Recent news important for British travellers has come out this week as it was reported that there will be a tourist visa required for any UK traveller that has visited Cuba in the last 11 years and intends to visit the US. 

According to the report from The Independent this week, the former president of the United States, Donald Trump, put Cuba on the American list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (SST). This listing was not removed by the current president, Joe Biden, when his term began.  

Donald Trump placed Cuba in the list alongside Iran, North Korea, and Syria in January 2021, shortly before he was replaced as president by Joe Biden. 

The US State Department told The Independent, “Any visit to an SST on or after March 1, 2011, even if the country was designated yesterday, renders the applicant ineligible for Esta.” 

This means that any UK traveller who has visited the country of Cuba since the 1st of March 2011 is currently disqualified from the use of the Esta visa waiver scheme that is used by most UK arrivals in the US. Instead, there will be a tourist visa required for these travellers. 

Instead of using the Esta visa waiver scheme, UK travellers will be required to have a tourist visa, this required visa will cost £137 or $160 and will be followed by a wait of several months before they can have an interview appointment for their tourist visa. This appointment wait is due to a long backlog of appointments that have been delayed due to the pandemic.  

The Foreign Travel Advice page is expected to be updated shortly with more details for travellers. The US embassy in London also spoke on the matter and said, “Please note that due to an increasing backlog of visa appointment requests, you may experience a significant delay between paying your visa fee and scheduling an interview appointment. 

“By paying the visa fee, you acknowledge that it may take several months to schedule an interview appointment.” 

So, if you’d like to learn more about how your consumers’ monies are protected with Protected Trust Services (PTS) and how we support excellent travel businesses, check out our pages. Or you can get in touch with the lovely PTS team by calling 0207 190 9988 or emailing us at 

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