Originally Answered: I just returned from Cuba, and they stamped it on my U.S. passport. Will the U.S. gov. send me to jail?
If you weren't visiting a family member, you may be in trouble. If you fall into one of these categories, your travel was legal and unpunishable:
*Persons visiting a close relative (any individual related to a person by blood, marriage, or adoption who is no more than three generations removed from that person or from a common ancestor with that person) who is a national of Cuba, and persons traveling with them who share a common dwelling as a family with them. There is no limit on the duration or frequency of such travel. (According to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, third country nationals who reside in Cuba are considered Cuban nationals.)
*Journalists and supporting broadcasting or technical personnel (regularly employed in that capacity by a news reporting organization and traveling for journalistic activities).
*Official government travelers on official business.
*Members of international organizations of which the United States is also a member (traveling on official business).
*Religious organizations, including members and staff, traveling for the purpose of participating and engaging in religious activities. Organizations may open accounts at Cuban financial institutions for the purpose of accessing funds in Cuba for transactions related to such activities.
*Students and all members of faculty and staff of accredited U.S. graduate and undergraduate degree granting institutions can participate in academic activities in Cuba through any sponsoring U.S. academic institution, not only through the accredited U.S. academic institution at which the student is pursuing a degree, if the traveler’s study in Cuba will be accepted for credit toward the student’s degree.
*Persons teaching at a Cuban academic institution if regularly employed in a teaching capacity at the sponsoring U.S. academic institution and provided the teaching activities are related to an academic program at the Cuban institution and the duration of the teaching will be no shorter than 10 weeks.
*Full-time professionals, whose travel transactions are directly related to research in their professional areas, provided that their research: 1) is of a noncommercial, academic nature; 2) comprises a full work schedule in Cuba; and 3) has a substantial likelihood of public dissemination.
*Full-time professionals whose travel transactions are directly related to attendance at professional meetings or conferences in Cuba that are organized by an international professional organization, institution, or association that regularly sponsors such meetings or conferences in other countries.
*An organization, institution, or association headquartered in the United States may not sponsor such a meeting or conference unless it has been specifically licensed to sponsor it. The purpose of the meeting or conference cannot be the promotion of tourism in Cuba or other commercial activities involving Cuba, or to foster production of any bio-technological products.
*Employees of a U.S. telecommunications services provider or an entity duly appointed to represent such a provider traveling incident to: 1) the commercial marketing, sales negotiation, accompanied delivery, or servicing of authorized telecommunications-related items; or 2) participation in certain telecommunications-related professional meetings for the commercial marketing of, sales negotiation for, or performance under contracts for the provision of telecommunications services, or the establishment of facilities to provide telecommunications services.
*Individuals regularly employed by a producer or distributer of agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices or an entity duly appointed to represent such a producer or distributer traveling incident to the commercial marketing, sales negotiation, accompanied delivery, or servicing in Cuba of such items.