Additional Info - Export Control

Cuba Updates

On Thursday, November 9, 2017, U.S. Departments of Treasury, Commerce, and State implemented changes to the Cuba Sanctions rules. The amendments implement President Trump's June 2017 National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM) Strengthening the Policy of United States Toward Cuba. Educational travel is still allowable under a general license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), however there are some caveats students, faculty and administration must be aware of during travel.

Guidelines for Professional Research & Meetings Travel (PDF)

Travel-related transactions are permitted by general license for certain travel related to humanitarian activities, professional research and professional meetings. There is currently no general license that authorizes recreational or tourist travel to Cuba. Each of these OFAC general licenses do have specific requirements that USF travelers must abide by when planning travel to Cuba including a full-time schedule.

Based on OFAC regulations, individuals traveling to Cuba for Educational Activities must fall within specified guidelines of a category of the general license found at 31 C.F.R. 515.565(a)(2). Individuals must be a representative of the University of South Florida (USF) on authorized university business or educational purpose and certified as such by an institutional official. The USF Office of Export Controls will provide a letter stating compliance with the OFAC general license for educational travel to accompany USF Faculty, Staff and Students while abroad.

There are four primary categories of the USF individuals use for Educational Activities travel to Cuba:

  • Participation in a structured educational program in Cuba as a part of a course offered for credit;
  • Noncommercial academic research in Cuba specifically related to Cuba and for the purpose of obtaining an undergraduate or graduate degree;
  • Establishment of academic exchanges and joint non-commercial academic research with Cuban universities or Cuban academic institutions; or
  • The organization of, and preparation for, activities described in the previous bullets.

Travelers may engage in transactions ordinarily incident to travel within Cuba, including payment of living expenses and the acquisition in Cuba of goods for personal consumption there (e.g. hotel costs, rental car, meals, etc). In addition, travelers are authorized to acquire in Cuba and import as accompanied baggage into the United States Cuban merchandise for personal use only. However, import of samples, technology and items for commercial or research use require a specific license.

The State Department has published a list of entities found on the "Cuba Restricted List". Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction will now be prohibited from engaging in direct financial transactions with entities identified on this list. As an agent of USF, you are responsible for complying with this provision. Failure to comply with this regulation may result in USF's inability to reimburse an individual for travel expenses while abroad.

Physical exports of any USF-owned item, including laptops or iPads, even if only for temporary export require reporting to the U.S. government and potentially licensing by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Each member of the USF Community is responsible for working with the USF Office of Export Controls to ensure compliance with these regulations. Imports of research samples and other materials for research or educational purposes have similar licensing requirements no matter the inherent value. The USF OEC will handle all license applications and registration requirements with appropriate notification of travel.

Changes in the regulations include the issuance of a general license allowing for certain contractual activities. The general license requires certain language be included; therefore, make sure these documents come through the USF Office of Export Controls prior to execution and are signed by an authorized official. By way of example, contractual activities may include an affiliation agreement, agreement, grant, memorandum of understanding/agreement/intent, cooperative agreement, proposal, material transfer agreement, confidentiality agreement, purchase order or notice of award.

While in Cuba, individuals are blocked from using internet based USF systems, such as or CANVAS. USF-operated VPN and Remote Desktop Gateway are also currently unavailable while in Cuba.

Applying for a specific license or use of a general license and related recordkeeping requirements are managed by the USF Office of Export Controls. Please be aware that specific licensing by OFAC or BIS requires a minimum of 90 days and may take up to one year.

The USF OEC is available to provide guidance, certification letters and license application services. Please reach out to the office at your earliest convenience when travel to Cuba is anticipated.

Continued guidance will be issued as laws and regulations change regarding embargoes, sanctions and licensing for Cuba. For specific questions regarding regulations related to travel to Cuba, please contact the USF Office of Export Controls by email or telephone: 813-974-5638.

For additional guidance on Cuban embargoes and restrictions, please visit the following websites: