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This page is designed to inform you of arrival and departure procedures into and out of Cuba, based on experiences at HOLGUIN Airport.
Entry into Cuba:
After you land and leave the aircraft you will walk to the Arrivals Hall, passing by the temperature scanner and then stand in line for Immigration Control. Bear in mind that only one person at a time is permitted in the ‘booth’. Your passport will be inspected and you will be asked a few questions, usually ‘Is this your first time in Cuba?’ and ‘What do you do for a living?’. The Officer will then ask you to look into the camera whilst they take your photo and then your tourist visa card will be stamped and the officer will keep one half and return the other half to you which you must keep, and hand in to the Immigration Officer on your departure from Cuba. They are now also stamping your passport.
There is a special booth for families marked "ninos" which families with young children can use and get their passports and visas checked together. There is also one for passengers in a wheelchair.
Please note that as from May 1st 2010 you are required to have a medical insurance policy which covers medical expenses or a policy for medical expenses with coverage in Cuba. It is advisable to carry proof of this insurance in your hand luggage in the unlikely event that you will be asked to show it. More details can be found by clicking on the link below:
Once you leave the Immigration booth you have to place your hand luggage on the scanner belt for it to be xrayed. After this collect one of the free luggage trolleys, if you so desire, and then wait at the carousel for your luggage to come around on the conveyor belt. Once you have collected your luggage from the carousel, head for the exit and hope that as you walk out of the Arrivals Hall you will not be one of those chosen to have their luggage searched. If your luggage has been marked for inspection whilst being scanned on the conveyor belt before it comes into public view then you will be required to open your case for a search.
As from late December 2013 you are required to fill out the Cuban Customs Declaration form and hand it in to a Customs Officer just before you exit the Arrivals area where staff are also checking luggage tags to see if they have been marked for further inspection. You can view this form and instructions on how to complete it by clicking on the following link:
Your tour representative will be waiting outside and will tell you which number bus will take you to your resort. It’s only a short walk from there to the buses.
There is no Cadeca (Money exchange bureau) in the Arrivals Hall at any Cuban provincial airport. If you need to exchange some money before boarding the bus to take you to the resort you should go to the Departure Hall where you will find a Cadeca. However please do not keep the bus waiting as you can always change your money at your hotel. All the hotels in the area have their own Cadecas and they are usually open from 9am until around 6pm. You now need to take your passport with you whenever you exchange foreign currency at any Bank or Cadeca in Cuba.
Departure from Cuba:
Once you are dropped off by your coach at the Departure Hall at the airport and have collected your luggage, you stand in line awaiting your turn to check in. You will need to show your passport and your ticket. It’s quite likely if your luggage is overweight they will charge you. They do not weigh your hand luggage, so if you think you are near to the limit, it’s advisable to pack another bag as hand luggage beforehand to take on the aircraft as they don’t seem to bother about how many items of hand luggage you take on board. For those cigar smokers out there, remember that lighters and cutters are not allowed in your hand baggage and will be confiscated.
You no longer pay the Departure Tax in Cuba so, once checked in, you have to clear Immigration where they will check and stamp your passport, as well as collecting the other half of your tourist visa card and, once again, taking your photograph..
Once that is done you have to have your hand luggage scanned and then you join everyone else in the Departure Lounge. When your flight is called they will check your boarding card and passport at the gate and when you get to the steps to board your aircraft you need to show your boarding card again where one half will be kept and the other half handed back to you. As you board the aircraft a member of the Cabin Crew will be at the door to look at your boarding card stub and point you in the direction of your seat.