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going to Cuba, June, 2001

Posted By: captkeywest

Date: 11/5/2000, 9:58 p.m.

In Response To:

Travel to Cuba with new reg from Treasury Dept (ghan74)

What you need to do TODAY is WRITE your State Representatives and Senators in support of easing OFAC rules.

With that said,
on Wednesday Nov 1,
Key West's West Marine hosted a travel to Cuba seminar,

At that seminar one of the crowd mentioned about 35 sailing vessels planned to Sail from Key West to Cuba--

on Friday Nov 3.

The Planned annual Race: 09/Cuba0009.html

The Cease and Desist order

At the Seminar were officials representing

1) US Customs,
2) US Immigration
3) US Agriculture
5) Dept of Treas, OFAC

The 5 speakers covered lots of material, too much to digest and repeat in accurate and infinite detail here.

Some of the more general info I gleaned may be of interest.

Of the 5 speakers,

I would lump:

1) US Customs
2) US Immigration
3) US Food and Agriculture into one segment of discussion -Lets call those 3 agencies segment B:

The USCG segment A: and OFAC segment C

basically before you go: segment A

checking back in: segment B

aftermath: segment C

Before you go, get customs sticker


Segment A: apply to the USCG to get a clearance to pass through the security zone: More on Security Zone Here-- CubaSecurityZone.shtml

Upon returning

Segment B: United States Customs, Immigration and Agriculture Are Three SEPARATE Agencies that Cruisers reporting back from Cuba MUST Contact; Customs will come to your vessel and want to see your $25 sticker if your vessel is 30' and over, tell them if you do not have one and you can apply for it over the phone and still only pay $25, sticker good for a year.

Immigration and Agriculture; the bad news-- the officials will not travel from Key West beyond Boca Chica, This means if you terminate your cuba cruise _anywhere_ further up the Keys--example Marathon-- you Must Present yourself and crew in Key West to check in with these officials ANYWAY, in order to save yourself the hassle of driving back to Key West one might consider checking in Key West OR checking in outside of the Keys .

Customs will come to Marathon/ or Keys outside of Key West/ to check you in, once Customs gives you your Customs clearance number you may proceed to Key West to check in with Immigration/ Agriculture, the good news is I believe are Immigration and Agriculture are in the same building, literally down the hall from each other.

US Customs 1 800 432-1216
US Immigration Service KW #305-296-2233
US Agriculture _Voice pager_ 745-0388

Now Segment C, OFAC :

Office of Foreign Assets Control

upto this point I have not made distinctions between going permitted or going unpermitted. If you were permitted with either a general or specific permit you should have no hassles for having been to Cuba, more on OFAC permits:

http: //

OFAC Washington DC 202-622-2520

OFAC Miami 305-810-5140


if you went unpermitted ---NOTE: USCG SECURITY ZONE CLEARANCE IS NOT A PERMIT--- Unpermitted is like the race from KW, Racers returning from Cuba will say they were Fully Hosted. Do not confuse fully hosted with being permitted !


From OFAC handout,

CUBA Travel Restrictions: dated 7-13-99

* Vessels- All persons on board vessels, including the owner, must be an authorized traveler, as listed above,-[refers to permited travelers ie: travelers holding a general or specific license --see OFAC website above--] If you are not an authorized traveler, you may NOT purchase meals, pay for transportation, lodging,dockage or mooring fees, cruising fees, visas, entry or exit fees and you may not bring any Cuban origin goods back to the United States. Any Payment to the Marina Hemingway International Yacht Club is considered a prohibited payment to a Cuban national and therefore in violation of the Regulations. Vessel Owners are pohibited from carrying travelers to Cuba who pay them for passage if the owner does not have a specific license fro OFAC authorizing him to be a Service Provider to Cuba.


Fully hosted or fully sponsored travelers may travel to Cuba without contacting OFAC if the travelers Cuba-related expenses are covered by a person not subject to US jurisdiction. Travel to Cuba is not fully hosted or fully sponsored if a person subject to US jurisdiction pays--before, during, or after the travel--any expenses related to the travel, including travel to Cuba on a Cuban carrier, even if the payment is made to a third country person or entity that is not subject to US jurisdiction. Examples of costs commonly incurred by travelers to and in Cuba are for meals, lodging, transportation, bunkering of vessels or aircraft,visas,entry or exit fees, and gratuities. In addition, fully hosted travel to and from Cuba cannot be aboard a direct flight between the United States and Cuba.Travelers whose expenses are covered by a person not subject to US juridiction may not bring back any Cuban origin goods, except for informational materials[see Note to section 515.420(c) of the Regulations]. Importation of gifts received in Cuba by a fully hosted traveler may be licensed by OFAC provided the gift is of small value and represents no commercial benefit to Cuba. Customs will detain gifts, pending the outcome of an OFAC license application. Before a licensing determination can be made, all facs surrounding the receipt of the gift must be reviewed[section 515.544 of the Regulations].

Any person subect to U.S. jurisdiction determined to have travelled to Cuba wthout an OFAC General or Specific license is presumed to have engaged in prohibited travel-related transactions. In order to overcome this presumption, any traveler who claims to have been fully hosted or fully sponsored or not to have engaged in any travel-related transactions may be asked by Federal enforcement agencies to provide a signed explanitory statement, accompanied by any relevant supporting documentation. Fully Hosted travelers are also prohibted from providing any services to Cuba or Cuban nationals.


My Interpretation of the speakers comments from the seminar:


so before you left to go to Cuba you applied for the permit to cross the security Zone from the USCG. The USCG issued you clearance and you went.

You returned to the US checking in with Customs,

Immigration and Agriculture.

All went smooth, Your Back !!

so where does OFAC fit in ??

When you applied for the USCG clearance, they notified OFAC of both your depart and return date, return date? yes, as I understand it the return date you filled out on the USCG application. What if weather causes ou a delay? You must notify USCG when you return if return date predicted does not match.

1) OFAC knows you went and how long you stayed. OFAC is MONTHS behind as at any particular time they have about 1200 cases pending-- the Great majority of which are Cuban Travel cases.

You will eventually get a letter from OFAC called a pre-penalty notice, You have 30 days to respond by mail or you may request an administrative hearing (you must travel to Washington DC if you elect the hearing)

he mentioned that you will be asked to defend your postion that you did not spend money while in Cuba ( a couple examples ) :

Example 1:

You and your crew (5 persons) spent 3 weeks in Cuba, you did not visit any restaurants (that would have required you spending money)-- so all the meals you and your crew consumed were from ships provisions, provide provisioning receipts showing the food you and your crew consumed

Example 2:

Your power vessel consumed 3 weeks of fuel, provide documentation showing you did not need to refuel from a Cuban port, Provide receipts of fuel purchased prior to trip.

as I understood the gentleman from OFAC, you are required to DOCUMENT who paid what, Each of your crew need to provide the documentation, not just Capt. Each Crew member needs his/her own letter from host detailing everything that was provided by host.

It sounded to me like they send you and each member of your crew a pre-determined fine that you may then debate with your documentaion. OFAC refers to the Letter they send as a PRE-PENALTY NOTICE. He did not specify how the fine was determined but he did mention that the per-diem set by the State Department for permitted travelers is ~$185
insurance; you will not be covered if you take your vessel to Cuba, insurance companies cannot legally pay you.

more info:


look for their message board !

Messages In This Thread

Travel to Cuba with new reg from Treasury Dept --

ghan74 -- 11/4/2000, 7:17 p.m.

You are here --> going to Cuba, June, 2001 --

captkeywest -- 11/5/2000

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