Singer Beyonce and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter traveled to Cuba “pursuant to an educational exchange trip” organized by an authorized company, the U.S. Treasury Department said in response to inquiries from Florida lawmakers.
The trip by the celebrity couple spurred widespread media coverage after two U.S. representatives from Florida, Republicans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, asked the Treasury who approved the travel and for what purpose. U.S. law prohibits financial transactions for tourist activities in Cuba to prevent funding of the government, which controls the industry. The Treasury permits visits for educational reasons.
State Department – General & Specific Licenses for Travel
General licenses are available for certain categories of travel. General licenses constitute authorization for those transactions set forth in the relevant provision of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations. No further permission from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is required to engage in transactions covered by a general license.
Specific licenses are also available for certain categories of travel. OFAC will consider the issuance of specific licenses on a case-by-case basis to permit travel-related transactions where the proposed activity is not covered by a general license but is addressed by one of the statements of licensing policy listed in section 31 C.F.R. part 515.560(a) and set forth in a related section of the Regulations. A specific license applicant must wait for OFAC to issue the license prior to engaging in travel-related transactions.
For further information on travel to Cuba under a general or a specific license, consult the OFAC publication Comprehensive Guidelines for License Applications to Engage in Travel-Related Transactions Involving Cuba. You should also visit OFAC’s Cuba Sanctions website.