Following the United States government’s easing of sanctions against Cuba last year, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) loosened travel restrictions for U.S. persons. At the beginning of last year, OFAC authorized 12 categories of travel (detailed here). Effective January 27, 2016, OFAC has further eased travel restrictions within certain of those categories.
- Exportation, Importation, or Transmission of Information or Informational Materials: OFAC has now authorized travel-related and other transactions directly incident to professional media or artistic productions of information or informational materials for exportation, importation, or transmission. This includes the filming or production of media programs (such as movies and television programs); music recordings; and the creation of artworks in Cuba by persons who are regularly employed in or have demonstrated professional experience in a field relevant to such professional media or artistic productions. This authorization was previously limited to travel to/from Cuba that is directly incident to the exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials.
- Professional Meeting in Cuba: OFAC has now authorized travel to/from Cuba to organize professional meetings or conferences in Cuba. This authorization was previously limited to travel to/from Cuba for attendance at professional meetings or conferences. The purpose of the meetings must directly relate to the individual’s profession, professional background, or area of expertise, and should not promote tourism in Cuba.
- Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions: OFAC has now authorized travel to/from Cuba to organize certain athletic competitions by amateur or semi-professional athletes/teams, as well as public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic competitions, and exhibits in Cuba. This authorization was previously limited to travel to/from Cuba for participation in such events.
- Humanitarian Projects: OFAC has now authorized travel to/from Cuba for disaster preparedness and response. OFAC had previously authorized travel to/from Cuba for only certain projects, including medical- and health-related projects; environmental projects; projects involving formal and non-formal education training on topics such as entrepreneurship and business, journalism, and advocacy; agricultural and rural development; and certain micro-financing projects.