How do I get a tourist visa (or a tourist card) for Cuba?
I live in the Netherlands, but I'm not a Dutch citizen, I have an Italian passport.
A tourist visa card (visa de tarjeta del turista) is necessary for travellers from most nations. This visa, which is really little more than a piece of paper on which you list your vital statistics, costs between 15-25 CUC (or 15-25 Euro), depending on where purchased. It can be purchased at the Airport in Cuba on arrival, however it should be noted that many airlines will require a valid tourist visa card before boarding flights. It is usually valid for 30 days and can be extended once for another 30 days at any immigration office in Cuba (for 25 CUC) - beyond this you would need a flight out of Cuba within the extended visa period. Canadians are the exception, getting 90 days on arrival and can apply for a 90 day extension. Your passport needs to be valid at least six months past the end of your planned return.
From Canada, the tourist card is normally provided on the flight. It can be purchased at Cancun airport (250 MXN) if departing from there, and similar in most other Latin American gateway airports. Please note that if departing the UK and many parts of Europe at least (this may apply to other countries), you will require to have the visa before boarding the plane. Boarding may be denied (this is because the airline will then get a $1,000 fine from the immigration authorities) and airplane ticket lost. In the UK, applying for the visa is a very simple process and can be done by post or in person at the Cuban embassy in London. Please do note that if apply to Cuban Consulate by post, there is a new charge introduced in 2011 which is a £25 for a non-personal transaction. If you cannot go to the Cuban Consulate use VisaCuba (2) because it will be cheaper. Through them it will cost £20 in total per person. If you apply in person to the Cuban Consulate, you get the visa straight away. It can also be done through online agencies as mentioned before although they will be very expensive (normally £15 + £50 admin fee).
Regular tourists who renew their 30 day visa are eligible to depart the country (to any destination) and return immediately enjoying a further 60 days (30 days plus a 30 day extension). You are only allowed two consecutive stays in this manner.
If you want to stay with friends or family in Cuba you have to go with your intended host within two days after arrival to a migration office and pay 40 CUC for a 30 days family visa.
Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda (28 days), Barbados (28 days), Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, CIS (except Ukraine and Uzbekistan), Dominica, Grenada (60 days), Liechtenstein (90 days), Macedonia, Malaysia (90 days), Mongolia, Montenegro (90 days), Namibia, Singapore, Slovakia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Serbia (90 days), Turkmenistan who can stay 30 days without visa. (The source of the previous sentence is unknown. Aeromexico staff at Cancun airport claim that only citizens of China and Russia need no visa.)
It is important to note that there is also a departure tax of CUC 25, to be paid in cash when departing Cuba by airplane; this is not required for boat departures. This tax is not well publicised but it is essential to remember it. You will run into significant difficulties if you do not have enough cash to pay this tax when leaving the country. An ATM is available at the airport but these facilities are not as reliable in Cuba as in other places.
(Second source: VisaHQ)
This site merely confirms that as a citizen of Italy living in the Netherlands, yes, you do need a visa for Cuba, as described in the process above.
First of all, some airlines include the cost of a Tourist Card as part of their ticket price. From TripAdvisor:
If you are travelling to Cuba you will need a Tourist Visa, also known as a Tourist Card, to enter the country, along with your passport. Thomas Cook, Cuba Direct and The Holiday Place supply these as part of your package holiday. As from December 1st 2014 Thomas Cook will no longer send out the tourist cards by post, you will have to collect them at the airport. If you are flying with Virgin Atlantic you can purchase the visas for £15 at the Virgin Holidays desk which is situated to the right of the check in desks at Gatwick Airport or one of the following ways.
(NOTE: Should you be flying from Canada, airlines provide the Tourist Card in-flight on your way to Cuba, included in the price of your ticket.)
Secondly, these are available on line through agencies. For example Visa Cuba for UK. However this is for Citizens of the UK and Republic of Ireland plus any other nationality with residency in the UK or Republic of Ireland, though it does mention If you are not British or Irish, and do not have residency in either country, please contact our sister company Cuba Direct (0207 148 3042) as they may be able to provide you with visas when combined with other travel elements such as guesthouses/Casa Particulars.
It is available to everyone with a return ticket and is not citizen of India, Iran, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Pakistan and Sub-Sahara Africa.
So thirdly, being an Italian citizen resident in the Netherlands, the Cuban Consulate in Rotterdam is a possibility. Based on the online precedent above, residency may be more relevant than citizenship. Contact details they show are: Groot Handelsgebouw, Conradstraat 18, Entry E, floor 7, office154, 3013 AP, Rotterdam Telephone: (31-10) 206-7334 E-mail: email@example.com . However the official site is still showing:
so probably best to check all relevant information from that source before relying on it. In particular prices as they seem not to be disclosed on the site anyway. "FORTHCOMING EVENTS" even lists a meeting from more than five years ago.
Tourist Visa (Tourist Card)
The Tourist Visa or Tourist Card is only for purposes of tourism to Cuba. It is valid for one single entrance into national territory for a 30-day trip and can be extended for an additional 30 days at the office in the hotel where one has accommodations or with the immigration authority.
Minors must have their own Tourist Card even if they are travelling under their parents’ passport(s).
To obtain this visa in person at the Consulate, these documents are needed:
-Plane Ticket with entry and return dates
-Payment of the Consular fee for this service
These documents are needed to obtain this visa by mail:
-Legible photocopy of valid Passport
-Legible photocopy of plane ticket with entry and return dates
-Payment of the Consular fee for this service
-Stamped self-addressed envelope for the visa to be sent back
NOTE: If the application is made by mail or via a third party, an extra consular fee will be charged for the pertinent Consular service.
All payments must be made in cash or by a bank certified cheque. All cash sent by mail will be refused and returned at the risk of the applicant.
For US citizens the above may not apply, see for example Lonely Planet.
It is possible to purchase a Tourist Card at some departure airports and upon arrival in Cuba.