Cuba Sanctions

Cuba Sanctions

1057

Answer

No.  Under 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(3), banking institutions, as defined in § 515.314, including U.S.-registered brokers or dealers in securities and U.S.-registered money transmitters, are authorized to provide services in connection with the collection, forwarding, or receipt of remittances authorized pursuant to the CACR, subject to certain conditions.  In addition, under § 515.570(h), banking institutions are authorized to unblock and return blocked remittances that would have been authorized under § 515.570(a) or (b).  Banking institutions may rely on the statements of their customers that remittance transactions are authorized unless they know or have reason to know a transaction is not authorized.  A banking institution is expected to conduct a level of due diligence commensurate with its overall risk profile and internal compliance policies and procedures with respect to a transaction involving Cuba or a Cuban national. 

Date Released
June 8, 2022

1056

Answer

Effective June 9, 2022, in consultation with the Department of State, OFAC amended the CACR to implement elements of policy changes announced by the Administration on May 16, 2022 to increase support for the Cuban people.

Professional meetings and conferences in Cuba:  Effective June 9, 2022, OFAC amended 31 CFR § 515.564(a) to include a general license authorizing, subject to conditions, travel-related and other transactions incident to attending or organizing professional meetings or conferences in Cuba, such as   professional meetings or conferences to support expanded internet access and remittance processing and to provide additional support and training to independent Cuban entrepreneurs.  OFAC also amended and added cross-references to § 515.564(a) in notes to §§ 515.534, 515.542, 515.547, 515.572, 515.577, and 515.591.

Group people-to-people and other academic educational activities:  Effective June 9, 2022, OFAC amended § 515.565(a) to remove certain restrictions on authorized academic educational activities. OFAC also amended § 515.565(b) to authorize group people-to-people educational travel conducted under the auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction and that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact, provided such travelers are accompanied by an employee, paid consultant, or agent of the sponsoring organization.  Travel-related transactions authorized pursuant to § 515.565(b) must be for the purpose of engaging, while in Cuba, in a full-time schedule of activities that are intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities; and will result in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba.  This amendment does not authorize individual people-to-people travel.  Travel for tourist activities is not permitted.

Remittances:  Effective June 9, 2022, OFAC amended § 515.570(a) to remove the $1,000 quarterly limit on family remittances to Cuban nationals who are close relatives.  OFAC also added § 515.570(b) to authorize donative remittances to Cuban nationals who are not prohibited officials of the Government of Cuba, prohibited members of the Cuban Communist Party, or close relatives of a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba or prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party.  Finally, OFAC added a general license in § 515.570(h) authorizing the unblocking and return of previously blocked remittances, provided they would be authorized under the revised § 515.570(a) or (b).

Date Released
June 8, 2022

852

Answer

On October 27, 2020, OFAC issued an amendment to the CACR, effective November 26, 2020, to remove from the scope of certain remittance-related general authorizations any transactions involving entities or subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. Specifically, the October 27, 2020 rule amends the following general licenses: (i) 31 CFR § 515.570, relating to remittances from persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction or from blocked accounts; (ii) 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(3), relating to the provision of remittance forwarding services; and (iii) 31 CFR § 515.587, relating to remittances from Cuban nationals to persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction. For more information, see 31 CFR §§ 515.570, 515.572, and 515.587.  

Further, the October 27, 2020 rule amends 31 CFR § 515.421 to clarify that a transaction relating to the collection, forwarding, or receipt of remittances involving an entity or subentity identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List is not authorized as an ordinarily incident transaction where the terms of the general or specific license expressly exclude any such transactions (see, e.g., 31 CFR § 515.570(j), 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(3), or 31 CFR § 515.587). For more information, see 31 CFR § 515.421.  OFAC also added a clarifying note in 31 CFR § 515.209, consistent with the amended text of 31 CFR § 515.421. As a result of these amendments, effective November 26, 2020, persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction will no longer be authorized to process remittances to or from Cuba through FINCIMEX or any other entity or subentity on the Cuba Restricted List. 

Date Released
October 26, 2020

839

Answer

Consistent with the Administration’s interest in avoiding negative impacts on Americans for arranging lawful travel to Cuba, any existing travel-related arrangements that include lodging at properties in Cuba identified on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List will continue to be permitted, provided that those travel-related arrangements were initiated prior to the State Department’s addition of the property to the list as published in the Federal Register. Once the State Department publishes notice in the Federal Register that it has added the property to the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List, new lodging-related transactions with the property prohibited by § 515.210, such as a reservation on behalf of a third party to lodge at a property on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List, are prohibited, unless authorized by OFAC or exempt. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210. 

