Getting a Cuba tourist card
  • Hi Terry and others

    I have read all the postings about
    Australians obtaining a tourist card for Cuba but none seem to precisely cover
    my situation. My wife and I are going on a Caribbean cruise with Noble
    Caledonia (“Island Hopping in The Caribbean’) from 19 March to 2 April 2014.
    The cruise begins in Georgetown, Cayman Islands and the first 3 ports are
    Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Santiago de Cuba in Cuba.

    We are flying to Cayman Islands
    from Miami. Noble Caledonia states that we need tourist cards for Cuba and
    Dominican Republic and that they will send information on how to obtain
    approximately 12 weeks before departure and to not try to obtain in the
    meantime. However as we will probably be the only Australians on the cruise and
    all the rest will be Brits, they will probably have a special arrangement for
    them but not for us.

    What do you recommend I do, Terry or anyone else who can

    One possible option would be to obtain them
    at the airport at Georgetown, Grand Cayman but will that be possible if we are
    not taking a flight to Cuba? Also is the relevant desk likely to be open
    between 7.35 pm on March 18 (when we fly in) and about 3 pm on March 19 (when
    the boat disembarks).

    If this idea won’t work what else can anyone suggest?

    I have read somewhere that tourist cards
    are valid for 180 days from obtaining and 30 days from first use. Do you know
    if this is definitely the case?

    With regard to Dominican Republic do you
    know whether we can obtain tourist cards on arrival at the port of Puerto
    Any advice would be appreciated
  • Dear Peter,

    First of all, Noble Caledonia should be ashamed of themselves. What's with the dumb statement,"... they will send information on how to obtain approximately 12 weeks before departure and to not try to obtain in the meantime...?!?!" What a ridiculous excuse for Customer Service. Are they
    going to supply the Tourist Card, or not? Why can't they simply be

    Personally I'd force them to $hit or get off the pot right now. You
    can't sign up for their cruise and not know anything about the Tourist
    Card until 3 months before departure. There shouldn't be a mystery here,
    they're either going to be a factor in obtaining one for their clients,
    or not, they have to be honest right now.

    Please email them and let us (me) know their reply then you'll know what other avenues have to be pursued, if necessary.

    Good luck, and please report back.

  • By the way, the formatting on this forum is really, really bad lately...

  • Hi Terry

    I approached Noble Caledonia again as you
    suggested and here is their reply:

    *Unfortunately we
    cannot obtain information on visas until closer to departure. We do mention
    this to all passengers at confirmation stage in a factsheet, and furthermore we
    do make all passengers aware that holders of other nationality passports should
    check with their nearest embassies for individual requirements.

    Approximately 12 weeks prior to departure we will send out ‘Pre Departure
    Information’, leaving three months to apply and send off for relevant

    So it seems it is up to me to get the necessary
    tourist card or visas. As we live in the country it is not easy to access the
    Cuban Embassy but we could be going to Canberra in October to visit our son and
    maybe we could sort something out then. Do you know if we can do on the spot if we take our passports?
    Perhaps we may have to end up getting a visa if they don’t issue Tourist cards
    at the Embassy.

    Failing this is there anything we can do through Cuban Consulate
    in Sydney? Am I correct in assuming the visa or tourist card are valid for 180
    days from obtaining and if we get in October they will then still be valid when
    we arrive in March?

    The other option is to get Tourist Cards in
    Caymans before we embark (as mentioned in previous posting) but not knowing
    what we can achieve there this may be a little risky. We don’t want to go on
    the cruise and find we can’t land at the first 3 ports.

    What do you

    Also what should we do about Dominican Republic where we call at Puerto Plata
    on day 8?

    It seems all the other ports: Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Turks and
    Caicos, Puerto Rico, British Virgin Isles, St Barthelemey, Nevis, Montserrat,
    Les Saintes (Guadeloupe), Antigua will not be a problem.

    Thank you for your interest Terry.

  • Hi guys,

    I've noted the formatting problems, note that this tends to be an issue when you copy/paste text from programmes like Word.
  • Hey Peter, thanks for the feedback.

    You're right of course, in a roundabout way they're simply saying that
    you're on your own. That sucks because they should be supplying Tourist
    Cards, period.

    Unfortunately the only way to guarantee having a Tourist Card is to get one from the Cuban Embassy in Canberra.

    The problem with that that route is the Tourist Card is an expensive
    rip-off in Australia. The Embassy there are basically robbers, charging
    you a pile of money and a bunch of hassle for a simple $20 piece of
    paper that is SO easy to get from any departure point in the Western

    Before you go to the Embassy though try to get in touch with Cayman
    Airways, If you can get it in writing
    that you can purchase a Tourist Card from their desk at the airport then
    that gives you another option.

