USCBP Announces Tourist Visa Waiver Program Not Available If Individual has Past Travel to Cuba
On July 6, 2023, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that nationals who have been present in any State Sponsor of Terrorism country, including Cuba, would NOT be eligible for the U.S. Tourist Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and that the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) application and Mobile App has been updated to reflect this.
Individuals who have been previously authorized for ESTA, but are now found to be ineligible, will be notified by CBP that their ESTA status has changed (individuals may also check their status on the ESTA website (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov) or the Mobile App.
The notice also indicates that individuals who hold dual nationality with a VWP country and Cuba are no longer eligible for ESTA.
To read the full announcement, click here.
The implication of this announcement is that individuals who are from a Visa Waiver Program eligible country, who would normally use ESTA to enter the U.S. as a tourist, but have been to Cuba, will now need to apply for a B-1 or B-2 tourist entry visa from a U.S. Embassy/Consulate to travel to the U.S. as a tourist.
For students/scholars who are inviting family members or friends to visit them in the U.S. will need to be sure to share this information if they will look to enter the U.S. as a tourist.
Details on the Visa Waiver Program is available here:
U.S. Department of State: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/visa-waiver-program.html
U.S. Customs and Border Protection: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/visa-waiver-program