Visitors initially get four weeks in Cuba with a tarjeta de turista (tourist card) issued by their airline or travel agency. Unlicensed US visitors buy their tourist card at the airline desk in the country through which they’re traveling to Cuba (US$25); they are welcomed in the country like any other tourist. You cannot leave Cuba without presenting your tourist card (replacements cost CUC$25).
The ‘address in Cuba’ line should be filled in with a hotel or legal casa particular, if only to avoid unnecessary questioning.
Business travelers and journalists need visas. Applications should be made through a consulate at least three weeks in advance, preferably longer.
Obtaining an extension is easy: go to an immigration office and present your documents and CUC$25 in stamps (obtainable at local banks). You’ll receive an additional four weeks, after which you’ll need to leave Cuba and re-enter anew if you need to stay longer. Attend to extensions at least a few business days before your visa is due to expire. The following cities all have immigration offices:
Baracoa (Antonio Maceo No 48; 8am-noon & 2-4pm Mon-Fri)
Havana (206-0307; cnr Calle Factor al final & Santa Ana, Nuevo Vedado)
Santa Clara (cnr Av Sandino & Sexta; 8am-noon & 1-3pm Mon-Thu)
Santiago de Cuba (Calle 13 near Av General Cebreco, Vista Alegre; 8am-5pm Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri)
Trinidad (Julio Cueva Díaz off Paseo Agramonte; 8am-5pm Tue-Thu)
Viñales (cnr Salvador Cisneros & Ceferino Fernández; 8am-5pm Mon-Fri)