Yorkshire lawyer warns holidaymakers over little-known US visa restriction

Travellers hoping to visit the USA this summer are being warned that a little-known visa restriction, introduced in the final days of the Trump administration, may put their plans on hold.

John Howe, partner at the Yorkshire law firm John Howe & Co, is warning holidaymakers that their American dream may be delayed if they have visited Cuba in the last 11 years.

Former President Donald Trump listed the Caribbean island as a “state sponsor of terrorism” (SST) alongside the likes of North Korea and Iran, meaning that those who enjoyed a visit there will be disqualified from using the Esta Visa typically used by British travellers.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Instead, Brits with a Cuban travel history will be required to pay £137 for a special visa and must attend an appointment at the US Embassy in London, or the Consulate-General in Belfast.

John Howe, partner at the Yorkshire law firm John Howe & CoJohn Howe, partner at the Yorkshire law firm John Howe & Co
John Howe, partner at the Yorkshire law firm John Howe & Co

A delay, blamed on a Covid pandemic backlog, means that visitors will need to wait several months before securing a meeting – potentially putting their trip in jeopardy.

Trump made the decision on January 11 2021, in the days between the Capitol Hill riots and Joe Biden’s accession to the presidency.

Mr Biden has so far left the designation in place.

A Cuban break is not the only issue which may potentially block a visit to the States.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

British travellers are also required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before being permitted to entry the country.

John Howe, partner at John Howe & Co, said those affected by the situation need to plan ahead if they intend to visit the US in the near future.

Travellers with a history of globe-trotting could well find their American holiday plans put on hold if they don’t take action soon.

“Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism by Trump means that if those people are hoping to visit the USA this summer, then now is the time to act.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Visas are taking months to be completed and without one, you may well not be permitted to enter the country.

“In 2018 – the latest figures available – more than 150,000 Brits visited the island of Cuba, so over the last 11 years that number could well be over one million.

"That’s a lot of holiday plans that could be ruined if travellers don’t get visa appointments booked soon.”