EuroPL
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US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:27 am

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
 
ORDTLV2414
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:47 am

the United States has a travel embargo on Cuba, unauthorized travel is a felony.
 
PacNWjet
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:58 am

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."
 
AR385
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:12 am

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.
 
fly2yyz
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:41 am

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.
 
FlyingSicilian
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:45 am

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?
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PanHAM
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:11 am

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
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sw733
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:42 pm

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.
 
dc9northwest
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:52 pm

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.
 
flymia
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:05 pm

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.
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PanHAM
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:06 pm

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 .
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EuroPL
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:48 pm

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.
 
Braniff747SP
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:06 am

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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roseflyer
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:32 pm

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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longhauler
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:00 pm

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).
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einsteinboricua
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:01 pm

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".
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Viscount724
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:00 am

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.
 
FlyingSicilian
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:17 pm

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.
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YYZatcboy
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:29 am

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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longhauler
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:10 pm

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!
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WROORD
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:16 pm

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.
 
Braniff747SP
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:11 pm

Quoting WROORD (Reply 20):

Indeed--this is why most Americans fly down to Mexico and catch a flight to Cuba.
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RyanairGuru
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:36 pm

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.
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Viscount724
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:44 am

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.
 
Braniff747SP
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:03 am

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.
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RyanairGuru
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:50 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 23):
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.

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 one to cross the border, and also keep it with you when travelling to Cuba as an overcautious immigration agent might question how a Polish citizen popped up in Canada without officially entering. Showing them your US passport and saying you entered on that will be fine, 99% of immigration agents are very understanding and accommodating to dual nationals in my experience.

The reason I often "switch" nationalities is because I have to enter and leave Australia on my Australian passport but often enter the EU with my EU passport, although last time I didn't bother and only took my Australian one. It was quite exciting to get an entry stamp for the country of my birth!
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bjorn14
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:50 pm

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 Canadian relatives pay for it.
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flymia
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Tue Jan 21, 2014 7:42 pm

Quoting bjorn14 (Reply 26):

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 Canadian relatives pay for it.

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 money and or bringing anything back from Cuba into the United States.
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Viscount724
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:09 am

Quoting flymia (Reply 27):
The United States cannot tell its citizens where they can go.

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 (Lockerbie).
http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/story?id=118634
 
MAH4546
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:56 am

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.

Go to the Cuba and have a good time. It's easier and cheaper, though, to transit via the Bahamas, Mexico or the Cayman Islands.
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longhauler
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:18 pm

Quoting Mah4546 (Reply 29):
It's easier and cheaper, though, to transit via the Bahamas, Mexico or the Cayman Islands.

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 inclusive including airfare!!!
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flymia
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:14 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 28):
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 (Lockerbie).http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/story?id=118634

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 the United States cannot restrict the travel of its citizens. U.S. Citizens can and do go to Iran, North Korea, and Cuba all countries with no diplomatic relations with the U.S. A more recent landmark case would be Kent v. Dulles in 1958. This is why banning travel to Cuba has never happened but they can enforce rules on currency and trade. The only thing the U.S. Government can do is deny or revoke passports, for good reason.
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Viscount724
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:56 am

Quoting flymia (Reply 31):
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 28):
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 (Lockerbie).http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/story?id=118634

I don't know anything about that but whatever "ban" it was it was not enforceable.

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. That restriction was imposed before Pan Am 103 so it had nothing to do with that. A similar restriction applied to Iran at one time.
 
StarAC17
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:57 pm

Quoting flymia (Reply 27):
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 money and or bringing anything back from Cuba into the United States.

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 to Cuba and wondered if that was illegal or not.
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PanHAM
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RE: US Citizens Traveling To Cuba Via Canada

Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:12 am

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 into the footsteps of the Deutsch Mark.

Cash cannot be traced, that is why Governments want to go out of cash in the not so Long future. I hope they fail with that.

As Long as a US citizen does not use his Visa or Mastercard in Cuba she/he has nothing to worry about.
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