HAVANA, Sept. 15th The decision of the United States to require visas from Europeans who have previously visited the island will affect Cubans with dual nationality, but also any citizen of the old continent.
This has been confirmed by the foreign ministries of Germany, France, Spain and Italy, leading European countries in issuing tourism to Cuba.
Currently, EU citizens only need the so-called ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), an online permit to enter North American territory. However, visiting the island will mean its annulment after the designation of Cuba as a State sponsor of terrorism.
“It is necessary to obtain a US visa to enter the US if you have previously traveled to Cuba, the presentation of the ESTA is not sufficient. The foregoing is applicable even for trips made to Cuba and the US separately and at different times,” reported the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its travel recommendations.
For its part, Germany warned that people with a residence permit in Cuba or dual Cuban-German nationality “are not eligible for ESTA until further notice” and must apply for a visa to enter the United States. According to Berlin, the above also applies to transit flights.
In France, the Foreign Ministry warned that “any traveler who has remained in Cuba is now subject to a visa to enter the United States, regardless of their origin.” Paris agrees that they cannot take advantage of the online authorization regime and warns that the ESTA may be “canceled” by the border police or the traveler may be “denied boarding”.
Italy, on the other hand, limited itself to warning about the “risk that the US authorities revoke the ESTA” to travelers departing from Cuba.
According to the US Department of Homeland Security, “if a traveler is found to have visited” a country that sponsors terrorism, “they will no longer be eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program.”
The measure is not new, although its application has behaved irregularly in the last year, depending on the airport of entry. Some cases of Cubans with European passports, known by Radio Televisión Martí, refer to having been interrogated at border offices about their possible visits to Cuba. Others entered the United States without any problem.