Trump Cuba Policy Announcement


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There was a time, if I recall correctly, that custom agents were stationed in various international airports looking out for Americans on inbound flights from Cuba.  I would assume it was airports where a US citizen pre clears US customs before the outbound flight. Supposedly they were pulled aside.  This may just be rumor or just :cowpoop: but I seem to remember this going around back in the day when I was still in the business.  Stamp or no stamp, one gets off a flight inbound from Cuba and well, there you go.  


I think that is a rumor. I have never had remotely such an experience.

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As far as I am aware, the following are all true:

1. "People to People" trips are going to be regulated much more closely when the rules take effect. Receipts, etc. Probably have to do a tour group to qualify, which is going to make your $500 long weekend in Cuba cost you a couple grand.

2. The new regs will probably not be in place for at least 90 days. Who knows what will happen between now and then, but given how bad Tromp is at dealmaking, I wouldn't expect it to get better for anyone. I know the Treasury Dept has guaranteed that if you had a plane ticket or a hotel reservation booked before 6/16/17, to travel any time after that, your trip is guaranteed grandfathered in under the old regs. What is unclear is, if you book a trip now. I believe that if you book a trip now, and TRAVEL before the new regs are in place, you're also ok under the old rules. But if you book it for July, then they move up the date of the new regs, to, say June 30, you're effed. TLDR: BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE.

3. "Support for the Cuban People," which is what most of us use as our stated reason for Cuba travel, is UNCHANGED and will remain UNCHANGED even after the new regs are in place; this means that theoretically, if you've used this reason in the past, you can continue doing so. I say this, because I have only seen new regs discussed around People to People trips, which most US "tourists" have used to travel to Cuba.

4. No changes whatsoever to the amount of goods you can bring back from Cuba or abroad. Which is to say [100 cigars/$1000 worth/$800 worth] (depending on who you ask) duty free and 4% duty after that. Given that Habanos is a government corporation, of course this makes no sense given the stated reasons for the tightening; welcome to Trump's America.

5. When you travel under the new regs, you'll have to show that you stayed somewhere, and ate somewhere, that is not run by the government. You will need receipts to show this. This should not be hard.

 

Anyone who can refute any of this with a link please, do.

 

:fishing:


Can you explain #3?

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8 minutes ago, Ninja said:

I think that is a rumor. I have never had remotely such an experience.

That is what I thought as well.  Just remember it going around.  Would not surprise me at all if it became true.:thumbsdwn:

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1 hour ago, SenorPerfecto said:

As far as I am aware, the following are all true:

3. "Support for the Cuban People," which is what most of us use as our stated reason for Cuba travel, is UNCHANGED and will remain UNCHANGED even after the new regs are in place; this means that theoretically, if you've used this reason in the past, you can continue doing so. I say this, because I have only seen new regs discussed around People to People trips, which most US "tourists" have used to travel to Cuba.

4. No changes whatsoever to the amount of goods you can bring back from Cuba or abroad. Which is to say [100 cigars/$1000 worth/$800 worth] (depending on who you ask) duty free and 4% duty after that. Given that Habanos is a government corporation, of course this makes no sense given the stated reasons for the tightening; welcome to Trump's America.

 

To #3, please as an American do NOT check the box for Support for Cuban People. This is a very specific licence and the definitions are often confused by people who only read the title. It is the most common recommendation from people on TripAdvisor, who have been to Cuba like 2 times and never actually read the rules, and have even less experience....and NEVER been in front of direct questioning from Immigration and Customs. It is NOT the licence that was expanded by Obama. From the treasury website, examples of qualifying for this license include: ", travel-related transactions and other transactions that are intended to provide support for the Cuban people, which include activities of recognized human rights organizations; independent organizations designed to promote a rapid, peaceful transition to democracy; and individuals and non-governmental organizations that promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba." Buying a mojito and staying at a casa particular and giving a few dollars to Cubans is NOT "support" for the Cuban people in the US government's eyes. This is human rights and anti government stuff. These groups have records and transactions logs and receipts, and volunteer or financial support will need to be documented if asked. Please do it the correct way and check off people to people education. The link to this is here, Page 5, Paragraph 17.: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cuba_faqs_new.pdf

To #4: Please read my earlier response and be very careful saying nothing has changed. We will see, of course. :)

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5 minutes ago, luv2fly said:

That is what I thought as well.  Just remember it going around.  Would not surprise me at all if it became true.:thumbsdwn:

Dude, anything is possible with Trump. lol

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Just now, SenorPerfecto said:

I gave this reason to US Immigration upon returning to the US in March 2017. No questions whatsoever.

