Guidelines for Student Travel to Cuba

Thank you for your interest in traveling to Cuba. President Obama’s historic announcement to re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba has focused renewed attention on and interest in traveling to the Island. As you may know, regulations are currently being defined and evolving, and at this point DRCLAS cannot advise on travel to Cuba beyond the scope of normal travel through the academic license. Travel to Cuba for purposes of tourism is prohibited. Please see our web site on the Cuban Studies Program/OFAC Regulations for more information.

Further information about travel to Cuba can be found on Harvard's Global Support Services web site.


Guidelines for Undergraduate Students

Travel to Cuba for the purpose of tourism is prohibited. To be eligible for travel to Cuba for educational activities under the OFAC regulations and with the University’s sponsorship undergraduate students must fall into at least one of the following two categories:

• students who are participating in a “structured educational program” in Cuba as part of a course offered for credit by Harvard. This means either (1) a group of students currently enrolled in a Harvard course who travel to Cuba to engage in meetings, attend lectures or performances, conduct interviews, visit museums and archives, or pursue other learning experiences as part of that course; or (2) individual students who are engaged in a research project as part of their Honors Thesis or another Harvard course in which they are currently enrolled or will be enrolled after returning from Cuba; 

• students who enroll in formal courses of instruction at a Cuban academic institution, provided that they are eligible to receive Harvard College credit for those courses (requires formal approval from the Office of International Education (OIE)).

Guidelines for Graduate or Professional Students

To be eligible for travel to Cuba for educational activities under the OFAC regulations and with the University’s sponsorship, graduate or professional students must fall into at least one of the following three categories:

• students who are participating in a “structured educational program” in Cuba as part of a course offered for credit by Harvard. This means a group of students currently enrolled in a Harvard course who travel to engage in meetings, attend lectures or performances, conduct interviews, visit museums and archives, or pursue other learning experiences as part of that course;

• students who are engaged in noncommercial academic research in Cuba specifically related to Cuba for which they are eligible to receive credit toward a graduate or professional degree (for example, research for Harvard courses in which they are currently enrolled or will be enrolled after returning from Cuba, Masters theses or similar professional projects or exercises, and doctoral dissertations); and,

• students who enroll in formal courses of instruction at a Cuban academic institution, provided that they are eligible to receive credit for those courses from their graduate or professional school (requires formal approval).

Additional Guidelines for Student Groups

Students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs at Harvard University may apply to travel as a group, but each student must be currently enrolled in a Harvard course and traveling to Cuba as part of that course. Student groups must be accompanied by a Harvard faculty member and must submit a final group report upon the trip's completion.

Student Application Information and Forms

Applications should be submitted at least eight weeks prior to the proposed travel. Each traveler must submit a complete application, including:

• Completed application form
• Proposal  providing information relevant to the type of approved travel for which license is sought (i.e., the research project, Harvard or Cuban courses to be taken, and/or the kind of structured educational program to be pursued in Cuba). 
• Proposed itinerary and institutional host, if any, in Cuba.
• Letter of support from a Harvard faculty member on Harvard University letterhead and Faculty Recomendation Form (please provide the Center’s Faculty Recomendation form to your recommender, see below).
• For students who plan to enroll in courses at a Cuban academic institution for Harvard credit , statement from OIP (undergraduates) or the applicant’s graduate department or school confirming that the Cuban course is eligible for Harvard credit. 
• A copy of the front page of traveler’s passport and a copy of student’s current ID card.

Harvard does not act as a travel agent to arrange flights nor can it assist students in finding accommodations or provide other non-academic logistical support for stays in Cuba. The Center can provide information about faculty and other resources at Harvard and in some cases may be able to assist students in arranging an institutional host in Cuba. 

Please note that in addition to obtaining a United States license to travel to Cuba, travelers must also apply for a visa from the Cuban Government through a host institution in Cuba. For more information, please contact the Cuban Interests Section in Washington DC directly. Phone calls to the Academic Visa Section should be directed to 202-797-8518, ext 123 or via US mail by at: 2630 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009.

Please send all application materials to: Katherine Steevens, Global Support Services, Harvard University

Information Sheet and Faculty Support Form