From El Nuevo Herald's Juan Tamayo:
Superstar couple Beyoncé and Jay Z will likely claim that they had a legal permit for their controversial trip to Cuba, but they and their retinue might still face trouble with the complex U.S. sanctions on the island. U.S. government and travel industry officials say.
Their visit to the communist-ruled island last week led two Cuban-Americans in Congress to ask the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which enforces sanctions on Cuba, if the couple had an OFAC license for the trip.
Cuba’s official media reported the couple was on a tourist visit, which would be illegal under the half-century-old U.S. embargo. They celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary in Havana and took along their respective mothers and at least one bodyguard.
But while U.S. laws and regulations allow Cuban-Americans to make unlimited trips to the island for “family reunification” visits, U.S. residents and citizens who are not Cuban American face a tangled web of OFAC restrictions.
They can travel under “specific licenses” obtained in advance from OFAC, for instance for educational trips known as “people to people travel.” Or they can go under “general licenses” for purposes such as journalism or cultural research, which do not require prior approval but can be challenged and punished by OFAC afterward.