Today the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued new restrictions on remittances and “U-turn” transactions to Cuba, which will come into effect on October 9, 2019. These restrictions are intended to further implement President Trump’s June 2017 National Security Presidential Memorandum, in which he outlined US policy toward Cuba under his administration and various policy actions to be taken by a number of agencies and departments.
These new restrictions build upon those announced on June 4, 2019, in which the US government prohibited US travelers from going to Cuba under the previous ‘group people-to-people educational’ travel authorization and further restricted travel by no longer permitting visits to Cuba via passenger and recreational vessels, including cruise ships and yachts, and private and corporate aircraft.
In addition to amending the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, OFAC issued 46 updated or new FAQs on Cuba. Although many of the changes were either cosmetic or to provide the relevant regulatory citations, some are worth noting. In particular, FAQs 1, 40, 44, and 65 provide guidance on today’s amendments. Additionally, FAQ 12 provides guidance on OFAC’s June 5 amendments related to “people-to-people travel.”
The amendments to OFAC regulations on remittances and U-turn transactions to Cuba represent the reinstatement of certain restrictions that were eased under the Obama administration as we described in our 2016 advisory.