http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/ofac-updates-application-guidelines-for-legal-travel-to-cuba-231/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

OFAC updates Application Guidelines for legal travel to Cuba

Posted May 11, 2012 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

OFAC updated its Comprehensive Guidelines for License Applications to Engage in Travel-Related Transactions Involving Cuba to reflect changes made to the licensing criteria set forth in the section of the Application Guidelines pertaining to educational exchanges not involving academic study pursuant to a degree program (also known as people-to-people exchanges).

The Application Guidelines are intended to assist people and companies seeking to engage in travel related transactions involving Cuba in order to help them make their own determinations as to whether their activities are authorized by a general license or a specific license for Cuba travel.

Comprehensive Guidelines for License Applications to Engage in Travel-Related Transactions Involving Cuba

This comprehensive update first describes the differences between a General License followed by a description of the Specific License.

General Licenses

The Regulations currently contain eight general licenses authorizing travel-related transactions involving Cuba. General licenses constitute blanket authorization for those transactions set forth in the relevant regulation. No further permission from OFAC is required to engage in transactions covered by a general license. Individuals wishing to engage in the following activities involving Cuba should first review the general license contained in the Regulations to determine whether their travel-related transactions are covered by a general license:

1) visiting “close relatives” who are nationals of Cuba or visiting “close relatives” who are U.S. Government employees assigned to the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Cuba

2) official business travel by officials of the U.S. Government, foreign governments, or intergovernmental organizations of which the United States is a member

3) journalistic activities by persons regularly employed as journalists by a news reporting organization or by persons regularly employed as supporting broadcast or technical personnel

4) professional research conducted by full-time professionals in their professional areas, attendance at certain professional meetings or conferences organized by international professional organizations, or participation in certain telecommunications-related professional meetings

5) educational activities by faculty, staff, and students of accredited U.S. graduate and undergraduate degree-granting academic institutions

6) religious activities under the auspices of a religious organization located in the United States

7) the commercial marketing, sales negotiation, accompanied delivery, or servicing in Cuba of telecommunications-related items that have been authorized for commercial export or re-export by employees of, or an entity duly appointed to represent, a telecommunications services provider

8) the commercial marketing, sales negotiation, accompanied delivery, or servicing in Cuba of agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices by employees of a producer or distributor or an entity duly appointed to represent a producer or distributor

Specific Licenses

OFAC will consider the issuance of specific licenses on a case-by-case basis to permit travel-related transactions where the proposed activity is not covered by a general license but is addressed by one of the statements of licensing policy listed in section 515.560(a) and set forth in related sections of the Regulations. A specific license applicant must wait for OFAC to issue the license prior to engaging in travel-related transactions.

Individuals wishing to engage in the following travel-related transactions involving Cuba should first review the specific license policies to determine whether their activities may qualify for a specific license:

1) visiting a close relative who is neither a national of Cuba nor a U.S. Government employee assigned to the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Cuba

2) journalistic activities for a free-lance journalistic project

3) professional research and professional meetings that do not qualify for the general license

4) academic educational activities not authorized by the general license for accredited U.S. graduate or undergraduate degree-granting academic institutions

5) educational exchanges not involving academic study pursuant to a degree program and that take place under the auspices of an organization that promotes people-to-people contact

6) academic seminars, conferences, and workshops related to Cuba or global issues involving Cuba and sponsored or co-sponsored by the traveler’s accredited U.S. graduate or
undergraduate academic institution

7) religious activities not authorized by the general license for religious organizations located in the United States

8) athletic competitions by amateur or semi-professional athletes or teams selected by the relevant U.S. federation

9) participation in a public performance, clinic, workshop, other athletic or non-athletic competition, or exhibition in Cuba

10) activities intended to provide support for the Cuban people

11) humanitarian projects in or related to Cuba designed to directly benefit the Cuban people

12) activities by private foundations or research or educational institutes that have an established interest in international relations to collect information related to Cuba for
noncommercial purposes

13) activities related to the exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials

14) the marketing, sales negotiation, accompanied delivery, or servicing in Cuba of exports that appear consistent with the export or re-export licensing policy of the Department of
Commerce and that are not authorized by a general license and

15) the marketing, sales negotiation, accompanied delivery, or servicing of medicine, medical supplies, or certain telecommunications equipment by a U.S.owned or controlled firm in
a third country to Cuba

How to Apply for a Specific License

A written application in letter format with relevant supporting documentation must be made to OFAC to obtain a specific license. Alternatively, an applicant may use OFAC’s automated online process to complete an application form, which must be printed, signed and mailed to OFAC.

The update continues with thorough descriptions of:

Requests to Extend or Renew Specific Licenses
Arranging Authorized Travel to Cuba
Authorized Exportation of Merchandise for Personal Use
Prohibited Importation of Merchandise with the Exception of Cuban-Origin Information and Informational Materials
Authorized Travel-Related Transactions; U.S. Interests Section

Guidelines by Category of Travel Activity by General License

1. Family Visits
2. Official Government Travel
3. Journalistic Activities
4. Professional Research and Professional Meetings
5. Educational Activities
6. Religious Activities

Guidelines by Category of Travel Activity by Specific License

7. Public Performances, Clinics, Workshops, Athletic and Other Competitions, and Exhibitions
8. Support for the Cuban People
9. Humanitarian Projects
10. Activities of Private Foundations or Research or Educational Institutes
11. Exportation, Importation, or Transmission of Information or Informational Materials

12. Licensed Exportations by General and Specific License

Remittances to Independent Non-Governmental Entities and Individuals in Cuba by Special License is the Appendix.

Read the entire Comprehensive Guidelines for License Applications to Engage in Travel-Related Transactions Involving Cuba here.

——————————Havana Journal Comments——————————

Havana Journal Inc operates a Cuba legal assistance service that provides a report to people seeking Cuba related legal assistance featuring comments from Cuba specialty attorneys, pricing information for services and contact information but no legal advice is offered.

Member Comments

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On May 11, 2012, John McAuliff wrote:

Can anyone decipher what the reason is for this update? 

There is almost an implication that people to people might be considered a general license.

“reflect changes made to the licensing criteria set forth in the section of the Application Guidelines pertaining to educational exchanges not involving academic study pursuant to a degree program (also known as people-to-people exchanges).

The Application Guidelines are intended to assist people and companies seeking to engage in travel related transactions involving Cuba in order to help them make their own determinations as to whether their activities are authorized by a general license or a specific license for Cuba travel.”