Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials
Travel related to certain authorized export transactions
Please refer to the U.S. Department of State for more information and recommendations.
9. Do all passengers need to sign the OFAC certification?
Yes, all passengers (U.S. and non-U.S.) traveling on a U.S. carrier must sign the OFAC certification.
10. Is travel to Cuba for tourist activities permitted?
No, travel for traditional tourist activities is prohibited. Travel to Cuba is only permitted for the 12 categories authorized by OFAC, and travelers are expected to maintain a full-schedule of activities related to their category of travel.
11. Are all passengers required to have a visa for travel to Cuba?
Yes. Cuba requires all U.S. and non-U.S. citizens (excluding Cuban-born) to have a visa (e.g. tourist card, business visa, etc.) to enter the country.
12. How much does a tourist card cost?
The cost for a tourist card is $50.
13. How long is the tourist card for Cuba valid?
A tourist card can be used once within 180 days after the date of issue. The tourist card is valid for a single-entry for a period of up to 30 days.
Upon arrival in Cuba, a portion of the tourist card is retained by immigration authorities, and the remaining portion is collected at the airport prior to departure from Cuba.
14. Are there any additional requirements if a passenger is traveling to Cuba for business?
In lieu of the tourist card, business passengers traveling to Cuba may require a business visa that can be obtained through the Cuban Embassy. Any passenger without a valid visa will be required to purchase a tourist card.
Questions about this business visa requirement should be directed to the Cuban Embassy.
15. Do passengers need medical insurance while traveling in Cuba?
Yes, Cuba requires visitors to obtain Cuba-specific medical insurance, and a temporary policy will be automatically included in the cost of the passenger’s fare (a $25 surcharge). Passengers must retain their boarding pass during their stay in Cuba. The boarding pass will serve as evidence of the insurance policy should any emergency medical services be required during the trip.
16. How much does a temporary policy for Cuba-specific medical insurance cost?
The cost for a temporary medical insurance policy is $25, which will be automatically included in the cost of the passenger’s fare.
17. How long is the temporary medical insurance policy for Cuba valid?
These temporary medical insurance plans are valid for a period of up to 30 days. If a medical insurance policy is required for more than 30 days, subsequent policies may be purchased while in Cuba.
18. How does a passenger obtain a tourist card and medical insurance to travel to Cuba?
Travelers may obtain a visa (e.g. tourist card, business visa, etc.) through the Cuban Embassy or via third-party vendors prior to travel. If not purchased in advance, travelers will be required to purchase a tourist card (Cuba’s entry visa) for $50 at the gateway departure gate, prior to boarding.
Delta is also working toward an electronic solution to simplify the process for Cuba-bound travelers to purchase their Cuba tourist card prior to travel. Additional details regarding the process for purchasing and presenting tourist cards will be provided as the process develops.
A temporary Cuba-specific medical insurance plan will be automatically included in the cost of the passenger’s fare (a $25 surcharge). The passenger’s boarding pass serves as evidence of insurance and should be retained during the passenger’s stay in Cuba.
19. When purchasing the tourist card, what form of payment is accepted?
Delta accepts credit and debit cards. Debit cards must bear a major credit card logo to be valid for acceptance.
20. Do minors need a tourist card and Cuba-specific medical insurance for travel to Cuba?
Yes. All individuals (excluding Cuban-born) traveling to Cuba must have a visa (e.g. tourist card, etc.), regardless of age and all travelers, regardless of age, are required to purchase Cuba-specific medical insurance. The cost of the medical insurance will be collected with the passenger’s fare (a $25 surcharge).
21. What are the OFAC regulations with regard to Cuba? How does a passenger qualify for an OFAC license?
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has authorized a general license for travel fitting within 12 categories of authorized travel that previously required a specific license (i.e., an application and a case-by-case determination).
Travel-related transactions are permitted by general license for certain travel related to the following activities, subject to specific criteria and conditions in each travel category:
- 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 information materials
- Certain authorized export transactions.
For more information regarding OFAC’s regulations regarding Cuba and guidelines for the OFAC license, please refer to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. More information can be found in the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Cuba FAQs.
