Last fall, my husband and I went to Cuba for two weeks – a beautiful country that I can only recommend to everyone. Especially Havana and Trinidad I liked very much. As with any long-distance trip, there is one thing you have to do beforehand, in addition to booking a flight and possibly a hotel: apply for a visa. Because without it you won't get far, not even in Cuba.
Visa for Cuba
The visa for Cuba is also called tourist card. You are allowed to stay in the country for up to 30 days. If you plan a longer trip, the visa can be extended once for another 30 days. You can order the tourist card online in advance, but you can also get it at the airlines or at the Cuban embassy – but I can't tell you anything about that, because we bought the visa online. It is important that you need the visa, as almost everywhere, before departure. Some airlines also check if you have the tourist card before you are allowed to board the plane.
Tour operators often make life a little easier at this point – especially with package tours or group tours the tourist card is already included in the booking. In case of doubt, however, it is better to ask again and, if necessary, to check whether you have a tourist card. still take care of it yourself.
Order tourist card online
If you google, you will quickly find numerous providers, through which you can easily order the tourist card. We ordered our cards through Cubavisa – here the cards cost 29 euros per person. The tourist card is not valid if you are coming from the USA or Canada.
You then get a card that you have to fill out yourself before entering the country. Name, date of birth, passport number and so on you simply fill out according to the data in your own passport, and present the card at the airport together with the passport when entering the country. If, like me, you are one of those people who never have a pen with you, it's worth taking care of it while you're still at home – we were lucky that when we arrived, a lady in front of us in line had a pen to fill out and we were allowed to borrow it. Alternatively, you can order the tourist card directly including processing. You only have to send a copy of your passport to the processing center and they will send you the tourist card already filled out.
Depending on where you order your visa or where you go. Whether you order it without or with processing, it can of course take different times until you have the tourist card. Since you need it before you start your trip, you should take care of it in time – at Cubavisa the visa is sent directly after receipt of payment, but of course it can take a few days until the card arrives. We ordered the tickets about two weeks before the start of our trip.