The following categories of travelers are permitted to spend money for Cuban travel without the need to obtain special permission from OFAC, and they are not required to inform OFAC in advance of their visit to Cuba.
Official government travelers, including representatives of international organizations of which the United States is a member, traveling on official business.
Journalists and supporting broadcasting or technical personnel regularly employed in that capacity by a news reporting organization and traveling for journalistic activities. (The Cuban government requires that you be issued a journalist’s visa, not a tourist card.)
Full-time professionals whose travel is directly related to “noncommercial, academic research” in their professional field and whose research will comprise a full work schedule in Cuba and has a likelihood of public dissemination; or whose travel is directly related to attendance at professional meetings or conferences that do not promote tourism or other commercial activity involving Cuba or the production of biotechnological products, so long as such meetings are organized by “qualifying international bodies.”
Persons visiting family: People with close relatives in Cuba may visit them as often as desired and for an unlimited period.
Other: As of September 2009, individuals traveling to conduct business in the field of agricultural and medicinal product sales (including marketing, negotiation, delivery, or servicing of exports), and in telecommunications, including conferences and meetings, are required to submit written reports to OFAC 14 days prior to and subsequent to travel.
Fully hosted travel, formerly allowed, is no longer permitted.