Cuba has long been a favored destination for Canadian tourists, students, travelers and vacationers. Canada’s Statistics Government report indicates that in 2012 the Caribbean’s largest island was the destination of choice for more than 1,082,000 Canadians, a figure that ranks Cuba as the third most popular destination for Canadian travelers and Cuba’s largest tourist nationality. Canadians spent 8,947 nights in Cuba in 2012.
Canadian tourists will never feel alone in Cuba. Canadians look to Cuba for relaxed family, individual or group vacations. Who can deny the allure of the deep blue water and white, sandy beaches and the compelling sensuality of the Cuban experience?
Canadian residents enjoy more relaxed economic and travel restrictions than Americans or Canadians living in the US, who must conform to US Treasury Department and OFAC regulations when visiting Cuba. Many Canadians own second homes in Cuba.
Entry – Exit Requirements
The Government of Canada acknowledges that; “It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter.” Canadian officials will not and cannot intervene on behalf of a traveler who does not meet Cuba’s entry requirements.
Because entry requirements to Cuba occasionally change, Canadian travelers should take the precautionary step of contacting the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba or a Cuban consulate for the latest entry requirements in advance of departure.
All Canadians travelling to Cuba must present a valid passport. The expiration date of the passport must be effective for a period of not less than 30 days from the anticipated departure date from Cuba. Questions about Canadian-Cuban passport policy should be directed to the transportation provider.
Canadians enjoying vacations, tourism and travel in Cuba must carry a valid “tourist card” or visa. In Canada, tourist cards are most often provided by the travel provider, airline, at certain airports in Canada or by tour operators. Tourist cards can also be obtained from any Cuban government office located in Canada.
There are four basic tourist cards for Canadians traveling to Cuba:
- Tourist card or visa
- Personal visa
- Business visa
- Student visa
Canadians must obtain the visa that meets their purpose. Persons with tourist visas are not authorized to transact business in Cuba.
Canadians traveling and/or staying in Cuba are required to present the following items:
- A return air ticket – A valid return flight ticket must be provided at customs upon entry.
- Proof of sufficient funds – Canadians with “air-only tickets” must demonstrate they have sufficient finances (minimum of 50 Cuban convertible pesos per day) for the duration of their stay.
- Airport Tax – Canadians should be prepared to pay a mandatory airport tax of 25 Cuban convertible pesos upon arrival.
- Health Screenings – Persons arriving in Cuba or boarding domestic flights may be quarantined for up to seven days awaiting medical observation. This restriction only applies to persons believed to have the H1N1 flu virus or who may have come in contact with a carrier.
- Proof of Health Insurance – Cuba requires that all Canadian tourists provide proof of health insurance from a Canadian based provider. If your health insurance is from a US carrier, you will be required to purchase health insurance from a Cuban health insurance provider. Canadians who reside temporarily in Cuba must also have valid coverage. Canadians should check with their health insurance carrier to ensure details of their coverage, which can include paying incurred fees up front and receiving reimbursement later. Supplemental plans and Cuban health insurance is available to all Canadians visitors to Cuba.
- Questions about health insurance can be directed to the Embassy of Cuba in Canada.
Canadian Children Traveling to Cuba
- Cuba has strict travel protocols for Canadian children traveling with family, in groups or individually.
- Adults traveling with Children are required to show evidence of parental custody.
- In some cases, Canadian and Cuban officials may be required to provide evidence of consent of parents, the court or a legal guardian for minors traveling with another adult.
- Canadians under the age of 18 are considered minors. All minors travelling by themselves to Cuba should, without exception, contact the Embassy of Cuba in Canada to receive the latest travel requirements.
Cuba does not acknowledge dual citizenship. Consequently, Cuban-Canadians must enter Cuba on their Cuban passport and must provide a valid Canadian passport upon their return to Canada. All Cubans residing in Canada should contact the Cuban Embassy or consulate to ensure compliance with Cuba’s entry regulations.
Length of Stay
In Cuba, Canadians enjoy much more freedom of movement and longer periods of stay than do Americans. Canadian tourists who were born in Canada can remain in Cuba for up to six months as long as they comply with certain criteria.
If the tourist will remain in Cuba for more than 90 days, the tourist must contact immigration authorities prior to the 90th day in order to apply for an extension.
In some instances, Canadian citizens who were born outside Canada may not enjoy the same privileges as naturally born Canadians. It is possible that Canadians born outside the mainland will only be permitted to stay for 30 days.
Canadians who rent, own a residence or who intend to transact business while in Cuba should check with the Cuban government in advance of departure.
Location of the Embassy of Cuba in Ottawa
The Embassy of the Republic of Cuba is located in Ottawa on 388 Main Street in Old Ottawa East.
Location of the Consulate in Toronto – The Cuban consulate in Toronto has jurisdiction over matters originating in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, BC, Yukon, Northwest territories and Nunavut.
The Toronto consulate address is:
5353 Dundas West, Square Kipling, Suite 205 Toronto, ON M9B 6H8
Phone: (416) 234-8181 Fax: (416) 234-2754 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Embassy of Canada in Cuba – The Canadian Embassy is located at:
Calle 30 No. 518 (esq. 7ma) Miramar (Playa) Ciudad de la Habana Cuba
Telephone: (+53-7) 204-2516 (general) or (+53-7) 204-7097. Assistance is available Monday/Wednesday from 8:30am to 12:00.
Consulate e-mail: email@example.com
Visa applications enquiries: Havanafirstname.lastname@example.org
Website: Embassy of Canada to Cuba
Enjoy your stay and don’t forget to Experience the Magic that is Cuba!