A passport valid for six months from date of entry is required. Every visitor needs a Cuban visa or tourist card (tarjeta de turista) valid for a single trip of 30 days (90 days for Canadians); for most visitors, including U.S. citizens, a tourist card will suffice. No tourist card is required for transit passengers continuing their journey to a third country within 72 hours. Tourist cards are issued outside Cuba by tour agencies or the airline providing travel to Cuba. They cost US$25 (£30-40 in the U.K., or £15 if you go in person to the Cuban consulate; flights from Canada include the fee), but commercial agencies sometimes charge more (up to US$75 from Miami). In some cases, tourist cards can be obtained at the airport upon arrival within Cuba (CUC70).
Journalists require a journalist visa; students and academics entering to take classes or engage in research need a student or academic visa. U.S. citizens entering under the general license category for professional research need a Cuban visa to that effect, including an invitation from a formal Cuban entity.
Don’t list your occupation as journalist, police, military personnel, or government employee, as the Cuban government is highly suspicious of anyone with these occupations.
Visa Extensions in Cuba
You can request a single 30-day (90 days for Canadians) tourist visa extension (prórroga, CUC25, payable in stamps—sellos—purchased at Cuban banks) in Havana at Inmigración (Calle 17 e/ J y K, Vedado, tel. 07/861-3462, Mon.-Wed. and Fri. 8:30am-4pm, Thurs. and Sat. 8:30am-11am), or at immigration offices in major cities. You need CUC25 of stamps purchased at any bank, plus proof of medical insurance and airline reservation to exit; if you’re staying in a casa particular, you also need a receipt for the house.
Visitors who overstay their visas may be held in custody until reports are received on their activities in the country. In such an event, you are billed daily! Do not overextend your stay.