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US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada  
User currently offlineeuropl From Canada, joined Mar 2008, 62 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2973 times:

Hello,

My entire family is planning a trip to Varadero Cuba via Toronto in the Summer 2014. My immediate family are Canadian Citizens however my extended family are all dual US/EU (Polish to be exact) citizens. Being US Citizens they have this worry of traveling to Cuba and being "caught" by US Customs.

I suggested the following:

-Use US Passport upon entry into Canada (by vehicle)
-Use US Passport at YYZ as identification
-Upon entry into Cuba use EU Passport
-Upon exit from Cuba use EU Passport
-Upon entry into Canada use US Passport

Am I off base here?
I was wondering what is the right way to go about this?
Are there any dual US/EU citizens out there that did this?

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

-europl

34 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineORDTLV2414 From United States of America, joined Mar 2013, 325 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (10 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2967 times:
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the United States has a travel embargo on Cuba, unauthorized travel is a felony.

User currently offlinePacNWjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 980 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (10 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 2957 times:

Quoting europl (Thread starter):
I was wondering what is the right way to go about this?
Quoting ORDTLV2414 (Reply 1):
the United States has a travel embargo on Cuba, unauthorized travel is a felony.

As both europl and ORDTLV2414 imply, there are authorized ways for U.S. citizens to visit Cuba that are perfectly legal and obviously preferable to undertaking the trip surreptitiously. Americans routinely travel to Cuba legally for any number of reasons that are officially approved such as going for religious or educational purposes, participating in a cultural delegation, undertaking humanitarian efforts, or in the case of Cuban-Americans visiting family in Cuba. Visas can be legally obtained in the United States and the U.S. government recognizes officially approved trips to Cuba. The trick, of course, is to operate through legally approved channels which is perhaps what europl means when referring to going about this in the "right way."


User currently offlineAR385 From Mexico, joined Nov 2003, 6454 posts, RR: 32
Reply 3, posted (10 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 2946 times:
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Quoting ORDTLV2414 (Reply 1):
the United States has a travel embargo on Cuba, unauthorized travel is a felony.

Sure.

Seriously now,

You can show whichever passport you want. Cuba won´t put anything on an American passport. If you want to be Ironclad about it, use your EU passport upon entry into Cuba.


User currently offlineFly2yyz From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 1046 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (10 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 2927 times:

Also I would suggest if you are going to use your EU passport, use it when checking in YYZ just incase something does happen with pax manifest being given to Cuban authorities upon arrival in VRA.

But all in all US Passport holders do enter Cuba regularly. Passports are not stamped by Cuban authorities but on a separate immigration form not attached to the passport.


User currently offlineFlyingSicilian From Italy, joined Mar 2009, 1377 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (10 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2910 times:

Quoting ORDTLV2414 (Reply 1):
the United States has a travel embargo on Cuba, unauthorized travel is a felony.

according to what statute? I am curious.

Normally civil penalties/fines are issued if you go without a treasury license which of course one must meet certain conditions to receive...or be rich like Beyonce and Jay-z.


Also isn't it technically legal for US Citizens to go to Cuba just to not spend any money there if you do not have the license?

As for the OP have your family use the Euro passports the entire time if you like. Why would it matter on the Cuban and Canadian side?



“Without seeing Sicily it is impossible to understand Italy.Sicily is the key of everything.”-Goethe "Journey to Italy"
User currently onlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9659 posts, RR: 31
Reply 6, posted (10 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 2879 times:

Spending Money by credit Card will automatically hit the red lights in the US and cause Problems. Use good old cash, trash your t9ickets and Boarding Cards, rip the Destination Labels off the luggage before entering the US and no one except the NSA will know that ypou have been to Cuba. Since wire tapping US citizens without a court order is illegal, they likely cannot use that "evidence" against you.

Kurt
proud and free citizen of a Country that let's me travel wherever I want, without any restrictions  



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently offlinesw733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6361 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (10 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2853 times:

Quoting FlyingSicilian (Reply 5):
Also isn't it technically legal for US Citizens to go to Cuba just to not spend any money there if you do not have the license?

That's how I always understood it. The main permission you need is from the Commerce Department. But I could be wrong.


User currently offlinedc9northwest From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 2299 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (10 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2843 times:

The "right" way is to go through Mexico so you don't figure on the onboard manifest when you overfly the USA on the way to Cuba.

Therefore, use your European passports for those flights (might be hard if Polish citizens need a visa for Canada--I don't know if they do or not).

Again, seems easier to go through Mexico.


User currently offlineflymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7242 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (10 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2838 times:

Being dual passport holders they should not have much of any issue. It is frowned upon but the U.S. government can't tell its citizens where they can and can't go like that. But there are ways to get into Cuba completely legally for U.S. citizens and it is not that difficult to do.