And you were not questioned. Others on trip advisor have too. This does not make it correct nor the safest thing to do. 2 things here:

First, many airport Immigration and customs agents are not fully aware of the regs and the details. I have had to use the Treasury department site to educate a customs agent on the Canadian boarder because she did not understand any of the rules and wanted to understand how a person could go. Education levels vary. Also, if you do not have the X on your APC receipt, they sometimes don't even as you why you went, and aren't really looking. If you have the X, then at the gate they can be more investigative. Also, Obama seemed to have an "it doesn't matter" attitude passed down to Immigration. If Trump tightens that, they may look harder, and why put yourself at risk for checking the incorrect category.

Second, violations, requests for proof, fines, etc usually come from the Treasury department. They may arrive up to 5 years after your trip. You are required to keep your records for that long, even for individual people to people travel. So, if requested you would need to show the proof for the Support of the Cuban People to the Treasury department and OFAC. Customs and Immigration can and do send notice to OFAC around activity that they deem suspicious or unqualifying. And also, because of the 5 year statue, you are not yet officially out of the woods on potentially having to provide justification of your trip.

That said, why take the risk when you can just as easily check the correct box, people to people travel.... the one Obama expanded.... and have a much easier time justifying your trip if you are ever asked to do so?

And no matter what, expect management 101 to kick in with the new Trump policies, in which they will initially request a lot of audits to "show" they are serious, and then taper off as word that they are doing it spreads.

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On ‎6‎/‎20‎/‎2017 at 3:27 PM, luv2fly said:

There was a time, if I recall correctly, that custom agents were stationed in various international airports looking out for Americans on inbound flights from Cuba.  I would assume it was airports where a US citizen pre clears US customs before the outbound flight. Supposedly they were pulled aside.  This may just be rumor or just :cowpoop: but I seem to remember this going around back in the day when I was still in the business.  Stamp or no stamp, one gets off a flight inbound from Cuba and well, there you go.  

Been in place for many years.

In Canada, not just US CBP agents "stationed" on the ground in those airports (but yes, that as well).  There's also passenger flight-manifest sharing.  Computer programs run to cross-index and such.  IE - US citizen flies from Denver to Toronto, then gets onto Canadian flight down to Havana.  If that flight goes over U.S. territorial airspace, the passenger manifest (including passport / ID information) is shared with U.S. authorities. 

I think it's just a sheer numbers game, in that there's not enough personnel for them to police it enough, to follow up on every cross-referenced flagged person.

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4 hours ago, CanuckSARTech said:

 

I think it's just a sheer numbers game, in that there's not enough personnel for them to police it enough, to follow up on every cross-referenced flagged person.

...they somehow managed to miss 400,000 + Americans a year enjoying Cuba prior the Obama lift :ok:

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1 hour ago, El Presidente said:

...they somehow managed to miss 400,000 + Americans a year enjoying Cuba prior the Obama lift :ok:

From what I understand, US-Can flights and then Can-Cuba flights are only cross-referenced together and get a name match if it's flights within a 24 or 48 hr window.

Again, from what I understand of it.  A different agency / department from me.

Plus, that, and there's bigger fish to fry, I'm sure.  It's like pulling over someone for a burnt out tail-light - why bother, unless there's a bigger purpose / need.

 

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I have a sneaking suspicion that there will be a lot of requests for documentation going out over the next year to travelers who took advantage of the self certification rules and the lax approach Immigration and Customs seemed almost directed to take.

I took detailed notes about my activities, kept documents and did my best to comply with the license in the event I was asked to produce them.

I don't think many of my fellow citizens were as diligent.

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