US and Cuba Relations

Americans could be able to travel to Cuba more easily in the near future. President Barack Obama is planning a groundbreaking change to the travel restrictions that currently limit the ease with which Americans travel to the island nation. If set into motion, the executive order would serve to bypass the restrictions that Congress has placed on travel to Cuba.

The Federal Aviation Administration is already engaged in talks with aviation authorities from Cuba to start regular commercial flights to and from the United States.

The Treasury Department is also considering revised regulations that would permit U.S. residents to freely visit Cuba without the need for special permissions and arrangements.

Travelers Will No Longer Need to Make Special Arrangements

Once the Federal Aviation Authority and Treasury Department changes have been finalized, it would grant Americans the ability to buy flights directly to Cuba without using a charter and/or without the need to travel through a country like the Bahamas, Mexico or Canada that do not have trade embargos restricting travel to Cuba.

No timetable has been released for the lifting of the travel ban, but analysts project that it may be finalized before the end of 2015. When in place, travelers will still need to qualify for one of 12 pre-approved travel permissions, but it would likely just be a formality completed either through an online form or at the airport when purchasing tickets.

The president further plans on making it easier and safer for U.S. banks to process credit card transactions in Cuba.

The executive order will help the Obama Administration bypass a Congressional bottleneck, which has slowed the passing of a bill to lift the ban -- a bill that was introduced in Congress earlier this year but has yet to move forward for a vote.

John Kerry Is Encouraging Americans to Visit Cuba

According to John Kerry, who visited Havana last week, the travel exemptions that are currently available to Americans are for the benefit of everyone and he encourages Americans to take advantage of them. Kerry said that this is a fascinating time to participate in the process of Americans and Cubans getting to know one another again. He said that the mixing of cultures will benefit both nations.

Whenever there are immigration laws or travel restrictions regarding a country, it is painful for families that have members in both places. Hopefully, the easing of travel restrictions will help Cuban-Americans to travel more freely between our two countries to visit their loved ones.