How To Send Money To Cuba (Ultimate Guide)

Cuban policies can be tricky to navigate, particularly when you are not a national, or don’t call the country your home.

Sending money can be one such issue, and there are specific codes of conduct which must be followed in order to do it properly. 

How To Send Money To Cuba (Ultimate Guide)

But what exactly are the legalities, and what are the best ways to approach them? 

Overview

When it comes to most countries, sending money to Cuba is as simple as sending it anywhere else.

Countries which have good standing relationships with Cuba, such as Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and countries throughout South America will find the process rather easy. 

However, the United States is a different story..

Cuban-American Relations

It’s safe to say that throughout Cuba’s storied history, its relationship with the United States has been rocky to say the least. 

Following the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, and the subsequent trade embargoes placed on Cuba by the US, lingering resentments between the two countries have remained for much of the 20th century. 

However, light seemed to be at the end of the tunnel during the Obama administration, when the American government widened trade relations with Cuba, making it easier for them to ship their own goods into the US, and for Americans to communicate and travel to Cuba. 

This progress was derailed during the administration of his predecessor, Donald Trump, who reestablished several restrictions on what Cuba could and couldn’t export to the US, placing taxations and barriers on certain products, somewhat souring the relationship between the two nations once more. 

Sending Money: Restrictions

When sending money to Cuba from the US, there are several restrictions standing in the way of the process. 

PayPal

PayPal is a useful online resource throughout much of the world, allowing for online financial transactions, and acting as the middleman to ensure customer protection and fraud prevention. 

However, PayPal is not available in Cuba, as it greatly contradicts the heavily Communist guidelines laid down by the Cuban Communist Party, established in 1965 by former president Fidel Castro. 

This is also due to federal restrictions on any financial transactions between American citizens and Cuba. 

Western Union

Similarly, Western Union no longer allows the transfer of money to Cuba, with legislation coming into effect in March 2021.

Unless US regulations are lifted, Western Union will not reestablish any offices in Cuba. 

Banks

As of 2021, US banks will no longer transfer sums of money to Cuban nationals, even if they are close family members. 

Sending Money: Options

Sending Money: Options

That being said, there are certain options available to you if you want to send money to a relative in Cuba. 

Canadian Applications

Canada has a perfectly normal, civil relationship with Cuba, and has enjoyed good trade relations with them for a long time. 

This means that many of Canada’s online financial transaction applications have offices in Cuba, and can facilitate the transfer of money. 

What’s more, it is perfectly legal for United States citizens to use these applications to send money to their relatives in Cuba, despite them not being in Canada. 

One thing to remember however, is that the transaction will be processed in Canadian dollars, which has a different value to US dollars.

Be sure to check the amounts, and what this will amount to in Canadian dollars to ensure there are no nasty, unexpected surprises. 

Cryptocurrency 

Another loophole, or work around, for the US restrictions is to transfer your Cuban relative the money they need as cryptocurrency. 

With cryptocurrency, all you need to send your relative is the code, which should grant them access to the money.

However, this does rely on an internet connection, which isn’t always readily available in Cuba. 

Similarly, it can also be difficult to find locations in Cuba that will accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment, meaning this option will only really work under certain circumstances. 

Open A US Bank Account

Another option is for your Cuban family member to open a bank account in the US, something that is perfectly legal under US law.

This will rely on an internet connection, but once they are set up, you can then transfer the money from one US account to another. 

Pay Their Bills

If the money they need is for bill payments, another option is simply for you to pay the bills directly.

This is perfectly legal in both Cuban and US law, and is a more direct and easy way to achieve your desired goal. 

Sending Money: Specifications

Sending Money: Specifications

With the above-mentioned legislations, only certain methods are available for people to send money to Cuba, and even with that there are specific terms and conditions which must be adhered to. 

Close Family Members

Firstly, someone in the United States can only send money to Cuba if it is to a close family member.

The legislation bars American citizens from sending money to anyone who isn’t closely related by blood or marriage, even if they happen to be a close friend. 

These family members also cannot be more than 3 generations removed, meaning that anyone beyond parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and first cousins, are generally forbidden. 

No Party Members

Whilst in most cases, close family members are allowed to receive money under US law, this doesn’t apply if the family member in question is a member of the Cuban Communist Party, or has previously been affiliated with them. 

Limited Amounts

The amount of money that a US citizen can send to their close family members is also restricted. 

As of March 2021, the maximum amount of money which can be sent within a 3 month period is $1000 US dollars per recipient. 

This means that, if you are wanting to send some money to your mother, father, and brother in Cuba, then within any three month period, each of them can be sent $1000 dollars. 

Important Things To Remember

Of course, even if your family member isn’t a member of the Cuban Communist Party, and they qualify with US regulations, there are still several things you should remember.

Online Checks

If you are intending to use some form of online financial application to transfer the money, it is important to first ensure that the company in question operates in Cuba. 

This can usually be done by finding the drop down box on the company’s website, and this will give a list of countries within which they operate. 

Provide Correct Information

When using an online financial application, there are only usually a couple of pieces of information which need to be provided – namely the recipient’s name, and their address in Cuba. 

Final Thoughts

And there we have it, everything you need to know about sending money to a family member in Cuba. 

The main thing to remember is to take note of the rules, familiarize yourself with them, and be aware of what rights you do have if you live in the US. 

There is always a way around these problems, you just have to be patient and know where to look!

Jim Stanton
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