New rules that will make it easier to travel to Cuba - and bring back Cuban cigars - will go into effect Friday, less than a month after President Barack Obama announced plans to restore long-severed diplomatic ties with the communist-led island.
The new Treasury and Commerce Department regulations -- to be published Friday in the Federal Register -- include making it easier to travel to Cuba and raising the limits on how much money can be sent to Cuba.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest called the changes a “significant step forward” in carrying out Obama’s new policy.
“These changes will immediately enable the American people to provide more resources to empower the Cuban population to become less dependent upon the state-driven economy, and help facilitate our growing relationship with the Cuban people,” Earnest said in a statement.
The changes will mean that travelers who meet certain categories will no longer need to apply for a license to travel to Cuba. The categories include family visits, official U.S. or foreign governments, journalistic, professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; private foundations or research or educational institutes; export, import, or transmission of information.