United States: The Obama Administration Continues To Expand Opportunities In Cuba

On September 21, the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), and the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), announced revised regulations further easing restrictions on transactions with Cubans and Cuban nationals involving persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction. This coordinated action advances liberalized relations with Cuba, supplements the sweeping changes to the Cuba sanctions regime issued earlier this year, and is effective immediately.

Major changes in the amended regulations clarify that transactions ordinarily incident to a licensed transaction and necessary to give effect thereto are authorized and facilitate additional travel and travel-related transactions to Cuba for authorized purposes. Generally, the changes give practical effect to earlier revisions to OFAC and BIS regulations, but questions remain regarding how they may be interpreted in certain circumstances. OFAC and BIS issued updated frequently asked questions (FAQs) to assist in interpretation of the revised regulations.

Office of Foreign Assets Control

OFAC's amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations expand the scope of numerous general licenses, create new general licenses, and remove limits on remittances. Several significant changes are highlighted below:

Financial Services

  • Depository institutions may maintain accounts for Cuban nationals present in the U.S. in a non-immigrant status and may keep the account open while the Cuban national is outside the U.S., provided access to the account is permitted from inside the U.S. only.
  • Authorized U.S. travelers may maintain a bank account in Cuba to access funds for authorized transactions while in Cuba.
  • Clarifies that transactions ordinarily incident to and necessary to give effect to a licensed transaction may be made using online payment platforms.
  • Expands the general license authorizing transactions with official missions of Cuba to the U.S. to include international funds transfers.
  • Removes limit on donative remittances to persons who are not prohibited officials of the government of Cuba or prohibited members of the Cuban Communist Party.
  • Remittances that were previously blocked because they exceeded prior maximum thresholds may now be unblocked. Remittances to the U.S. from Cuba or from Cuban nationals in third countries will be authorized by general license.

Travel and Travel Services

  • Removes the 180-day restriction on entry to a U.S. port after calling at a Cuban port for vessels providing passenger service to authorized travelers or carrying authorized cargo between the U.S. and Cuba.
  • Authorizes carrier services (of "authorized travelers") to and from Cuba by vessel, provided the vessel does not call at a third country. While the vessel is traveling to, from, or within Cuba, including while it is docked at a Cuban port, it may provide lodging services.
  • Expands categories of permissible travel to Cuba, although travel to Cuba for tourism remains prohibited.

Telecommunications and Internet-Service

  • U.S. persons may establish a business presence in Cuba, including through joint ventures with Cuban entities, to provide telecommunications and internet-based services. U.S. persons may also enter into licensing agreements related to such services.
  • U.S. persons may export services in support of telecommunications and internet-based services, including training related to the installation, repair, or replacement of such items.
  • Cuban-made mobile applications may be imported into the U.S. In addition, U.S. companies may hire Cuban nationals to develop mobile applications.

Other Commercial Transactions

  • U.S. persons may provide goods and services to Cuban nationals located outside of Cuba, provided there is no direct or indirect commercial exportation of goods or services to or from Cuba.
  • Allows for legal services, emergency medical services, and diplomatic activities.

Education Programs

  • Permitted educational activities are expanded to include the provision of standardized testing services and internet-based courses to Cuban nationals.

Bureau of Industry and Security

BIS also amended the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) by expanding and clarifying application of previously issued license exceptions and instituted a new licensing policy for civil aviation safety, among other changes.

Expands License Exception Aircraft, Vessels and Spacecraft (AVS)

  • AVS amended to expand the categories of vessels authorized for temporary sojourn in Cuba, including: (1) cargo vessels for hire for use in transporting items; (2) passenger vessels for hire for use in transporting passengers or items; and (3) recreational vessels used in connection with travel authorized by OFAC.
  • Aircraft on temporary sojourn in Cuba may remain in Cuba for 7 consecutive days. Other vessels may remain in Cuba for up to 14 consecutive days.
  • BIS licensing policy is changed to a "case-by-case" review of applications to export or reexport to Cuba items related to safety of civil aviation and commercial passenger aircraft.

Expands License Exception Support for the Cuban People (SCP)

  • Adds authorization for temporary export and reexport (not to exceed 1 year) to Cuba of items designated as EAR99 or on the Commerce Control List (CCL) only for anti-terrorism (AT) reasons that are "tools of trade," replacement parts, items for demonstration or exhibition, and "containers" for shipment of such commodities.
  • Clarifies that such items temporarily exported to Cuba from the U.S. must remain under the traveler's "effective control."
  • Adds authorization to export and reexport EAR99 or AT-only commodities and software to individuals and private sector entities in Cuba to develop software to improve "free flow of information" or support private sector activities enumerated in SCP.
  • Adds authorization to export and reexport EAR99 or AT-only items for use by U.S. persons to establish and maintain a physical business presence in Cuba to engage in authorized transactions. Activities and related payments must be authorized under above-described OFAC regulations.

Amends Deemed Export and Reexport Rule

The EAR is amended to remove the requirement for a license for the deemed export or reexport of technology or source code designated as EAR99 to a Cuban national in the U.S. or a third country. Importantly, the deemed export and reexport license requirement remains for release of "controlled" technology or source (on CCL).

BIS clarifies, as of its July 22, 2015 Rule removing Cuba as State Sponsor of Terrorism (80 FR 43314), that Cuba is removed from Country Group E:1. As such, Cuba is no longer subject to the general de minimis level of 10%. This clarification confirms that Cuba is eligible for a 25% de minimis level under EAR License Exceptions. See General Order No. 3 for details regarding conditions that continue to apply to Cuba as a Country Group E:2 country.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.