The United States’ decision to require visas from Europeans who have previously visited the island would affect Cubans with dual nationality, but would also affect any citizens of the old continent.
This has been confirmed by the foreign ministries of Germany, France, Spain and Italy, the leading European countries in releasing 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 would mean canceling it after Cuba was designated a state sponsor of terrorism.
“If you have previously traveled to Cuba, it is necessary to obtain a US visa to enter the US, presentation of ESTA is not sufficient. The foregoing also applies to separate and at different times of visits to Cuba and the United States.”, reported the Spanish Foreign Ministry 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 the 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 living 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 system and warns that the ESTA could be “cancelled” by the border police or the passenger could be “denied boarding”.
Italy, on the other hand, limited it to warning passengers departing from Cuba “about the risk of US officials canceling the ESTA”.
According to the US Department of Homeland Security, “if a traveler is found to be visiting a country that sponsors terrorism,” they will no longer be eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program.
This measure is not new, although its application has behaved erratically over the past year depending on the airport of entry. Some cases of Cubans with European passports, known as Radio Televisión Marti, refer to being questioned at border offices about their possible visit to Cuba. Others entered the United States without any problems.