22. Who is required to submit an OFAC certification?
Any traveler (including both U.S. and non-U.S. passport holders) flying on a U.S.-based airline to Cuba will be required to sign and submit an OFAC certification prior to travel.
23. How does a passenger complete and submit the OFAC certification?
Delta is working toward an electronic solution to simplify the process for Cuba-bound travelers to submit their signed OFAC certification to Delta. Electronic submission will be available through delta.com, online check-in and My Trips in February 2017. In 2Q 2017, customers will also be able to submit electronically via airport kiosks. These enhancements will allow customers to pre-submit OFAC certification to Delta electronically prior to travel.
Until the automated process has been fully instituted, Delta will provide a paper form at the gateway departure gate, for the traveler to complete, sign, and submit. All travelers must submit an OFAC certification or they will not be permitted to travel.
24. Do passengers need to prove the reason for travel that is selected on the OFAC certification to Delta Air Lines?
No, Delta Air Lines only requires passengers to fill out and sign the form, which Delta will maintain for five years, as required by U.S. law. The passenger traveling is responsible for ensuring that the passenger qualifies under the applicable OFAC license selected on the form.
25. Where can I go to learn more?
There are a number of considerations for travel to Cuba. Please keep in mind any requirements or additional documentation that the traveler may be required to have. Stay up-to-date on any additional or evolving travel requirements. Additional travel information can be found on the websites of the U.S. and Cuban governments:
- U.S. Department of the Treasury
- U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Cuba FAQs
- Embassy of Cuba in the USA
26. Are there any restrictions for foreign nationals traveling to Cuba from the U.S.?
Foreign nationals traveling to Cuba from the United States are required by U.S. law to comply with the same requirements as U.S. citizens. All passengers traveling on U.S. carriers may only travel to Cuba for one of the 12 OFAC authorized travel categories. All passengers, including foreign nationals, will be required to certify their reason of travel is within one of the 12 travel categories authorized by OFAC. Leisure travel is currently prohibited from the U.S, and thus, is not one of the OFAC categories. Foreign nationals traveling to Cuba for tourist purposes should not attempt to book travel on a U.S. carrier.
Initially, Delta will restrict international connecting traffic from flights to/from Cuba to avoid any potential lapses in communication regarding the U.S. law restrictions. After Delta’s Cuba operations are satisfactorily established and communications processes for foreign travelers are developed and verified, Delta will remove the international connection restrictions.
In addition, all passengers traveling on U.S. carriers will be required to purchase medical insurance from ESICUBA (the Cuba government insurance provider), which will be sold as part of the cost of the ticket. If the foreign national has medical insurance that is accepted in Cuba, they may request a refund directly from ESICUBA. Delta will not issue refunds for Cuban medical insurance.
Travelers without a valid travel document for entering Cuba (e.g., tourist card, business visa, Cuban passport, etc.) will also be required to obtain a visa or tourist card, with the exception of Cuban citizens or dual citizens born in Cuba. Delta will make tourist cards available for purchase at the U.S. gateway departure gates prior to boarding on the day of departure.
27. What do I need to know about departing from Cuba?
Upon departing from Cuba, you’ll need to present your passport, the boarding pass for your departing flight and the other half of your tourist card to Cuban immigrations authorities. You will not be allowed to leave Cuba without presenting the remaining portion of the card.
28. If a passenger is a SkyMiles® member, can the passenger earn miles for travel to Cuba?
SkyMiles members may earn miles on Delta-operated flights to Cuba. However, travel to Cuba on flights operated by partner airlines is not eligible for mileage accrual.
Please note, passengers earn miles for the base fare and carrier imposed surcharges, but not for taxes and fees.
29. Can a passenger use miles, Miles + Cash, Delta eCertificates, Delta Gift Cards or eGift Cards to book a trip to Cuba?
Passengers may use miles, Miles + Cash, and use Delta eCertificates, Delta Gift Cards and eGift cards to book travel to Cuba on Delta-operated flights only.
30. Are Medallion® Complimentary Upgrades available?
Medallion Complimentary Upgrades are available on Delta-operated flights to Cuba. Partner-operated flights to Cuba are ineligible for Complimentary Upgrades.
