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CBP Announces ESTA Ineligibility for Travelers to Cuba

27 Jul

One July 6, 2023, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) changed Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) eligibility for individuals who have traveled to Cuba or who hold dual nationality with both a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) country and Cuba. This update stems from the Secretary of State’s designation of Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST) on January 12, 2021, making travelers who have visited Cuba on or after this date ineligible for ESTA. 

In addition, a previously approved ESTA may be revoked if it is later determined the individual has traveled to Cuba or holds dual nationality with both a VWP country and Cuba. If the ESTA is revoked, the traveler will be notified about a change in their ESTA status and may view the updated status on the ESTA Mobile App or on CBP’s ESTA website: 

It is important to note the announcement on July 6th does not completely bar affected travelers from entering the United States. These travelers may still enter the U.S. even if they no longer qualify for ESTA, as they can still apply for a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. consular post. 

Exceptions: Military personnel and government employees are exempted from the travel restrictions if their presence in Cuba was to carry out official duties as full-time government employees of a VWP country or through military service in the armed forces of a VWP country. This exception does not apply to those whose presence in Cuba was on behalf of international organizations. 

Foster will continue to monitor the requirements concerning ESTA eligibility and will make future updates available via our website at