My friend (a French citizen) visited Cuba in 2015, and wants to visit the US on an ESTA.

I know Cuba was designated a state sponsor of terrorism in 2021, and travelling to such a country makes one ineligible for an ESTA. Some sources imply that only travel to Cuba after the designation date is relevant (e.g. the US embassy in France). Others are unclear, e.g. the ESTA FAQ states:

If a traveler is found to have visited a country designated as State Sponsor of Terrorism, the traveler is no longer eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program and must apply for a visa to enter the United States.

with no date restriction.

Does having visited Cuba before 2021 make one ineligible for an ESTA?


1 Answer 1


Visiting Cuba in 2015 does NOT make your friend ineligible to enter the USA under the Visa Waiver Program/ESTA.

This restriction only applies to people that have entered Cuba since it was classified by the US government as a "State Sponsor of Terrorism", which occurred on January 12, 2021. Anyone visiting Cuba before that date is able to use ESTA/VWP to enter the US.

  • 5
    I imagine that this is correct, but without an unambiguous government source, or at least a way of establishing that the US embassy is to be trusted over the ESTA FAQ, it doesn't provide much beyond what's already in the question. (And in fact the US embassy is part of the State Department, which does not administer the VWP nor ESTA, whereas the ESTA FAQ is produced by the Department of Homeland Security, which does.)
    – phoog
    Jan 3 at 21:20

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