    Good luck.



    Regarding the Dominican Republic, all you have to do is purchase a $10 Tourist Card upon arrival:
  • By the way, there is no "visa" for Cuba, all they do is sell you a simple Tourist Card. There's no photos or anything required...

  • Thanks Terry. I will do as you say. It seems  I should be able to get on the spot in Canberra but I guess I should take passports in case they want to see. I will let you know what I find out from Cayman Airways. At least Dominican Republic  is easy and we can leave till we arrive.
  • You'll absolutely need the passports. Check out the link I gave you, they list everything necessary for getting the Tourist Card issued.

  • Hi Terry
    Just to let you know that we got our Tourist cards from the Cuban Embassy in Canberra OK. $60 each. Haven't heard anything from Noble Caledonia on what they plan yet.

  • Noble Caledonia's customer service is horrible. I hope they run the cruise better.

    Lastly, not to get you worried... but sometimes the Tourist Cards have a date stamped on them and you have to use the TC within 90 days. I trust the ones that you paid (way too much) for at the Embassy will still be valid next March...

    Good luck.

  • We're with NC from Nassau via Cuba to Belize in January so have just got the Pre-departure docs. They say we must arrange the card and recommend the Cuban Consulate by post for £15 pp plus £19 per household for postage. Also suggest CIBT at a cost of £64pp (£34 consular fee plus £30 service fee). Hope this helps Peter.
    Cheers Terry, thanks for all the answers here.
  • I have just applied through for a cost of £40 total for 2 cards. I'll let you know how it goes..Estimated Delivery Time:DestinationWorking DaysUK (Express Delivery)1 (after dispatch)UK (Standard Delivery)3-5Europe8-15Rest of the World15-30
  • Just had an email to say the cards are on their way. Please allow 5 days to receive them.
    Will let you know.
  • Just to report that the tourist cards came today. Excellent service and good value. Stamped by them but no date so the 90 days wouldn't be a problem.
  • Have a great trip, Mike.

  • Hi all

    After reading all the posts, just wanting to confirm that a travel card to Cuba can be purchased day of flight from Madrid airport? Thanks,
  • Not a clue, especially when you give no info like which airline and whether you're on a package tour or travelling independently...

  • Thanks, I am flying independently with Air Europa from Madrid Airport. Is it possible to purchase a Cuban travel card from the airport? Is it preferable to go to the airport earlier to do this?
  • You should phone Air Europa right now and confirm one way or the other. In the past they didn't supply the card when departing from the UK, you had to buy it yourself. You do NOT want to show up at the airport with no Tourist Card...

    Good luck.

  • Hola buen dia,

    I am a UK citizen working in Mexico and I would like to visit Cuba and then return to Mexico. What's the best way I should go around doing this?

    Kind regards

  • Don't know where you're located, but Mexico City is a way better gateway offering Aeromexico, Interjet and Cubana than Cancun only crappy last choice Cubana.

    Have fun.

  • Hi everyone,

    I'm going to Cuba, then Panama and then Cuba again in a few weeks time, flying from the UK. This means I need two tourist cards. I can get one from London, no problem, but I have been told that I will need to get the second one from Panama. From Panama to Cuba I will be flying with Copa Air.

    Does anyone know if they sell tourist cards before boarding? Also can you buy a tourist card on arrival into Cuba? I've read online that it is possible just to buy one at Cuban immigration but just wondering if someone else has done this?

  • You buy it from Copa. They won't allow you to board the aircraft without it.

    Have fun.

  • if you have any querry about tourist card, then ask it from the embassy they will guide you properly. as fas as the currency is concerend, the ciurrency is CUC
  • Cuban Embassies are in general a horrible source of information. They run Tourist Card scams all the time.

    There are two currencies in Cuba, the CUC which will handle almost all transactions for tourists and the CUP which is handy to have for street snacks, etc.

  • Hi Terry, I know you have discussed it a lot on this thread and I understand that i am travelling to Colombia, Aruba and Mexico and it isn't a problem just to get a tourist card from any of these destination airports when I'm heading to Cuba, correct yes?.........also am I correct to assume that I need proof of insurance and where I am staying in Cuba?........ Also do I need proof of onward travel from cuba or they won't let me in the country?

    Thanks in advance

  • Tourist Card, no worries, yes, you can purchase it from the departure airport in all those countries.

    Technically you require health insurance, but it's rarely requested. You can buy it on arrival from Asistur for 2.50 - 3.00 CUC per day.

