Your travel to Cuba will be under a general license for professional research from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The U.S. government has imposed a severe embargo against Cuba for the last 50+ years. It restricts travel to Cuba unless licensed by OFAC. Here is what their regulations say about the license we will travel under:
General license for certain professional research -- 31 C.F.R. § 515.564(a):
This general license applies to ”full-time professionals conducting professional research in Cuba … Research requires a full work schedule of noncommercial, academic research that has a substantial likelihood of public dissemination and is in the traveler’s professional area.”
OFAC does not define ‘professional.’ It is not limited to professors or doctors or lawyers. Your profession is what you have done for a living. If that connects with the theme of a trip so it offers a venue for you to carry out investigations in your field, then you qualify for this license. That means, if your profession is organic farmer, organic educator, cooperativista, writer, or whatever then you can go on our Organic Agriculture/Cooperative trip legally. Likewise, you qualify for our Renovation of Socialism trip if you are a professor or student, writer or community organizer interested in socialism. This general license does not require a specific application. It is self-qualifying. That is, you decide whether you qualify for it. When you return to the US you may have to present an outline of the experiences that relate to your professional area and a brief professional resume.
Even students can come under a general license for academic travel. An undergraduate or graduate student must be enrolled in a degree program and must be traveling in a ‘structured educational program’ for which they must be receiving credit towards their degree. No institutional license is required BUT an ‘authorization letter’ from the university or college on letterhead and signed by a ‘designated representative’ of the school is required (which must give the students’ and faculty names and dates of travel and affirm the conditions listed above.
In addition, there is a separate provision for graduate students (but not for undergraduates) which allows individual travel for research purposes which must also be authorized by the university similar to the above letter.