International trade with Cuba by U.S. persons is restricted. This includes U.S. banks, which are involved in international transactions. As correspondents to banks that may be the U.S. only role in a transaction. A transaction could be between a third country and a Cuban importer, but the financial transaction routes through a U.S. bank and at that point would trigger sanctions liability for the U.S. correspondent bank. If you want to know more about doing business with Cuba, speak with a knowledgeable OFAC sanctions attorney that could answer your questions.

Travel to Cuba

Travel to Cuba is restricted, and one may only use a general license that has been authorized by OFAC to travel to Cuba. There is a list of general licenses with defined definitions and restrictions that one would need to abide by to travel to Cuba. Generally, that form of the law is just an exception to the transaction involving a property in which a Cuba or Cuban national has an interest in is prohibited. If a person’s business dealing has any Cuban interest involved, whether it is a service or a person, it is restricted by the Cuban sanctions regime and sanctions regime on Cuba. U.S. persons are also restricted in dealing with SDN, Specially Designated Nationals, which include a wide range of persons and entities and the Cuban government as well as Cuban military and police. One must abide by proper due diligence prior to engaging in any transactions with a Cuban person or entity, whether it is in Cuba or abroad.

Types of Travel That Are Permissible

The types of travel that could be done with Cuba include the categories of family business, official business of the U.S. government, foreign government, certain intergovernmental organizations, journalistic activity, professional research and professional meetings, educational activities, religious activities, public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions and exhibitions that support for the Cuban people, humanitarian projects, activities, foundations or research or educational institutes, and the exportation, importation, or transmission of information and certain other export transactions. If a person’s travel relates to the exportation, importation, or transmission of information, it is permitted but as of now it is still close.

Exceptions to Cuban Sanctions

There are certain exceptions to the Cuban sanctions regime and these exceptions would permit U.S. persons engaging in specific defined and narrow transactions with Cuban businesses, entities, or persons. Some of these exceptions include food and agricultural exports. Generally, a broad range of these exports with numerous restrictions are available as exceptions to character. For example, U.S. origin food products may need to obtain permission from BIS. Department of Commerce BIS exports goods to Cuba, but under OFAC sanctions they are generally authorized. Travel-related transactions are generally exempt from the Cuban sanctions. There are various rules limiting those transaction based on the underlying reasoning for the transaction as well as the entities and persons involved.

Documentation to Bring When Applying for a Cuba Sanctions Exception

Generally, U.S. persons are restricted in transacting with Cuban nationals in Cuba or abroad with few exceptions. One should be cautious in dealing with Cuba and if somebody recommends it, speak with anOFAC sanctions attorney on understanding obligations prior to engaging in any form of dealing with a Cuban national person or entity. The risks include block transactions, sanctions violation and criminal, administrative, and civil penalties, which include up to ten years in prison, up to a $100,000,000 in corporate fines, and $250,000 in personal fines.