Cuba Travel Alert
Does a travel warning mean it is illegal to travel to a country?
No. It is only illegal to travel to Cuba as a tourist.
What is a travel warning?
An official “Travel Warning” is used when the government wants travelers to consider specified risks in making travel decisions.
The State Department did issue a travel warning on September 29, 2017 urging Americans not to travel to Cuba. The US State Department has concluded that their *diplomats* were the targets of a campaign of some kind of “sonic” harassment that caused health problems. To our knowledge, no incidents of non-diplomats have been reported. The U.S. Embassy in Havana is still in operation and provides emergency services to US citizens. The US will stop issuing visas in Cuba effective immediately because of the staff reductions.
Travel to Cuba for tourist activities remains prohibited by statute. However, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) general licenses for specified categories of group travel have not changed. US sponsored organizations like Globe Aware, who meet the regulatory conditions of the general license , can continue to operate in Cuba. If you are a US citizen traveling to Cuba on our program, you do not need a visa form the Embassy in Havana. Those visas are for Cubans wanting to travel to the United States. The visa you need is from the Cuban government, and these have not been impacted.
According to a senior State Department official, the travel warning urging Americans not to travel to Cuba was issued because it is conceivable that others could be at risk to “some of the attacks against diplomats that have taken place at hotels where Americans stay.” Please note that Globe Aware volunteers do *not* stay in a hotel, but in homes privately owned by Cubans. During the time that the apparent sonic episodes took place, not only did none of our volunteers experience anything, but no non-diplomat appears to have been victimized.
Over 4 million people traveled to Cuba last year. Of those, 21 people, all diplomat related, were affected. To put that in perspective, of the approximately 1, 500,000 who visit Machu Picchu in Peru every year, the chance of having a gastro-intestinal issue or suffering from altitude sickness are far greater.
Every travel comes with some risk, and each traveler needs to assess the risks and make their own decision. Should a volunteer decide to change their program location (Transfer) less than 21 days prior to the program date, for the Cuba program location only, we will assess a $270 change fee, but otherwise, the full value of your program fee will be applied to the new program. The new program start date must be within one year of the original program start date.
- If the volunteer decides to cancel, he or she will get a 100% refund, less your non refundable deposit if you cancel at least 70 days prior to the program's start date. After 70 days, it costs us to replace you because we have sent advances from your contributions to the community.
- If you cancel 31 to 69 days prior to the program start date, you will receive a 60% refund of the balance of the minimum contribution fee. If you reschedule you receive no refund however, you will have one year from the original program date to apply the funds to another program. Again the deposit is not refundable.
- If you cancel less than 30-7 days from the program start date, you will receive a 25% refund of the balance of the minimum contribution fee. Again the deposit is not refundable.
- If you cancel less than 7 days from the program start date, you will receive no refund of the minimum contribution fee. By this time the money has been implemented into specific project for the program. Again the deposit is not refundable.