Frequently Asked Questions

780. Are there any exceptions to the 180-day rule and the goods/passengers-on-board rule?

Answer

Yes. OFAC has authorized by general license certain exceptions to these rules. If a vessel engages only in one or more of the following activities with Cuba, it will qualify for the general license and therefore will not be subject to the 180-day rule or the goods/passengers-on-board rule:

  • Engaging or has engaged in trade with Cuba authorized under the CACR, such as a vessel carrying goods from the United States that are licensed or otherwise authorized for export or reexport to Cuba by the U.S. Department of Commerce pursuant to the EAR;
  • Engaging or has engaged in trade with Cuba that is exempt from the prohibitions of the CACR, such as a vessel carrying exclusively informational materials;
  • Engaging or has engaged in the export or reexport from a third country to Cuba of agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices that, were they subject to the EAR, would be designated as EAR99;
  • Carrying or has carried persons between the United States and Cuba or within Cuba pursuant to the general license for the provision of carrier services under the CACR; or
  • A foreign vessel that has entered a port or place in Cuba while carrying students, faculty, and staff that are authorized to travel to Cuba pursuant to the general license for educational activities under the CACR.

Additionally, if a vessel’s only transactions with Cuba are the exportation to Cuba from a third country of items that, were they subject to the EAR, would be designated as EAR99 or controlled on the Commerce Control List only for anti-terrorism reasons, the vessel will not be subject to the 180- day rule.

These exceptions to the 180-day rule do not apply to a vessel that:

  • Carries for export to Cuba any additional goods that, were they subject to the EAR, would not be designated as EAR99 or controlled on the Commerce Control List only for anti-terrorism reasons;
  • Picks up any goods in Cuba, unless the transactions involving those goods are authorized by OFAC or exempt from the prohibitions of the CACR; or
  • Purchases or provides services in Cuba, other than docking, unloading, or other services associated with normal shipping transactions.

For a complete description of the 180-day rule, the goods/passengers-on-board rule, and the general licenses and exemptions that apply, see 31 CFR §§ 515.206, 515.207, and 515.550. 

Date Released
September 6, 2019