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Ask Mark: Cubans Traveling to Cuba?

Mark Orwoll, seasoned traveler and Travel + Leisure's Managing Editor, is here to help you with your travel questions. To ask a question, send an email to AskMark@amexpub.com

** Please note: Mark can answer questions in his column only; the volume of mail he receives makes it impossible for him to send personal replies. Check back here daily to see if your question was answered, or search the Ask Mark archives to see if a similar question was previously answered.

Q. I was told by a Marazul Tours office that if I am Cuban born, moved from Cuba in 1970 as a child, became a U.S. citizen in 1975, and don't have a Cuban passport, I can travel once a year to Cuba to see my brother and nieces. Is this true?

A. In your case, this is probably true. Travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens is effectively prohibited by the Cuban Assets Control Regulations of the U.S. Treasury Department, which require that Americans have a license to conduct any sort of business (i.e., spend money) in Cuba. That means no tourists allowed. There are exceptions, though: journalists, scholars doing research, amateur and semi-pro athletes engaged in authorized international sports programs, government officials on business, and--here's where you come in—persons making an annual visit to close family relatives "in circumstances of humanitarian need." If the folks at Marazul Tours (www.marazultours.com) can prepare the paperwork for you and gain approval for your visit, you may go to Cuba. You may even be able to take a charter flight to Cuba departing from New York's JFK International Airport.

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