On 1 November 2022, the Cuban Ministry of Tourism announced it would extend the validity of the tourist visa to 90 days. Previously, the tourist visa was only valid for 30 days. In this article, you can read more about this extension and how you can apply for a Cuba visa.
Validity of tourist visa extended to 90 days
As of 1 November 2022, Cuba will issue tourist visas with a validity of 90 days instead of 30 days. The Cuban minister of Tourism, Juan Carlos García Grande, announced this on Twitter. The validity of the old Cuba tourist visa could be extended for a month after arrival in Cuba. The extension therefore needed to be registered a week before the validity of the visa expired at the nearest immigration office in Cuba. The period with which the visa can be extended has also been extended with the new visa. The 90-day tourist visa can be extended once for another 90 days, which allows tourists to stay on the island for up to 180 days.
This decision was made right after the conclusion of the International Medical Tourism and Welfare Fair. This fair was held in October last year in the Cuban capital, Havana, partly with the aim of promoting the island as a healthy holiday destination. The fact that tourists can stay in Cuba for up to 180 days after the extension should contribute to this.
Target number of tourists in 2022 not met
Another reason for extending the validity of the Cuba tourist visa is that the government is keen to see the number of tourists travelling to Cuba every year increase. In October last year, the Cuban government already declared that it was not going to meet the target for the number of tourists in 2022. According to the Cuban minister of Economy, Alejandro Gil Fernández, Cuba wanted to receive 2.5 million tourists on the island last year. The number of tourists travelling to Cuba in 2022 stagnated at 1.7 million, almost 1 million fewer than intended.
Factors stagnating number of travellers to Cuba
There are many reasons why the number of travellers to Cuba in 2022 was low. For instance, Americans and Canadians make up the majority of all tourists travelling to Cuba, in addition to Cubans living abroad who travel to Cuba to visit friends and family. However, due to the mutual sanctions between the USA and Cuba, US travellers are currently unable to travel to Cuba for tourism purposes, such as holidays. They are, however, allowed to travel to Cuba to visit family and friends, attend business meetings and sporting events, engage in educational and cultural activities and help with humanitarian projects. Over the next few months, fewer US travellers will be able to travel to Cuba at all, as two major US airlines are currently unable to operate flights to Cuba due to logistical problems.
Besides these reasons specific to Cuba, the fact that everything has become more expensive is also affecting tourism to Cuba. Because of the war between Ukraine and Russia, there is a global shortage of oil and food. As a result, everything has become a lot more expensive in the past year and people are therefore becoming more conscious about how they spend their money. More money is needed for necessities, leaving less money for luxury needs such as an expensive trip. Tourists from Russia, as well as European countries such as Spain and Germany, which together accounted for the majority of tourists to Cuba in 2021, chose to travel to Cuba less frequently in 2022 because of inflation.
Apply for the Cuba visa
The Cuba visa that is suitable for tourist travel to the island is not a digital document but a paper card consisting of two parts, on which you need to enter some personal details. You can easily order the visa card online, after which you fill in the required details at home. The details to be entered include your passport number, your nationality and your first and last name. Upon arrival in Cuba, your details will be checked by the Cuban immigration service and the first part will be torn off and taken. The second part should be kept during your trip and will be taken once you leave Cuba again. From 1 November 2022, a Cuba tourist visa allows you to stay in the country for up to 90 days and extend the length of stay to 180 days once if necessary.