Cuban health authorities have published new rules regarding travel to Cuba that now apply to all foreign travellers regardless of country of origin. Here we give you the details of the new requirements for all travellers considering Cuba holidays in 2021.
Due to the growing percentage of imported cases after the opening of Cuba's international airports and the detection of a new coronavirus variant, Cuba's Ministry of Public Health has issued a statement announcing that starting January 2021 those arriving in Cuba from foreign destinations will need to bring a negative PCR-RT test for SARS Cov-2. Said negative test must also bear a certificate from a laboratory in the country of origin which must have been issued within a 72-hour period before arrival to Cuba.
Nevertheless, negotiations are currently in place to make exceptions for UK travellers so that they can be exempt from this new rule and only take a PCR test upon arrival in Cuba.
The new requirement coming into force next year will NOT apply to those who have booked Cuba holidays for arrival in December but it does mean that starting January 2021 the previous measures regarding PCR-testing done at the airport upon arrival to Cuba will still apply.
So, unless future announcements indicate otherwise, you will have to be tested both before travel to Cuba and shortly after landing in Cuba. It must be noted that the PCR test don upon arrival in Cuba will be offered at no extra cost to travellers, it will be included in the cost of your airline ticket.
The first paragraph of the full statement released by Cuban health authorities reads as follows:
"In light of the international epidemiologic situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic and taking into account the high percentage of detected imported cases after the opening of international airports, it has been decided that [Cuban authorities will] require, starting 1st January 2021, that all international travellers bring a certificate with a negative PCR-RT result for SARS Cov-2, from a certified laboratory in the country of origin, carried out within 72 hours before arrival to Cuba."
Updated FCO travel advice
Accordingly, travel advice released by UK travel authorities and published on the FCO website has changed. The new update on COVID-19 travel guidance states that after the identification of a new strain of the virus, international travel from the UK may be more restricted depending on where you live as different rules are in force in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland meaning that, for example, those in Tier 4 areas in England will not be allowed to travel abroad unless they do so for special very specific reasons, such as work.
When it comes to Cuba, FCO's specific travel advice for British travellers' states that everyone travelling to the Caribbean island must bring a certified proof of a negative PCR test result which must be taken within 72 hours before travel. The test must be done at any of the UK's accredited testing centres or an accredited testing centre from the country you're travelling from.
The rules also apply to children and the FCO warns that leisure travellers should not use the NHS' testing service for the purpose of holiday travel and should instead arrange to take a private state. Once in Cuba, you will receive another PCR test. Only after receiving the results of the said test, usually within 24 hours, you will be allowed to leave your hotel, beach resort or "casa particular" in Cuba.