So, here’s what changed last week to the Cuban Asset Control Regulations (CACR):
- “People to people educational travel” now doesn’t have to be through a sponsoring organization. However, you have to keep records showing that you spent your time in authorized educational exchange activities. Those are ones which “enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities.” THe activities also require “meaningful” dealings with Cubans. Interestingly enough, there is not a total ban in dealing with government or Communist Party officials. But the “predominant” portion of the authorized activities must not be with them.
- The restriction on salaries paid to Cuban nationals has been lifted if the Cuban government does not levy taxes on the salary. Similarly, firms can now hire Cuban nationals in the US if not required to pay a fee to the Cuban government. And all filing fees for non-immigrant travel authorizations are authorized.
- US persons may purchase Cuban-origin and other restricted goods for personal consumption outside the US.
- U-turn payments (sender and beneficiary bank outside the US, but funds flow through the US) are now authorized when neither the originator or beneficiary are US persons
- US banks may process monetary instruments presented indirectly by Cuban firms, but may not offer correspondent accounts to Cuban financial institutions
- US banks may open accounts for Cuban nationals for receiving proceeds from authorized activities and remitting those funds to Cuba
- The categories of activities for which a business presence in Cuba is authorized was expanded to include (specific regulatory references removed):
- exporters of goods authorized for export or reexport to Cuba
- entities providing mail or parcel transmission services that are authorized or providing cargo transportation services in connection with trade involving Cuba that are authorized or exempt
- providers of travel and carrier services that are authorized
- The categories of activities for which a physical presence in Cuba is authorized was expanded to include (specific regulatory references removed):
- entities engaging in non-commercial activities that are authorized as Support for the Cuban People
- entities engaging in authorized humanitarian projects
- private foundations or research or educational institutes engaging in authorized transactions
- Educational grants, scholarships and awards may now be awarded to Cuban nationals
- Cuban-origin software may now be imported