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 6):
Spending Money by credit Card will automatically hit the red lights in the US and cause Problems. Use good old cash, trash your t9ickets and Boarding Cards, rip the Destination Labels off the luggage before entering the US and no one except the NSA will know that ypou have been to Cuba.

Exactly the biggest issue is not using a credit card.

Quoting ORDTLV2414 (Reply 1):

the United States has a travel embargo on Cuba, unauthorized travel is a felony.

This is how I see/know it also. The United States does not tell its citizens where they can and can't travel. But they can tell them were they can spend U.S. Currency.



"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently onlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9659 posts, RR: 31
Reply 10, posted (10 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2836 times:

Poland is part of Schengen, doubt thatPolish citiens Need a visa for Canada, but one never knows.

The Suggestion to fly via MEX is best, I did not tink about the requirments to disclose passenger names .



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently offlineeuropl From Canada, joined Mar 2008, 62 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (10 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2826 times:

Thank you for all your replies.

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 10):
doubt that Polish citizens need a visa for Canada, but one never knows.

The current policy is Polish Citizens do not need a Visa ahead of time, you are allowed to stay up to a period of 90 days.


User currently offlineBraniff747SP From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 3004 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (10 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2721 times:

Quoting flymia (Reply 9):
It is frowned upon but the U.S. government can't tell its citizens where they can and can't go like that.

Indeed they can't--they get around it by placing restrictions on spending money. Since there is an arrival tax, we're automatically breaking the law when we land. Curiously enough, I can freely travel to Iran, North Korea, and the like, without any problems...



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User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9690 posts, RR: 52
Reply 13, posted (10 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2692 times:

Quoting europl (Thread starter):

-Use US Passport upon entry into Canada (by vehicle)
-Use US Passport at YYZ as identification
-Upon entry into Cuba use EU Passport
-Upon exit from Cuba use EU Passport
-Upon entry into Canada use US Passport

I don't think that is a good idea. It is usually best for dual citizens to use a single passport when entering or exiting a country and provide only one passport to the airline. You may have a problem entering a US passport on arrival in YYZ and then switching for check-in in Cuba.

Why don't you travel in and out of Canada exclusively on your EU passport or provide both at the ground border? Being surreptitious and having suspicious entries and exits out of Canada can get you detained. If you need the US consulate/immigration officer involved because you got denied entry into Canada and telling them the reason for this is the fact that you went to Cuba is going to make things worse. Airlines have to report citizenship for everyone on their international flights.



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User currently offlinelonghauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 5130 posts, RR: 43
Reply 14, posted (10 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 2668 times:

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 6):
Spending Money by credit Card will automatically hit the red lights in the US and cause Problems.
Quoting flymia (Reply 9):
Exactly the biggest issue is not using a credit card.

I have always found it virtually impossible to use a credit card in Cuba. No one accepts them. Even when renting a car, I had to pay cash up front, including insurance.

But that could be that most Canadian credit cards are somehow affiliated with an American company. (Mine certainly are ... AMEX and VISA, even though issued by a Canadian bank.)

All Canadian aircraft overflying the US must issue a manifest, as accurate as possible. As there are last minute bookings and re-routes, it is not always 100% accurate. However, I agree with the above, that once in Canada, I would use your EU passport for the entire Canada-Cuba mission. (Then the US passport for re-entry back into the US in your automobile).



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineeinsteinboricua From Puerto Rico, joined Apr 2010, 3294 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (10 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 2668 times:

If I'm not mistaken (and I've been told by others that have traveled there), Cuban authorities are aware of the difficulties of US citizens to get there which is why they don't stamp the passport. Rather, they attach a document as a temporary visa and remove it when you depart.

Quoting ORDTLV2414 (Reply 1):
the United States has a travel embargo on Cuba, unauthorized travel is a felony.

Honestly, I think the Feds have bigger fish to fry than to worry about how a Joe Average decides to spend a couple of days in "enemy territory".



"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25843 posts, RR: 22
Reply 16, posted (10 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 2609 times:

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 10):
Poland is part of Schengen, doubt that Polish citiens Need a visa for Canada, but one never knows.

Citizens of Bulgaria and Romania are the only EU member countries that require a visa for Canada, at least for the usual tourism reasons.

Another EU (and Schengen) member, Czech Republic, also needed a visa until last November when the requirement was removed.


User currently offlineFlyingSicilian From Italy, joined Mar 2009, 1377 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (10 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 2540 times:

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 13):
I don't think that is a good idea. It is usually best for dual citizens to use a single passport when entering or exiting a country and provide only one passport to the airline. You may have a problem entering a US passport on arrival in YYZ and then switching for check-in in Cuba.

Nonsense. I, and many members of my family and friends, have dual citizenships.

Your advicee is simply incorrect.



