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I have family in Crimea and would like to visit them. I've read Executive Order 13685, but am unsure how to interpret it. Are U.S. nationals prohibited from traveling or spending money in Crimea? Does spending money count as "investment"? Would I have to declare to Customs on the way back that I traveled to Crimea, and if so, would I be subject to Treasury Department/OFAC investigation for this travel? I've heard that simply saying that I didn't spend money, and that all resources I consumed were gifts, would get me through Customs fine. Is this a valid loophole?

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    @pnuts: That answer is wrong. US nationals are prohibited (without special permission, which is increasingly easier to get) to spend money in Cuba, for instance. – Flimzy Jan 22 '15 at 20:38
  • @pnuts: I think the other answer is simply saying that it's possible to visit every country (with evidence that it's been done), which is distinct from whether it's legal to do so. – Flimzy Jan 22 '15 at 20:44
  • You wouldn't declare to customs where you've been--only immigration will ask about that. Customs may care about the country of origin of items youa re importing, but that generally applies regardless of whether you visited the source country. (I can't import Cuban cigars to the US even if I bought them in Mexico, for instance.) – Flimzy Jan 22 '15 at 20:45
  • @pnuts that was answered before executive order 13685, the order prohibits investment in the region by u.s. citizens, I want to know if visiting the region would put me under OFAC investigation. – kiril Jan 22 '15 at 20:55
  • @Flimzy "You wouldn't declare to customs where you've been--only immigration will ask about that": that is not correct. The US customs declaration form requires travelers to list the countries they've visited. – phoog Jul 29 '17 at 4:13
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The US State Department website indicates (updated after the executive order):

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer all travel to the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. In addition, Russian military forces continue to occupy the Crimean Peninsula and are present on the eastern border of Ukraine.

It does not explicitly ban it, however.

Indeed, certain members of the Russian state have had travel bans imposed on them by the US government, Canada and the EU, however, there's nothing currently stopping you travelling to Crimea.

To compare, their page for Cuba still says travel is unlawful for US Nationals, while their similar page for Ukraine just describes the visas available.

So for now, while you need to be careful, the US State Department has not outlawed travel there.

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    Donetsk and Luhansk are not in Crimia – VMAtm Jan 23 '15 at 8:13
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    Crimea was/is classified as South Ukraine. Not East Ukraine. – davidb Jan 23 '15 at 9:07
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    Ugh, I missed the second sentence in the quote that specifically said Crimea. Have added it in now. – Mark Mayo Jan 23 '15 at 11:12

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