31. Are Mileage Upgrade Awards available?
Mileage Upgrade Awards for SkyMiles members are available on Delta-operated flights to Cuba. Partner-operated flights to Cuba are ineligible for Mileage Upgrade Awards.
32. Will passengers receive all Medallion benefits on travel to and from Cuba?
Medallion members will receive certain benefits such as Complimentary Upgrades, Medallion Mileage Bonus and Complimentary Preferred Seats on travel to and from Cuba.
As we get closer to departure, we’ll provide more information regarding all benefits that will be available for Medallion members traveling to and from Cuba.
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D. TRAVEL AGENCIES
33. How can I book travel to Cuba?
Travel agencies are able to book travel to Cuba by following their specific GDS activation process, as outlined below:
- Travelport agencies in the U.S. (Apollo & Worldspan), upon activation, may book air travel pursuant to the terms of an addendum to their agreement with Travelport. Please contact your Travelport representative for more information. Note: Galileo agencies are located outside the U.S. and currently book Cuba from destinations outside the U.S.
- Amadeus agencies using the Amadeus Selling Platform and Amadeus Selling Platform Connect, in the US and US territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, US Minor Outlying Islands/Caribbean, and America Samoa), are able to book Cuba. Contact your account manager to review how your agency can unlock access. Access to this content is not automatically enabled.
- Sabre travel agencies are able to sell Cuba by downloading the automated Cuba Traveler Certification Red App into their Sabre Red workspace. Please contact Sabre for additional information.
34. Can Delta segments be combined with other airline (OA) segments?
Effective November 30, 2016, Delta will inhibit the sale of tickets issued on Delta 006 ticket stock, for other airline (OA) or multi-airline itineraries that include Cuba, where Delta is not the operating carrier to/from Cuba.
35. Are there any travel requirements for travel to Cuba?
Yes. Please see the “Travel Requirements” section for more information regarding the documentation a passenger will need to travel to Cuba.
36. Will Delta collect and maintain an OFAC certification from each traveler?
Yes, Delta will collect and maintain the passenger’s signed OFAC certification in our records for five years, as required by U.S. law.
37. Is a passenger’s RFTV (Reason for Travel) SSR sufficient for collection of the OFAC certification?
No. U.S. law requires travelers to sign and submit an OFAC certification prior to travel. Listing the travel category in an SSR does not constitute a certification or comply with the OFAC requirements.
38. In addition to Delta, is the travel agency required to maintain an OFAC certification from each traveler?
Please consult your company’s Legal department to determine your company’s policy regarding collection and retention of the OFAC certification.
39. Are there any other licenses – or exceptions to the 12 OFAC categories – that a passenger may present as an authorization for travel?
Yes, some passengers may have a specific license issued by OFAC that permits travel outside of the 12 general license authorized categories for travel. Also, Cuban citizens returning to Cuba are authorized by general license to travel to Cuba.
40. Are there other important requirements for Cuba passengers?
Yes. Complete passenger contact information, including but not limited to phone fields and email addresses, is required to be in the PNR. This contact information is important in the event that Delta must contact passengers concerning their travel to/from Cuba.
41. How will the addition of service to Cuba affect my contract and incentives with Delta?
Please contact your Sales Account Executive for additional information regarding program details for Cuba.
42. Will my passengers receive priority benefits through programs like Delta Edge?
As we get closer to departure, we’ll provide more information regarding benefits and programs that will be available traveling to and from Cuba.
43. What are the specific baggage allowances for travel to Cuba?
Please visit delta.com to find specific baggage allowances for travel to Cuba.
44. Are there any weight restrictions for checking bags to Cuba?
Please visit delta.com to find additional baggage information for travel to Cuba.
45. What power plugs do I need in Cuba?
Most of Cuba uses a 110-volt current with the standard American two- or three-prong outlets. However, some newer hotels and resorts use 220-volt currents and only accept the European two-prong round prongs.
Travelers should bring personal appliances rated for 110-volt current, with U.S.-style prongs or converters, and carry a three-to-two-prong adapter for any appliance that has a three-prong plug.
46. What can I bring back from Cuba?
U.S. travelers may bring back up to $400 worth of merchandise acquired in Cuba. However, travelers may bring back no more than $100 in alcohol and/or tobacco products, for personal use only.