“Without seeing Sicily it is impossible to understand Italy.Sicily is the key of everything.”-Goethe "Journey to Italy"
User currently onlineYYZatcboy From Canada, joined Apr 2005, 1090 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (10 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2479 times:
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Make sure you use the same passport for each leg. IE

US-YYZ US Passport
YYZ-VRA EU Passport. Don't check in with EU passport and then present a US passport in cuba.



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User currently offlinelonghauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 5130 posts, RR: 43
Reply 19, posted (10 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2462 times:

Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 18):
Don't check in with EU passport and then present a US passport in cuba.

And when you check in for your flight, make sure the passport you used for identification is the same one you used when making the booking!



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineWROORD From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 962 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (10 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 2414 times:

Quoting ORDTLV2414 (Reply 1):
the United States has a travel embargo on Cuba, unauthorized travel is a felony.

That's right, I think this is in place since Cuban revolution in 1959. Anyways, I saw a documentary on 20/20 about someone pulling a trick like this and they were assessed a $50K fine for breaking US laws.
Also, keep in mind that since 9/11 all flights that go over US airspace must submit their passenger list to US authorities. No matter what passport you use they will find you based on you DOB.
If anything you should try a flight that does not go over US territory.


User currently offlineBraniff747SP From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 3004 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (10 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 2405 times:

Quoting WROORD (Reply 20):

Indeed--this is why most Americans fly down to Mexico and catch a flight to Cuba.



The 747 will always be the TRUE queen of the skies!
User currently offlineRyanairGuru From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 5903 posts, RR: 5
Reply 22, posted (10 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 2394 times:

Quoting FlyingSicilian (Reply 17):
Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 13):
I don't think that is a good idea. It is usually best for dual citizens to use a single passport when entering or exiting a country and provide only one passport to the airline. You may have a problem entering a US passport on arrival in YYZ and then switching for check-in in Cuba.

Nonsense. I, and many members of my family and friends, have dual citizenships.

Your advicee is simply incorrect.

  

FlyingSicilian is correct. Quite frankly, it's normal for us to switch passports mid-itinerary.


In this case use your EU passport exclusively. There's no point complicating thins with your US one.



Worked Hard, Flew Right
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25843 posts, RR: 22
Reply 23, posted (10 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 2383 times:

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 22):
Quoting FlyingSicilian (Reply 17):
Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 13):
I don't think that is a good idea. It is usually best for dual citizens to use a single passport when entering or exiting a country and provide only one passport to the airline. You may have a problem entering a US passport on arrival in YYZ and then switching for check-in in Cuba.

Nonsense. I, and many members of my family and friends, have dual citizenships.

Your advicee is simply incorrect.



FlyingSicilian is correct. Quite frankly, it's normal for us to switch passports mid-itinerary.


In this case use your EU passport exclusively. There's no point complicating thins with your US one.

Only problem with that advice is that most countries require that if you hold a passport for that country you must use it when entering that country, so using an EU passport for the last leg of the trip back to the US could be a problem.


User currently offlineBraniff747SP From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 3004 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (10 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 2375 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 23):
nly problem with that advice is that most countries require that if you hold a passport for that country you must use it when entering that country, so using an EU passport for the last leg of the trip back to the US could be a problem.

First off, that's very difficult to enforce and is rarely done.

Secondly, fine--then use the US passport. Doesn't really make a difference, and then one can use the residents' line. I don't see why anyone wouldn't do this.



The 747 will always be the TRUE queen of the skies!
25 RyanairGuru : You're right, I meant use the EU passport from YYZ to Cuba, rather than checking with the US one as suggested. It would be advisable to use the US on
26 bjorn14 : The big crime in going to Cuba is not going (IIRC, there is no specific law preventing you) per se but spending money there. Use cash or have the Cana
27 flymia : This is correct. The United States cannot tell its citizens where they can go. They can tell you where the currency is allowed. The issue is spending
28 Post contains links Viscount724 : I think they can. I seem to recall U.S .passport holders were prohibited from visiting Libya for quite a few years after the Pan Am 103 bombing (Lock
29 Mah4546 : There is nothing to worry about. Even if you are "caught," nothing is going to happen to you, because the law, which is ridiculous, is not enforced. G
30 longhauler : Not if you live within driving distance of YYZ. Do an internet search on "Cuba deals" from Toronto. Cheapest right now is $385 CDN, for a week, all i
31 flymia : I don't know anything about that but whatever "ban" it was it was not enforceable. It is fairly clear U.S. consituational law that the government of
32 Viscount724 : There are many references to the U.S. government making U.S. passports invalid for travel to Libya without special permission of the State Department
33 StarAC17 : Can that be extended to anyone spending American money in Cuba or just US citizens? I know many people whom buy US cash in Canada at the bank that go
34 Post contains images PanHAM : They take € in Cuba They might even take Canadian Dollars. The US$ is a shadow currency in many countries, even the e has advanced to that and went
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