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Changes in U.S. - Cuba Regulations

March 18, 2016

On March 15, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Commerce issued new amendments to regulations governing travel, trade, and financial transactions with Cuba.

The most recent round of regulatory changes took effect on March 16, 2016. Key provisions include:

  • U.S. persons will now be authorized to travel to Cuba for people-to-people educational travel individually without first having to contract with a sponsoring organization. Individuals will remain subject to regulations mandating travelers keep a full-time schedule of authorized activities while in Cuba, as well as to corresponding record retention requirements.  
  • Non-immigrant Cuban nationals in the United States will be permitted to earn a salary or compensation consistent with their visa status. U.S. companies are now also authorized to sponsor or hire Cuban nationals to work or perform in the United States.
  • U.S. banking institutions are now authorized to process "U-Turn" transactions in which Cuba or a Cuban nationals have an interest; U.S. banking institutions will be able to process U.S. dollar monetary instruments presented indirectly by Cuban financial institutions; and U.S. banks will now be authorized to open and maintain accounts for Cuban nationals to receive payment for authorized transactions and to remit payments back to Cuba.
  • The authorization for establishing a "physical presence" in Cuba will be expanded to include additional entities.
  • Cuban origin software is now authorized for importation into the United States.
  • Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) will adopt a case-by-case licensing policy as apply to exports and reexports of items that would facilitate exports from Cuba produced by the private sector.

As the U.S. government continues to release guidance and implementing regulations regarding Cuba, U.S. based entities should remain vigilant as to how these changes could impact their business priorities. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns as you begin to examine such regulations.

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