U.S. tightens visa rules for travel to Cuba
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Students wanting to travel to Cuba for educational purposes would have to show that the trip is for academic course work, the Treasury Department said in a revised rule.
Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces a long-standing U.S. embargo against Cuba, said it would no longer issue new licenses for "people-to-people educational exchanges."
Those licenses, which were authorized on a case-by-case basis, ended up becoming a loophole for groups to travel to Cuba when the educational aspect was barely evident, said Treasury Department spokesman Tony Fratto.
He said that many travel agents packaged trips to the country, which were essentially tourist trips, using the license that was available for people-to-people educational exchanges.
Such exchanges can include a vast array of activities, including learning more about Cuba's culture, Fratto said. The licenses that already have been granted would be honored, but no new licenses or renewals of existing ones will be granted, Treasury said.