    The accommodation requirement was dropped years ago.

    Technically they require proof of onward travel - and proof of funds $50/day - but I have never heard of it being requested unless you show up looking like a stereotypical dreadheaded trustafarian backpacker.

    Have fun.

  • Thanks for the advice, it's appreciated

  • Bon dia,

    Resident of Curacao since 3 years with Belgium nationality.

    I flight with copa airlines from Curacao to Cuba with a transition in Panama. According to former posts i can buy the visum at the airport in Panama. I only have 52 min there before my flight to Cuba, so i assume that obtaining a visum will go fast there?
    Will they let me departure on Curacao without the visum? I can not seem to get a straight answer on the airport here.

    Thanks for the advice.

    Hopi danki
  • Since your entire flight is on Copa you'll have no problems, they will give you the opportunity to purchase the Tourist Card.

    Have fun.

  • Thank you for the quick response Terry.
  • Hi Terry just to reaffirm, I can definitely get my health insurance from Asistur when I arrive yes?
  • Thanks again Terry.
  • Hello, I was wondering if I could get some advice as well. My boyfriend and I are travelling to Cuba from the UK in November and our tour operator has offered to issue the tourist cards for us but they asked us to confirm with the embassy whether tour operator issued tourist cards are acceptable for swiss (me) and syrian (my boyfriend) nationals or whether we need to get them from the embassy directly. The embassy has been very vague so I am trying to understand whether there is actually any difference at all between the operator issued and embassy issued tourist cards?

  • There is zero difference.

    And that is a VERY odd question coming from your Tour Operator... I would take everything they say with a grain of salt... they do not appear to be knowledgeable about Cuba...

  • Hello Terry,

    Me and my friend are travelling to Mexico and would like to go to Cuba for a few days during that time. We are flying from London and were told our airline Thomson airways will provide us with a tourist card. Can this tourist card be used for Cuba as well as Mexico please? Thank you in advance :)
  • I doubt Thomson will provide you with a Cuban Tourist Card when you're not flying to Cuba with them, but who knows. Maybe they'll sell you one at the airport when you depart the UK.

    In any case it's fast/easy to simply purchase one at the departure airport in Mexico. Everyone on your flight will be doing the very same thing.

    Have fun.

  • Sorry Subs, I misread your question. The Mexican & Cuban Tourist Cards are of course completely different. You'll buy the Cuban Tourist Card when you depart Mexico for Cuba.

  • Hi Subs,

    Terry is right about the tourist card for Cuba, but there is no such thing as a tourist card for Mexico. If you are using UK passports you don't need visas for stays of up to 180 days.
  • Anya, UK citizens don't require a Visa to enter Mexico as a tourist, but they (and everyone else) require a Tourist Card for stays of more than 72 hours. You can purchase it right at the port of entry, no worries.

  • Thanks for clearing that up Terry!
  • It's easy to confuse Visas (a real legal document) with a Tourist Card that's simply a piece of paper that acts as a "tax" to enter the country.

  • Hello Terry and friends,

    Thanks for all this information, it is really useful. Even though i still have one doubt.

    I'm Spanish, travelling to Cuba from the US through Mexico, i read your comments before and i will get the tourist card in Mexico DF airport, then my question is:

    Do i need a hotel already booked and a travel/medical insurance too? I've read that, besides the tourist card, both are required to get into Cuba, is that true?

    Thank you

  • Hi Victor,

    1.) Accommodation was a requirement many, many years ago. No longer.

    2.) Technically Health Insurance is a requirement to enter Cuba, but in actuality the regulation is directed towards Cuban Americans and Americans - other foreigners are almost never asked to provide proof of insurance.

    That said... unless you have a very deep wallet you're kinda nuts travelling to a foreign country without extended health insurance... if you were to have a medical emergency it can quickly become crazy expensive.

    There is very affordable Cuban medical insurance available upon arrival:

    Have fun.

  • Hi Terry
    I m french and I live in the UK. 
    I'm in Canada for work for 2 weeks and at the end of Oct, i'll be flying to Cuba for 1 week (Montreal Varadero/ Varadero Montreal). 
    I did not apply for tourist card before getting to Canada. Can I get one at Montreal airport before flying to Cuba ? thank you for the feedback! 
  • Departing from Canada the Cuban Tourist Card is always included in your airline ticket, no worries.

    Have fun.

  • Excellent, thanks a lot Terry! 
  • Terry
    Last question; I'm flying with Air transat. The travel agent (travel pack) has just me advised tourist card was included in my flight. i'm confused now. will i be able to purchase a tourist card in montreal airport if travel pack is right?  thank you

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