47. Can I bring Cuban-origin cigars and/or Cuban-origin rum or other alcohol back to the U.S. upon my return?
U.S. travelers may purchase alcohol and tobacco products while in Cuba for personal consumption while there.
In addition, U.S. travelers may return to the United States with up to $100 worth of alcohol and/or tobacco products, for personal use only.
48. Do I need any immunizations prior to my travel?
Please refer to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for the most current information and recommendations.
49. How safe is it to travel to Cuba?
Please refer to the U.S. Department of State for the most current information and recommendations.
50. What currency is used in Cuba?
Cuba uses the convertible peso (CUC) and Cuban pesos (moneda nacional, abbreviated CUP or sometimes MN). Cuban convertible pesos (CUC) are the primary currency used by visitors to Cuba. U.S. dollars (USD) are not accepted as currency in Cuba.
Money can be converted in Cuba at Cadecas (houses of exchange), which are located at the airport and hotels. Currency exchange is currently $1.00 U.S. dollar (USD) to 1.00 Cuban convertible peso (CUC). However, please note that service charges may be high (around 13%) when exchanging money from USD to CUC, and that sometimes other currencies provide a better exchange rate.
Although both currencies are referred to as “pesos”, the Cuban peso (CUP) is not widely used by visitors and carries a different exchange rate. The current exchange rate is about 25 CUP to 1 CUC, so travelers should pay attention to which kind of peso is being used in any transactions.
51. Are credit, debit or ATM cards accepted in Cuba?
With very few exceptions credit, debit, and ATM cards issued by U.S. banks may not yet work in Cuba. Passengers should arrive in Cuba with enough cash to pay for all expenses during the trip, including hotels, meals, and any excursions planned.
52. Who can passengers contact if they lose their passport in Cuba?
Passengers may contact the : https://cu.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/emergency-contact/ at (53)(7)-839-4100 or by email at ACSHavana@state.gov.
For emergencies involving American Citizens when the American Citizens Services Unit is closed or after hours (for U.S. Citizens only), passengers should call the main switchboard at (+53)(7) 839-4100 and dial 1 to speak with the emergency operator.
53. Is the water safe to drink in Cuba?
Please refer to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for the most current information and recommendations.
54. Are there rooms and facilities available for disabled passengers in Cuba?
Few hotels have facilities that are equipped for disabled travelers, and public and private transportation is not geared toward disabled travelers.
Disabled passengers may choose to research resources and facilities equipped to handle their needs before traveling to Cuba.
- Asociación Cubana de Limitados Físicos-Motores (The Cuban Disabled Association), Calle 6 no. 106, between Avenidas 1 and 3, Miramar, Havana (tel. 7-209-3099; www.aclifim.sld.cu), is a Cuban organization charged with ensuring accessibility and lobbying for rights. The association is a member of the Disabled Peoples' International (DPI), and probably the best contact for travelers with disabilities in Cuba.
- The Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (tel. 212-447-7284; www.sath.org) offers a wealth of travel resources for those with all types of disabilities and informed recommendations on destinations, access guides, travel agents, tour operators, vehicle rentals, and companion services.
55. Are there additional requirements for Cuban citizens traveling to Cuba?
Yes, there are additional requirements for Cuban citizens traveling to Cuba.
The Cuban government requires U.S.-Cuban dual citizens who departed Cuba on or after January 1, 1971 to enter and depart Cuba using a Cuban passport. Using a Cuban passport for this purpose does not jeopardize one's U.S. citizenship; however, such persons must use their U.S. passports to enter and depart the United States. Cuban-Americans who departed Cuba before January 1, 1971 may travel to Cuba on their U.S. passport but must apply for an HE-11 visa from the Cuban Embassy.
Please note that Cuban born individuals that left the country on or after Jan 1, 1971 must have the entry permit on their Cuban passport or other type of visa (e.g.: H1 visa) issued by the Cuban Embassy.
Cuban nationals that are returning to Cuba (within a 24 month period from the travel date to US) must show stamped Cuban passport with the date in which the person travelled to the US and/or "tarjeta embarque/desembarque”. If the 24 month period expired the person will need an "Habilitacion” or other type of entry permit.