Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

  • Greg 16 posts

    I was just about to book London-Miami-Cuba-Miami-London when I read this in Toiday’s Times

    Cuba may be on your wishlist for 2024: who wouldn’t fancy sipping a mojito on glorious Varadero beach? But booking a holiday to this Caribbean island has a serious drawback: set foot on its white sands and you’ll make any future trips to the USA much more difficult because you won’t be able to enter the country using an online £17 Esta visa waiver.

    Has anybody had any good/bad experience with this – and any advice ?

    Thanks

    Super Secret Stuff 364 posts

    It’s been documented many times of people being rejected, however many times people get through no problem, travel blogs and YouTube etc. if your super lucky you even get a friendly homeland security agent at the gate who personally says F off. It’s a risk I wouldn’t take

    NorthernLass 8,223 posts

    IIRC you would have to apply for a visa if you want to visit the States and you have previously been to Cuba. Quite what the US fears from the average European tourist who has been there is beyond me, but the implication is that you may or may not get approved for said visa, which may scupper your future travel plans.

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 2,244 posts

    This has been the case since early 2021 (for Cuba) and longer for other countries on the naughty list.

    You would then need to apply for a visa to enter the US which isn’t the easiest thing to do as appointments are scarce.

    Visiting Cuba alone won’t get the visa application rejected.

    You might think just applying for an ESTA would be fine but you’d have to lie during the application as one of the Qs is about visiting a number of countries. And the US government doesn’t take kindly to that.

    strickers 723 posts

    Cuba was added to the State Sponsors of Terrorism list by Trump on the 12th Jan 2021, if you visited before that then you can still travel on an ESTA. After that you will need a full US visa. But as with anything, don’t take advice on a forum without doing your own thorough research.

    Greg 16 posts

    Thanks All.

    What would have happened at the end of my Cuba holiday ? Would I have been stopped at Miami airport, or not allowed to board in Havana ?

    strickers 723 posts

    Some have gotten away with it, I think Cuba might be giving entry cards rather than passport stamps but others have been refused entry in the USA. Fundamentally, you would have breached the requirements of the ESTA with all the complications that would bring. It’s such a shame really because US citizens can travel I think, Canadians also as they don’t need any additional documentation to enter the USA.

    Gavin454 177 posts

    Slightly different but the same situation in the end, I visited Iran in December 2011 and this means I’m no longer eligible for ESTA. A US multiple entry visa lasts for 10 years, very easy having it approved etc but it did take pretty much all day at the embassy in London. The officer processing my application at the embassy seemed to think the rules are a bit silly.

    Having a visa does have at least one benefit over ESTA, it allows you to stay for longer (180 days per entry instead of 90 for ESTA).

    Super Secret Stuff 364 posts

    Thanks All.

    What would have happened at the end of my Cuba holiday ? Would I have been stopped at Miami airport, or not allowed to board in Havana ?

    There are very, very few flights from Cuba to the US. So this scenario is so unlikely. You’d fly direct or via Mexico / Canada

    davefl 1,416 posts

    Thanks All.

    What would have happened at the end of my Cuba holiday ? Would I have been stopped at Miami airport, or not allowed to board in Havana ?

    There are very, very few flights from Cuba to the US. So this scenario is so unlikely. You’d fly direct or via Mexico / Canada

    You’re kidding right? MIA-HAV – AA 8 flights per day, DL 2 flights per day.

    I was planning to do exactly this route until Trump ruined it for me and many others.

    Super Secret Stuff 364 posts

    Thanks All.

    What would have happened at the end of my Cuba holiday ? Would I have been stopped at Miami airport, or not allowed to board in Havana ?

    There are very, very few flights from Cuba to the US. So this scenario is so unlikely. You’d fly direct or via Mexico / Canada

    You’re kidding right? MIA-HAV – AA 8 flights per day, DL 2 flights per day.

    I was planning to do exactly this route until Trump ruined it for me and many others.

    I thought trump also reversed Obama’s change to the number of flights per week but just checked and I’m wrong. Surprising. Still an unlikely scenario that anyone would willingly risk it

    JonathanC 107 posts

    Cuba was added to the State Sponsors of Terrorism list by Trump on the 12th Jan 2021, if you visited before that then you can still travel on an ESTA. After that you will need a full US visa. But as with anything, don’t take advice on a forum without doing your own thorough research.

    I contacted U.S. CBP directly, as I’d previously travelled to Cuba, and couldn’t believe it when I read it, at the time it said ‘if you’ve ever been in Cuba, you’ll need a visa to go to the U.S.’

    They clarified that any travel to there before the nation was re-listed as a state sponsor of terrorism, but none afterwards makes the traveller still eligible to apply for ESTA

    Our government’s foreign travel advice pages are regularly updated, and always a good place to find out what you’ll need when planning a trip abroad (not everything you need to know though… !)

    JonathanC 107 posts

    Thanks All.

    What would have happened at the end of my Cuba holiday ? Would I have been stopped at Miami airport, or not allowed to board in Havana ?

    There are very, very few flights from Cuba to the US. So this scenario is so unlikely. You’d fly direct or via Mexico / Canada

    You’re kidding right? MIA-HAV – AA 8 flights per day, DL 2 flights per day.

    I was planning to do exactly this route until Trump ruined it for me and many others.

    I thought trump also reversed Obama’s change to the number of flights per week but just checked and I’m wrong. Surprising. Still an unlikely scenario that anyone would willingly risk it

    There’s still loads of flights to from MIA-HAV, and the opposite route.

    Trump restricted flights to Havana only, after Obama (administration) moved towards closer relations with the nation, flights to numerous cities across Cuba opened up, now it’s just the capital where flights are allowed to go.

    Bizarrely enough, regardless of your nationality, travel to Cuba from the U.S. for tourism wasn’t permitted at all, but apparently this rule is rarely enforced, I briefly encountered some Americans while I was there, and they said that there’s not much checks done for your travel plans when arrive for your flight (U.S. departure)

    RV 48 posts

    If you have Avios available, a really good option is to go to Cuba via Madrid with Iberia. Funnily enough Havana doesn’t come up on the search on the BA website, but if you type HAVANA and hit search it does bring the results.

    I don’t have a British passport and I’m not eligible for ESTA, so I always had to hold a tourist visa for the US anyway. It’s a long application form + 160 USD. But you only have to do it once every 10 years (and renewals are much easier than the first Visa).

    But as someone already mentioned on the thread, better to do your own research from the official USA Gov websites etc.

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