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OFAC Humanitarian Aid Fact Sheet: Cuba


The Cuba embargo targets Cuba’s Communist regime, which has for decades oppressed the Cuban people and failed to meet their most basic needs. Though the Cuba embargo remains in place, and most transactions between the United States, or persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, and Cuba continue to be prohibited, OFAC maintains several general license authorizations designed to allow for humanitarian relief and assistance to the Cuban people.

General Licenses (GLs) and Specific Licensing: The following GLs are related to humanitarian travel, trade, and assistance with Cuba pursuant to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR).

• § 515.533 of the CACR authorizes all transactions ordinarily incident to the export from the United States, or the reexport from a third country, to Cuba of items licensed or otherwise authorized by the Department of Commerce’s (Commerce) subject to certain conditions. Please see the Commerce website for additional information related to medicines, medical devices, and agricultural commodities.

o Persons providing carrier services for authorized travelers going from the United States to Cuba may transport cargo and baggage accompanying an authorized traveler provided that the export of the cargo and baggage is authorized by Commerce, and other cargo or unaccompanied baggage whose export to Cuba is authorized by Commerce. (For more information please see Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) 730)

• § 515.570 of the CACR authorizes a number of categories of remittances from persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to persons in Cuba, including family remittances as well as remittances to certain individuals and independent non-governmental organizations (NGO) in Cuba. (For more information, please see FAQ 732)

• § 515.572(a) of the CACR authorizes persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to provide carrier services by vessel or aircraft to, from, or within Cuba, in connection with authorized travel, without the need for a specific license from OFAC. However, while no additional license is required from OFAC, the export or reexport of certain vessels or

aircraft providing carrier services under § 515.572(a)(2) requires separate authorization

from Commerce. (For more information, please see FAQ 723)

• § 515.574 of the CACR authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and

other transactions that are intended to provide support for the Cuban people, which include activities of recognized human rights organizations; independent organizations designed to promote a rapid, peaceful transition to democracy; and individuals and NGOs that promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba. (For more information, please see FAQ 707)

• § 515.575 of the CACR authorizes, subject to conditions, transactions, including travel- related transactions, that are related to humanitarian projects in or related to Cuba. These authorized humanitarian projects are: medical and health-related projects; construction projects intended to benefit legitimately independent civil society groups; disaster preparedness, relief, and response; historical preservation; environmental projects; projects involving formal or non-formal educational training, within Cuba or off-island, on various topics. (For more information, please see FAQ 708)

• § 515.591 of the CACR authorizes persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to provide Cuba or Cuban nationals (including the Cuban government and state-owned entities) with services related to developing, repairing, maintaining, and enhancing Cuban infrastructure that directly benefit the Cuban people, consistent with the export or reexport licensing policy of Commerce. “Infrastructure” in this case means systems and assets used to provide the Cuban people with goods and services produced by the public transportation, water management, waste management, non-nuclear electricity generation, and electricity distribution sectors, as well as hospitals, public housing, and primary and secondary schools. (For more information, please see FAQ 801)

• Specific Licensing: For transactions not otherwise authorized by OFAC general licenses, OFAC considers specific license requests on a case-by-case basis and prioritizes license applications, compliance questions, and other requests related to humanitarian support for the Cuban people.

Categories: Cuba Sanctions Guidance Humanitarian Aid Licenses OFAC Updates


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