Lucky for travellers venturing to Cuba, paying your departure tax is easier than ever, mostly because it doesn’t take any additional effort on your part.
In general, departure and arrival taxes are extra fees that are imposed by countries on visiting tourists. Typically these are collected when you arrive and/or depart, and are usually paid in cash to a specific body stationed at the airport.
However, since 2015, Cuba has significantly changed their departure tax rules, in that, while you still have to pay an arrival tax, you don’t actually need to do so physically at the airport.
Now, the Cuban departure tax should be included in the price of your flight or package holiday, meaning you won’t need cash in hand to cover this expense at any point within your Cuban holiday. Even so, it would be best to double-check this with your tour operator before you leave just so you’re sure. Just a heads up, as of 1st May 2019, all TUI holidays to Cuba will include departure tax in the upfront holiday price.
Paying the departure tax in this way is a relatively recent change. Up until May 2015, all travellers paid a departure tax of 25 CUC – £19 in cash at the airport before leaving Cuban soil. However, new laws have abolished taxes for departure specifically, condensing the fees so you’ll only pay on arrival.
Am I exempt from the Cuban departure tax?
Chances are, if you’re travelling to Cuba as a tourist and planning to stay, you won’t be exempt from paying Cuba’s departure tax. Only children under two years, diplomats, transit passengers, government employees travelling while on duty and crew members travelling while on duty are exempt from the tax.
What is a Cuban Customs Declaration Card?
The Cuban Customs Declaration Card is a form you’ll be given when going through customs – it allows you to declare any items of concern such as live animals, weapons or satellite communication technology such as walkie talkies. There will be a section where you’ll also need to declare if you’re carrying any more than 5,000 US dollars.
Do I need a tourist card or visa when travelling to Cuba?
You’ll need to apply for a tourist card when travelling to Cuba, which needs to be done before your departure. It costs £26* and can be completed online. Make sure you don’t leave it right up until the last minute as it takes 5 working days to process.
You can apply for your tourist card online at www.visacuba.com – but make sure you don’t apply through any other website, as some agencies charge additional fees.
*Costs are subject to change, we recommend checking the official Cuban Tourist Card website.
Now you have all the facts, you can head on your holiday to Cuba feeling at ease. If you haven’t yet booked an exciting Cuban getaway, we have some exclusive packages you won’t be able to resist.
Originally written November 2017.
Updated 15th November 2018.