The Obama administration has significantly eased travel restrictions to Cuba for individuals, allowing them to make "individual people-to-people educational” trips to the island, without having to travel with an authorized group. The change takes effect March 16.

Americans had been able to visit Cuba as part of people-to-people educational tour groups, accompanied by a representative of those groups, but not on their own. 

The change allows for an individual to travel alone under people-to-people educational travel guidelines, provided that the traveler “engages in a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities and that will result in a meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba.”

A joint statement from the Treasury and Commerce departments said that the change was intended to make educational travel to Cuba more accessible and less expensive for U.S. citizens, and to increase opportunities for direct engagement between Cubans and Americans.  

The statement also said that persons traveling under the new guidelines must retain records related to the authorized travel transactions, including records demonstrating a full-time schedule of authorized activities.

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