With President Obama’s recent decision to lift some restrictions on Cuban travel, many Americans are excited at the thought of finally being able to enjoy Cuba’s sandy beaches for the first time in over 50 years. But what exactly does this decision mean for American tourism in Cuba? While full details have yet to be divulged to the public, there is some information out there for prospective travelers.
Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images


Has The Ban On Traveling To Cuba Been Completely Lifted?

No, the ban has not been completely lifted. But it has been opened up to expand on President Obama’s 2009 decision to allow Americans to travel to Cuba to visit close relatives. This new policy will also allow Americans to visit Cuba for humanitarian endeavors, educational opportunities and some work-related activities.

Who Will These New Restrictions Pertain To?

The newly revised travel restrictions allow for individuals to apply for general travel licenses for the following reasons:

  • Public Performances
  • Family Visits
  • Telecommunications Development
  • Athletic Competitions
  • Cuban Humanitarian Work
  • Government Work
  • Religious Activities
  • Private Foundations
  • Education
  • The Export Of Authorized Goods
Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Will American Currency Be Usable In Cuba?

Yes, American currency has always been exchangeable in Cuba. But now for the first time since the 1960’s, U.S. credit cards will be accepted on Cuban soil. American debit cards are also now usable in Cuba.

Photo Credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images


Will People Be Able To Bring Goods Back To The U.S.?

Yes, travelers who go through the appropriate legal channels to obtain a Cuban travel license will be allowed to bring up to $400 worth of goods back to the States with them. Included within the $400 restriction, travelers will find a $100 limit on all tobacco and alcohol products. This means Americans will finally be able to legally bring Cuban rum and cigars back to the States. Any tobacco or alcohol products imported from Cuba must be for personal use and cannot be sold in America.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


What Else Will Change As A Result Of This Decision?

Another big change for American travelers in Cuba will be the establishment of a U.S. embassy in Havana. This will be a great benefit to Americans should any issues arise while abroad such as passport problems, getting in touch with family back in the States or dealing with any emergency situation that develops in Cuba during your time there.

Matt Weiss is an associate producer for CBS Local’s Best Of and Travel sections. Follow him on Twitter.