I visit Cuba regularly and now some friends of mine are considering a first-time trip there. Their travel agent has told them that Cuba has recently stopped stamping passports “…to avoid any problems for travellers flying to and from the US, whether around the dates of their trip to Cuba or at a later date.”
My understanding is that prior travel to Cuba makes VWP nationals ineligible for ESTA and I’m concerned that my friends have been given very bad advice.
I haven’t applied for an ESTA for years. Does the application make specific reference to prior travel to Cuba? Is there any way US Immigration would know about a trip to Cuba (eg from historic API) if an ESTA applicant’s passport had no stamp from Cuba, or an ESTA holder subsequently travelled to the US from their home country?
Note: I am asking about the possible consequences of following this advice. I’m not asking if it’s ok to try to circumvent US rules.