First and foremost, it is imperative to note that Canadian permanent residents do not need visas to go to Cuba, especially for holidays. They can travel with their valid passports (and PR card) and the tourist card that is included in the holiday package (provided onboard or at the airline counter at airports in Canada at the time of check-in).
Note that the Canadian passport will need to be valid for at least one week after the return date. However, if the purpose of the trip is business or you are traveling as an individual and will stay at a private place like an apartment, house, etc., then you have to obtain a visa beforehand.
Cuba is a country situated in the northern Caribbean, at the point where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean meet. Cuba is made up of the island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and other smaller archipelagos. It is a well-known travel destination for tourists who are looking to enjoy its warm climate and golden beaches, but also for those eager to grasp Cuba’s history and colonial architecture.
Note that tourist cards for nationals will only be valid for a single entry into Cuba for a maximum of 30 days, but it can be extended by 30 days via the hotel’s accommodation desk or the local immigration authorities.
Meanwhile, tourist cards for Canadian permanent residents are valid for 90 days but can be extended in the same way as those of foreign nationals for a maximum stay of 6 months. Travelers are expected to have travel insurance that will cater to their medical expenses or a policy for medical expenses with coverage in Cuba.
Requirements for Canadian Permanent Residents Traveling To Cuba
Although Canadian permanent residents do not need visas to go to Cuba, there are a few requirements you need to be wary of; and they include;
- You will definitely need a valid Canadian passport to get into Cuba from Canada; however, if your passport is from another country, you will need your Canadian resident card or a work or study permit that includes a multiple-entry permit attached to your passport.
To get into Cuba, you will need the tourist card (the tourist card is included in your plane ticket and is issued by the airline on board).
- All passengers arriving in Cuba from a direct flight from Canada are not expected to present a vaccination passport.
- Medical insurance is required to gain entry into Cuba, and the medical insurance will need to cover any type of medical emergency including Covid-19.
If you are unable to obtain insurance in Canada, you are permitted to purchase medical insurance in Cuba at the airport or visit www.cubatravel.cu. For more information on what the insurance includes, contact the representative at the Insurance desk at the airport in Cuba.
- Starting from January 1, 2022, travelers are expected to complete the customs and health declaration form, this is done online and the website to visit is: https://www.dviajeros.mitrans.gob.cu/. All travelers will also have to complete this information online 48 hours before traveling to Cuba. Once the form is completed, you will get a QR code by email.
You are meant to show an electronic or printed version of the QR code to the authorities upon arrival. If you encounter any problems or maybe you couldn’t fill out the form online because you don’t have internet access, the printed form will be available to you upon arrival at the airport in Cuba.
- Currency: The local currency is the Cuban Peso (CUP). The convertible peso has been discontinued and is no longer accepted in Cuba. Also note that US dollars are not accepted anywhere in Cuba, while Canadian currency is widely accepted.
In tourist areas which include hotels, restaurants, and shopping malls, payment is only accepted with debit/visa cards or visa credit cards from Canadian banks. Customers who do not have a credit card can instead purchase a prepaid card in Cuba at the airport or money exchange kiosks at hotels. Payments outside the tourist areas are all in Cuban pesos (CUP).
- In the situation where a tourist tests positive for Covid-19 in Cuba, the isolation time will be at the hotel where they are staying, a hotel isolation section will be coordinated by the hotel. The tourist who tests positive is expected to be isolated in the designated isolation section, and they will have to comply with all hotel regulations and restrictions.
How to Apply for a Visa to Cuba
To apply for a Cuba visa from Canada, you will have to visit the nearest Cuban representative (consulate or embassy) in Canada. Cuba has an embassy in Ottawa and consulates in Montreal and Toronto. You will have to apply by submitting the necessary documents (depending on the specific type of visa you want) directly to the consulate either in person or by post.
Howbeit, note that the Cuban authorities also give room for applicants to get a Cuba visa online, via authorized visa application agencies or travel agencies. Also, note that you can obtain a Cuba visa at the airport right before traveling; however, it is very risky since not all airports offer this option.
Have in mind that the required documents when applying for a Cuba visa may include your passport, health insurance, and a valid travel ticket. The documents you submit for your Cuba visa application will need to be in Spanish. If they are not, they will need to be translated by a sworn translator.
You are also expected to submit both the original document and the translation. All the documents you submit (original and translation) will need to be legalized by competent authorities in your country and then by the Cuban Consulate as well.
Canadian nationals with a valid Canadian passport or a Canadian permanent resident card do not necessarily require a visa to get into Cuba. Just as was noted above, they can travel with their valid passports (and PR card) and the tourist card that is included in the holiday package (provided onboard or at the airline counter at airports in Canada at the time of check-in).