U.S. Relations With Cuba

Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
Fact Sheet
November 8, 2017

More information about Cuba is available on the Cuba Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.


The United States seeks a stable, prosperous, and free country for the Cuban people. U.S. engagement with Cuba advances the interests of the United States and empowers the Cuban people, while restricting economic practices that disproportionately benefit the Cuban government or its military, intelligence, or security agencies at the expense of the Cuban people. The U.S. government encourages the development of telecommunications and the Internet in Cuba, supports the growth of Cuba’s nascent private sector, and engages in areas that advance the interests of the United States and Cuban people. The United States is committed to supporting safe, orderly, and legal migration from Cuba through the effective implementation of the 1994-95 U.S.-Cuba Migration Accords and the 2017 Joint Statement.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Although economic sanctions remain in place, the United States is one of Cuba’s primary suppliers of food and agricultural products, with exports of those goods valued at $247 million in 2016. The United States is also a significant supplier of humanitarian goods to Cuba, including medicines and medical products. Remittances from the United States, estimated at $3 billion for 2016, play an important role in Cuba's state-controlled economy.

Travel to Cuba for tourist activities remains prohibited, and U.S. federal regulations restrict travel to Cuba to licensed travelers engaged in certain specified activities. Anyone physically present in the United States, regardless of citizenship and nationality, must comply with these regulations. Individuals seeking to travel to Cuba are not required to obtain licenses from OFAC if their travel is covered by a general license. If travel is not covered by a general license, you must seek OFAC authorization in the form of a specific license. Further information on the licensing process can be found at the OFAC website. Those contemplating travel to Cuba should also consult the consular information page about the country.

Other transactions by persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which Cuba or a Cuban national has an interest are also prohibited unless licensed by OFAC. For more information on transactions, please consult OFAC’s website.

Certain exports to Cuba must be authorized by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). Further information on exports to Cuba can be found at the BIS website. Most imports from Cuba and other Cuban-origin goods (e.g., merchandise purchased or otherwise acquired in Cuba or of Cuban origin acquired in a third country) are prohibited, although importation of Cuban-origin information and informational materials (for example, publications, films, posters, photographs, tapes, compact discs, and certain artwork) are exempt from the prohibition. Moreover, certain goods and services produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs are eligible for importation into the United States – for more information, see the State Department’s Section 515.582 List. Further information on imports from Cuba can be found at the OFAC website. Direct financial transactions with certain entities and subentities under the control of, or acting for or on behalf of, the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services are also generally prohibited -- for more information see the State Department's Cuba Restricted List.

Cuba's Membership in International Organizations

Cuba has an active foreign policy and aims to diversify its trade, aid, foreign investment, and political support. Cuba and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, but usually take opposing positions on international issues. Cuba was suspended from participation in the Organization of American States in 1962. That suspension was lifted in 2009, with its future participation to be determined through a dialogue initiated by Cuba and in accordance with the practices, purposes, and principles of the OAS. That dialogue has not yet occurred. In April 2015, Cuba attended the Summit of the Americas for the first time.

Bilateral Representation

Principal U.S. embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Cuba is represented in the United States by the Cuban Embassy in Washington, DC.

More information about Cuba is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Cuba Country Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Cuba Page
U.S. Embassy
USAID Cuba Page
History of U.S. Relations With Cuba
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Office of Foreign Assets Control Sanctions Page
Bureau of Industry and Security Cuba
Travel Information