ESTA ban eased by US for previous tourists to Cuba
New dates for Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism
Travel to the United States is now easier for previous visitors to Cuba, thanks to changes in visa conditions.
The US Department of State had most recently designated Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism on 12 January 2021.
This means that people who travelled to Cuba on or after 1 March 2011 and before 12 January 2021 can now apply for the visa waiver known as Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), instead of a US Visa.
Previously, it had insisted that the ESTA ban was backdated to 1 March 2011.
For British travellers, the US visa application involves an in-person appointment in London or Belfast and the cost of the visa is $160 (£130), whereas the ESTA involves an online process and costs $21.
If a traveller is found to have visited a country designated as State Sponsor of Terrorism, such as Cuba, they are not eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program and must apply for a visa to enter the US. Therefore, if a traveller entered Cuba since 12 January 2021 and wishes to travel to the US, they must still apply for a US visa.