Date Released
September 23, 2020

838

Answer

No person subject to U.S. jurisdiction may lodge, pay for lodging, or make any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property that the Secretary of State has identified as a property in Cuba that is owned or controlled by: the Cuban government; a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba, as defined in § 515.337; a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party, as defined in § 515.338; a close relative, as defined in § 515.339, of a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba; or a close relative of a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party when the terms of the general or specific license expressly exclude such a transaction.  Such properties are identified on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List. See FAQ 839 for travel arrangements initiated prior to a property’s listing on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210.

Date Released
September 23, 2020

837

Answer

Effective September 24, 2020, OFAC issued an amendment to the CACR restricting imports of Cuban-origin alcohol and tobacco products, as well as specific categories of authorized travel to Cuba related to professional meetings or conferences and certain public performances or other events, and also incorporating a new prohibition related to lodging in Cuba. Specifically, the September 24, 2020 amendment makes the following changes to the CACR:

  • Restrictions on lodging, paying for lodging, or making reservations for lodging at certain properties in Cuba.  Incorporates a prohibition in § 515.210, which prohibits any person subject to U.S. jurisdiction from lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property that the Secretary of State has identified as a property in Cuba that is owned or controlled by the Cuban government; a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba, as defined in § 515.337; a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party, as defined in § 515.338; a close relative, as defined in § 515.339, of a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba, or a close relative of a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party. In furtherance of this change, the State Department is creating a new list, the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List, to publish the names, addresses, or other identifying details, as relevant, of properties identified as meeting such criteria. For more on section § 515.210, please see FAQ 838.
  • Restrictions on importation into the United States of Cuban-origin alcohol and tobacco products.  Amends four authorizations in the CACR to exclude the importation into the United States of Cuban-origin alcohol and tobacco products. See 31 CFR §§ 515.560(c)(3); 515.569; 515.571(a)(1); and 515.585(d). Previously, the importation of Cuban-origin alcohol and tobacco products as accompanied baggage was authorized for non-commercial use under certain circumstances; with this amendment, OFAC is eliminating those authorizations. For more information, please see FAQ 731.
  • Professional research and professional meetings in Cuba.  Eliminates the general authorization in § 515.564(a)(2) related to attendance at, or organization of, professional meetings or conferences in Cuba. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are no longer authorized via this general license to attend or organize professional meetings or conferences in Cuba. As a result, the only remaining general license in § 515.564(a) will be the general license for certain professional research in Cuba. In addition, OFAC is clarifying that specific licenses may be issued on a case-by-case basis authorizing certain transactions related to professional research or professional meetings or conferences. For more information, please see FAQ 701
  • Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions.  Eliminates the general authorization in § 515.567(b) related to public performances, clinics, workshops, competitions, and exhibitions. As a result, the only remaining general license for participation in and organization of athletic competitions in Cuba will be the general license in § 515.567(a) for athletic competitions by amateur or semi-professional athletes or athletic teams. In addition, OFAC is clarifying that specific licenses may be issued on a case-by-case basis authorizing certain activity. For more information, please see FAQ 706.

Please note that the Cuba embargo remains in place, and most transactions between Cuba and the United States, or persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, continue to be prohibited under the CACR, which are enforced by OFAC. 

Date Released
September 23, 2020

741

Answer

Yes, credit card network operators that are persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction may process such transactions and related settlements for third-country financial institutions. Section 515.584(c) of the CACR authorizes all transactions incident to the processing and payment of credit and debit cards transactions for third-country nationals traveling to, from, or within Cuba.

Date Released
November 8, 2017

740

Answer

Yes, credit card network operators that are persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction may process such transactions and related settlements for third-country financial institutions. Section 515.584(c) of the CACR authorizes all transactions incident to the processing and payment of credit and debit cards transactions for third-country nationals traveling to, from, or within Cuba.

Date Released
November 8, 2017

739

Answer

OFAC regulations do not require financial institutions or credit card companies to accept, maintain, or facilitate authorized financial relationships or transactions.

Date Released
November 8, 2017

738

Answer

Yes. Authorized travelers in Cuba are permitted to use credit or debit cards issued by a U.S. financial institution with respect to activity that is authorized pursuant to the CACR. Travelers are advised to check with their financial institution before traveling to Cuba to determine whether the institution has established the necessary mechanisms for its issued credit or debit cards to be used in Cuba. See 31 CFR § 515.560(c)(5) and 515.584(c).

Date Released
November 8, 2017