Cuban Laws

Can I take art works out Cuba?

Visitors to Cuba can acquire art works – paintings, sculptures, whatever – in three ways: from commercial galleries, from handicraft fairs or directly from artists. As in many countries of the world, regulations (and fees) exist for taking these art works out of the country.

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If I have a visa with a “family stay” stamp that permits me to stay in the home of family or friends, can I use that same visa to stay in a casa particular at another time during that same visit?

Yes, on a “family stay” visa you are permitted to also stay in a casa particular or legal homestay during the same trip to Cuba.

However, family stay visas are NOT transferrable to other stays with other family or friends. If, during the same visit to Cuba, you have Cuban friends in two different parts of the country, or even in two different parts of the same city, you will need to apply for a second “family stay” visa when you change location. It is up to the discretion of immigration whether or not to issue any such visas.

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I’m Canadian and I have a Cuban boyfriend. Can we stay together in hotels or legal homestays? Anywhere in the country?

In response to a direct question about such matters, the Cuban immigration offices in Habana Vieja have said that a foreigner and Cuban are permitted to stay together in either a hotel or legal homestay, including in tourist areas such as Varadero, Viñales, Trinidad, etc., as long as both are officially registered in these installations. In the case of a hotel, this means that the Cuban is registered as a guest sharing the same room as the tourist.

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I would like to stay with my friends in Cuba. Can I do this on a tourist visa?

No. Your tourist visa will have to be changed to what is called a “family stay visa”. You will need to go to immigration with the owner of the home where you wish to stay, and you must also take your passport and visa. Sometimes the owner needs to show the “propriedad” (ownership papers) of the home. You will also need CUC 40 in “sellos de timbre” (tax stamps). It is up to the discretion of immigration whether or not the “family visa” will be issued. Until you have this visa, you cannot legally stay in the home but must make other accommodation arrangements at either a hotel or legally rented casa particular.

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Can I extend my tourist visa to stay longer in Cuba?

To extend a tourist visa one must go to the immigration office indicated below with one’s passport and visa. In general, there is a charge of CUC 25 in special “tax stamps” (officially known as “Especies Timbradas” but commonly referred to as “sellos de timbre”), which are available at some banks. You MUST have an official receipt showing purchase of the stamps and you will be asked to show identification when you buy them. The immigration office can direct you to the nearest location where these stamps are available.

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Do I need to carry my passport at all times?

Bring a photo copy of your passport. It’s all you’ll need as identification when you walk around Havana or any other large city. However, when you need to cash travelers’ cheques or get money from a credit card or rent a car or check into a hotel, you’ll need to show your actual passport, but at all other times, a photo copy of your passport is adequate identification.

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