Cuba License

Guidelines for faculty and students wishing to conduct research in Cuba

Since 2012, students and faculty from accredited US colleges and universities who conduct research in Cuba are covered under a general license for educational activities, under the auspices of the US Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). It is a requirement of the general license that travelers to Cuba carry letters on official letterhead signed by a designated representative of the sponsoring academic institution. To the extent possible, CLAS provides letters for full-time University of Chicago faculty and students who conduct academic research in and exchange with Cuba.

The most common types of students and faculty who travel to Cuba are listed below. Additional types of educational and professional activities are detailed in full in the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (§515.564 and §515.565). In all of these categories, regulations include stipulations that the traveler not engage in recreational/tourist travel in Cuba and that the schedule not include free time in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule of academic activity.

Graduate Student Research

Full-time, degree-seeking graduate students who are conducting noncommercial research in Cuba specifically related to Cuba for the purpose of obtaining a graduate degree. This includes research for courses as well as thesis and dissertation research.

Professional Research

Faculty who will conduct research directly related to their profession, professional background, or area of expertise.


  • The US Embassy in Havana recommends that all US travelers to Cuba register with the American Citizens Services Unit. More information can be found on the US Embassy's Traveling to Cuba webpage.
  • Travelers must also obtain a visa from the Cuban government. For more information, please contact the Embassy of Cuba in the USA.

For questions, or to request a letter, please contact