Getting a Cuban Visa- Your Step by Step Guide

cuban buildings

South African passport holders are familiar with the painful process of applying for visas which often can be so difficult, time consuming and expensive. The Cuba visa application process provides a refreshing change to this red tape-it’s cheap and quick – the way all visas should be, and makes it easy to visit this magical country!

cuba cigar

Here is a step by step guide how to apply for your Cuban visa…


  1. Book your return flights to Cuba on
  2. South African Passport Holders flying to Cuba via Europe, London or Turkey must apply for a Cuban Visa prior to departing South Africa.
  3. Please also check your transit visa requirements – for example if flying via the UK you will require a UK visa.

IMPORTANT: Effective February 2017, for security reasons, South Africans travelling to Cuba via the USA can no longer apply for visas at a Cuban embassy in South Africa. They must apply for a visa at the airline desks in the USA, regardless of the airline they travel with. You should plan your flights carefully to allow time to apply for the visas at the airline desk. (Approximately two to three hours.) Please check with the Consulate about requirements.

  1. The Tourist Visa or Tourist Card for Cuba is only for travel to Cuba for tourism purposes. It is valid for one single entry for a 30-day trip.
  2. Minors must have their own Tourist Card.
  3. A minimum of 3 days are required to process the Cuban Tourist Visa application.
  4. The Embassy in Pretoria accepts direct couriers so you can courier your documents directly to them, give them at least three full days then call to check if your visa has been processed and send the courier to collect your passport and visa. You do not have to apply in person.

Visa Requirements

  1. Valid Passport (minimum six month validity)
  2. 1 passport colour photo glued to the form
  3. Application form – fully completed
  4. Bank statement (at least three months)
  5. Airline E ticket (itinerary to/from Cuba)
  6. Proof of accommodation -name and/or address of accommodation in Cuba- regardless of whether it is a hotel or rental house booking.
  7. Travel Insurance – From 01 May 2010 all tourists entering Cuba will require “Medical Travel Insurance” that is on a Government approved list. We urge you to check with your insurance provider to ensure your policy is on the list of approved providers. If it is not, tourists will be forced to purchase a Government approved policy on arrival in Cuba-they do random spot checks on arrival. The cost of buying this insurance in Cuba will be in addition to any insurance already purchased, and it is likely the rates for these polices will be inflated compared to what you may purchase in advance from home.
  8. Copy of Visa Proof of Payment – R270 per person (payments have a validity of 30 days from the date they were deposited, thereafter the payment will be declared non-refundable) Reference: VISA + YOUR NAME. Fax a copy of the proof of payment to (012) 346 2216 and attach a copy to your visa application.
  9. The Visa is not stamped in your passport but arrives back loose with your passport and resembles a bus ticket-it is perforated down the middle. On arrival in Cuba they will tear the one half and keep it and on departure they will take the other half so keep it safe while travelling.

Visa Guide above is for South African Passport Holders only.


Handy Contacts

  • Cuban Consular Office Pretoria

Address: 45 Mackenzie Street, Brooklyn, 0181, Pretoria

Telephone: TBC

  • Banking Details for Visa

Payments can be done only by Cash deposit or bank transfer to

Account Name: Embassy of Cuba

Bank: First National Bank

Branch Name: Brooklyn

Account Number: 62241028374

Branch Code: 251345

Travelstart endeavours to ensure that all details are correct but please note visa information is not guaranteed. Kindly confirm details with the Cuban Consulate in Pretoria.

Our Readers Comments

  1. Hi,

    Please can you assist we have travellers living in Botswana that do not have permits for South African or South African Id’s. They would like to travel to Cuba for holiday however the Embassy in Botswana is closed from the 30th November 2019, can they courier the packs to us to submit on their behalf here in Pretoria? If so, how long does the process take for the visas to be issued here in Pretoria?

    • Hi Wendy,

      Thanks for reaching out. For this I would recommend you contact the Embassy in South Africa. They will be able to advise if it is possible to courier their documents to Pretoria and what the process would be and cost.

  2. Hi, we have some questions.

    We are South Africans, currently traveling in Mexico and want to go to Cuba for a week. Leaving from Cancun Mexico and returning to Mexico. How would we apply for a visa ? Online ? – if so, can it get delivered to our hotel?

    We aren’t able to get hold of the embassy to ask, as we don’t have signal.

    What do we do?

    Please let us know if you have any advise for us?

    • Hi there,

      For this you would need to contact the Embassy direct. They will be able to advise if it is possible to apply for a Cuban visa while travelling abroad. And if it is possible, the correct procedures to follow, what documents would be required and the cost.

    • Hi Kirst,

      I am doing the exact same thing, leaving from Cancun travelling to Cuba and back to Cancun. I’m travelling on a SA passport. Please let me know how the process was for you? I believe i can buy the visa through the airline i booked my flights with. Is thois the case?

      Your assistance here would be greatly appreciated!


  3. If I travel from the US, what is the VISA cost please

    • Hi Ric,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      You welcome to read through our blog: “‘Step by Step: U.S. Visa Application””

      Here we provide all the relevant information for applying for a USA visa.

      The U.S. Visa cost in South Africa is $160 USD (approximately R 2200.00 depending on exchange rate). Visa courier services are an additional R 90.00 or R 400.00 depending on the type of delivery.

      Application fees can be paid in cash or by credit card.

      For credit card payments, you can call the Visa Information Service Center (VISC) on 087 550 2160 during business hours, or visit the U.S. Department of State Visa Appointment Service website to make payment and to schedule your appointment.

      For cash payments, you can create an account on the U.S. Department of State Visa Appointment Service website, follow the steps until you reach the payment page, and then download, print, and follow the payment instructions page.

      Please keep in mind, all information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. We do ask you contact the Embassy direct for the most up to date information as this could have changed at any time.

  4. hi

    ive called US Visa, and Cuba Consulate nobody has any info on how/where to do the
    Cuba Tourist card ifyou transit via the US…

    please please help

    • Hi there,

      I’m afraid we are not able to assist as we don’t specialise in that area.

      Maybe researching on the internet, you might be able to find further information.

  5. I am a Swaziland passport holder, what are the visa requirements to visit Cuba.
    I currently live in South Africa

    • Hi Sandra,

      I’m afraid we do not specialise in visa related queries for foreign passport holders. Please contact the Embassy direct or official visa handling agency. They will be able to advise if a visa or transit visa is required and if so what the cost would be, correct procedures to follow and what documentation will be required.

  6. My husband and I will be traveling to Havana , Cuba next month from SA via Istanbul, how do I go about the visa thing.

    • Hi Tasneem,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      You welcome to read our blog ” Getting a Cuban Visa – Your Step by Step Guide”

      We have also mentioned in our blog: “Travelstart endeavours to ensure that all details are correct but please note visa information is not guaranteed. Kindly confirm details with the Cuban Consulate in Pretoria.”

      Below I have provided the Embassy contact details they will be able to provide you with the most up to date information.

      Embassy of the Republic of Cuba (Pretoria)
      Telephone No : (012) 346-2215

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