Sunday, 12 July 2015

CUBA - ENTRY STAMPS & PASSPORTS

DOES CUBA IMMIGRATION STAMP YOUR PASSPORT?

Yes, it seems that Cuba immigration is now stamping passports.

On my recent visit to Cuba (June 2015) my passport was stamped for the first time ever!

I was travelling to Cuba via Lima with Avianca and when I got off the escalator and walked into immigration at Jose Martí International Airport in Havana, I was stopped and asked a few questions about my trip to Cuba; just before I even got to the queues for immigration.  Questions asked:

·         How long will you be staying in Cuba?
·         Is this your first time in Cuba?
·         What is your profession?
·         Where will you be staying in Cuba?


After they finished asking me questions about my trip to Cuba, I scanned the room to see where the shortest queue to immigration was and found that there were no people queuing for immigration at the far end of the room.  I stood on the red line and waited to be called by immigration.  Once called, I stepped up to the Immigration Officer’s booth, handed her my passport (I have a British EU passport) and she began to ask me the same questions as her colleagues had done already.  I heard the Immigration Officer stamping what I thought was the Cuban tourist visa but when I checked my passport later that day, I was surprised to see that the Cuban Immigration Officer had stamped my passport with a Cuba entry stamp. 

Even though, I had visited Cuba on numerous of occasions since 2002, my passport had never been stamped before.  This was the first time my passport had been stamped with a Cuban entry stamp.
In the past Cuba immigration would not stamp passports. They would simply stamp the Cuban tourist visa upon entry and upon exit of Cuba and not the passport. 

WHAT DO I DO IF I DON’T WANT A CUBAN STAMP IN MY PASSPORT?

As I was leaving Cuba to return to the UK, I asked immigration if it was possible for people visiting Cuba to not get their passport stamped when entering Cuba and what they should do to avoid it.  I was told that anyone who doesn’t want a stamp in their passport should tell the Cuban Immigration Officer, when handing over their passport, that they DO NOT WANT a stamp in their passport and the Immigration Officer will respect their wishes.  On my next visit to Cuba I will try this and see if it works.


If you are travelling to Cuba and intend on asking the immigration authorities not to stamp your passport, let us know how you get on.


Cuba Immigration
Cuba Entry Stamp




Medical Cover Cuba
Immigration Havana Airport

Medical Cover Cuba
Havana Airport

Medical Cover Cuba
Immigration Havana Airport

Medical Cover Cuba
Jose Marti International Airport





4 comments:

  1. I don't know why someone from the UK would not want their passport stamped. My wife, her sister, and I also visited Cuba in June and we did not want our passport stamped because we were from the US and not on any approved visit. We came through Canada and were nervous about returning to the US with a stamped passport. I think that now with the embassy open US customs might become more relaxed in that regard. Sort of like the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. We did have enhanced drivers licenses, so we re-entered the US using those instead of our passports. But no one else in the world has these difficulties with their own customs people. Viva Cuba!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Buzzie and Crissie

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

      For me it was more like an experiment. I don't mind having the Cuban stamp in my passport, but I wanted to see if Immigration would respect my request, so I can pass on the advice to others.

      The only other reason I can think of that someone from the UK would not want their passport stamped is if they travel to the US regularly and just don't want to risk being questioned every time they pass through US Immigration.

      Glad it worked out well for you.

      Rena

      Delete
  2. We got back a couple of weeks ago. On the way in the lady I encountered was very stern and stamped my US passport without any option to avoid stamping.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Deepak
      Thanks for sharing with us, I'm sorry to hear about this, my advice is to ask them not to stamp your passport before you hand it over to them.
      Rena

      Delete