Posted: September 30, 2023
Many Americans are confused about visiting Cuba. But it’s not as impossible as you may think! I had a wonderful nine days in Cuba, wandering historic towns, visiting schools, and connecting with Cubans. It is an underrated destination that not enough Americans know about.
I am here to make your journey into Cuba easier with information! I’ve done lots of research and traveled myself to Cuba to tell you what you need to know.
In addition to other travel documents, US citizens need the tourist card or visa to enter Cuba. They are two names for the same pink slip. Obtaining this visa is really easy. I’ll show you how!
Can you get the Cuba visa on arrival?
No, you cannot get the visa once you arrive in Cuba. You must purchase this while in the United States.
Is the Cuba visa free?
No, it’s $85 to $100 depending on the airline you buy it from. It is a pretty expensive visa for only 30 days, so make sure you budget in some money.
How much is the Cuba visa fee per airline?
Here are the current prices if you buy it at the airport:
- American departing from Miami: $100 ($50 for visa, $50 for service fee)
- Delta departing from Miami: $100 ($50 for visa, $50 for service fee)
- Southwest departing from Tampa or Fort Lauderdale: $85 ($50 for visa, $35 for service fee)
- United departing from Newark or George Bush (Houston): $85 ($50 for visa, $35 for service fee)
I can confirm I bought my visa from Southwest in Fort Lauderdale Airport for $85 using my credit card. (You should save your cash for spending in Cuba!)
Where to get the Cuba visa?
You can buy it on the day you fly to Cuba at your departure airport in the US, either at the check-in counter or at the flight gate. (You cannot buy this on arrival in Cuba.)
I bought my visa at a stand located near the Southwest international check-in counter at Fort Lauderdale Airport.
Here are the airport locations offered depending on the airline you chose:
- Flying American or Delta? Pick it up at Miami Airport
- Flying Southwest? Pick it up at Tampa or Fort Lauderdale Airport
- Flying United? Pick it up at Newark or George Bush (Houston) Airport
You can also buy the visa online ahead of time from Cuba Travel Services, the same supplier selling it at the airport. But shipping it to your home address will cost you an additional $27. To save money, just buy it at the airport.
Steps to get your Cuba visa
Before getting your visa, you must buy an airplane ticket departing from the US to Cuba.
Then, you buy the visa. I recommend you do this on the day you fly to Cuba at the departure (NOT arrival) airport in the US, which is the cheapest option. You could also buy the visa online ahead of time and have it shipped to your home address, but this costs more money.
Get a pen and write all the required information on both sides of the visa in BLOCK letters: last name, first name, date of birth, passport number, and country of citizenship.
You must show this completed visa along with your passport and airfare to an immigration officer when you enter Cuba. They’ll give it back to you. Keep the visa with you the entire time in Cuba. Once you depart Cuba, the officer will take your visa. The visa is valid for only one entry and exit.
Cuba is only 90 miles from the US, but it seems so far. But with this visa, you’re one step closer to visiting our Caribbean neighbor. It’s quick to buy and pick up!
Make sure you’re set for Cuba by checking this master list of requirements for US citizens. Being informed will ensure you’re prepared for your Cuba visit. You’ll be rewarded with colorful streets, classic cars, rich history, and friendly smiles.