Going to Cuba

Tourist Cards

New Zealanders require a Tourist card to visit Cuba, which should be obtained prior to entering Cuba. New Zealanders are able to obtain the tourist card through New Zealand travel agencies or by direct application to a Cuban Embassy. The tourist card is valid for a stay of one month in Cuba, and a possible extension for a second period of 30 days is permissible.

US ESTA may be affected by travel to Cuba

Visiting Cuba may impact your ability to enter the US on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) using an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). For further information see the US Customs and Border Protection(external link) website, or contact the nearest US Embassy or Consulate for details.

Travelling to Cuba from the US

Travel is permitted to Cuba from the US; however travelling for tourism purposes directly from the US to Cuba isn’t allowed under US law. This applies to US nationals and all foreign nationals who are either resident in the US, or travelling through the US en route to Cuba on any airline.

Everybody travelling to Cuba from the US (both US citizens and foreign nationals) will need to comply with US law and travel for one of the 12 authorised categories of travel. Tourism isn’t one of these 12 categories. For more information see the US Embassy in Cuba(external link) website and the US State Department’s travel advice for Cuba(external link).

Those travelling via other countries excluding the US, such as Canada or Mexico, are unaffected by this US legislation.


Tourists are usually guided towards staying at hotels in Cuba, but it is possible to stay with a family under certain circumstances. For further information on staying with a family, please see your travel agent or visit a Cuban Embassy(external link).


You should check with your bank before you travel to confirm that your debit/credit/ATM cards will work and will be accepted in Cuba. If your bank cannot confirm this then you should bring suitable Euro alternatives. You should also note that we have heard reports of banks offering incorrect advice. You should also be aware that there are very few ATMs available for drawing cash against debit cards in Cuba. You should be aware that New Zealand bank notes/coins cannot be exchanged in Cuba.


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