Info for Brigadistas

The Information Booklet is essential reading for the brigade. Please read this document carefully as it explains many aspects of the brigade and addresses frequently asked questions.

Registration

To secure your place on the brigade, please fill out this registration form and return it to the National Brigade Coordinator, Rhonda Andrews at bowgadabird1@hotmail.com before 31 October.

The information you give in this form must be the same as appears in your current passport. Please call Rhonda on (08) 9247 2731 if you need any help filling out the form.

You will also need to pay a non-refundable* $AU300 registration fee. It is important that you advise the National Coordinator by email or phone of your payment once you have completed it, so that we can ensure that your registration is matched to your payment. The registration fee can be paid by:

  • Bank cheque, payable to ‘ACFS Brigade’, sent to:

74 Gossamer Ave
Mirrabooka WA 6061

  • EFT, using your name in the reference, e.g. ‘Rego A. SMITH’

BSB: 066-130 (Commonwealth Bank of Australia)
Acc No: 10316270
Acc Name: ACFS Brigade

*Subject to usual consumer rights laws.

Cost and money

The brigade costs approximately $AU1500 in total, per person, paid in two parts.

  1. This includes a non-refundable* registration fee of $AU300 by 31 October to secure your place on the brigade.
  2. On arrival at the camp in Cuba you will need to pay a further 900 CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos) in cash, which equates to approximately $AU1200.

This cost covers all accommodation, food, travel and activities as described in the program for the duration of the brigade, as well as a group t-shirt and cap for each member of the brigade.

This cost does not cover international flights, visas or travel and health insurance. These aspects of your travel must be arranged separately.

Each brigadista must also budget for personal spending money. The Australia Cuba Friendship Society recommends that each brigadista allow for a minimum of $AU800 to cover the cost of optional extras such as souvenirs, toiletries, alcohol, an occasional meal and personally arranged activities as well as luggage excess and personal phone calls.

You cannot use or change Australian or New Zealand currency in Cuba. Please follow the guidelines for money in our Information Booklet.

*Subject to usual consumer rights laws.

Flights

There are many airlines that fly to and from Cuba.

The Australia Cuba Friendship Society recommends that you do not travel to Cuba via the USA, due to the ongoing US blockade on Cuba. Instead, you might choose to investigate these following airlines that travel to Havana from various locations around the world:

  • Lan Chile, from Santiago de Chile
  • Air Canada, from Toronto
  • Emirates, from Dubai
  • Condor, from Frankfurt
  • Cubana Aviacion, from Buenos Aires
  • Air China, from Beijing
  • KLM, from Amsterdam
  • Air France, from Paris
  • Aeroméxico, from Cancún, Mexico City

Unfortunately flights to Cuba from Australia and New Zealand are often expensive and time consuming. We encourage you to commit early to going on the brigade as the later you register the greater the cost of airfares. Please let us know of any good deals you find for flights to and from Cuba so that we can let other brigadistas know too!

Visas

Australians and New Zealanders who wish to travel to Cuba must obtain a visa from the Cuban Embassy in their respective country. The Australia Cuba Friendship Society does not organise visas for brigadistas, so you must obtain one yourself. As a brigadista, you are being invited to Cuba by ICAP (The Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples), a Cuban government body. However, you will still have to apply for a Tourist Visa.  

The Tourist Visa can be used within one year from issue. However, once you enter Cuba the visa is valid for a stay of 30 days. If you intend to stay in Cuba after the brigade finishes, you can organise to extend your Tourist Visa with ICAP while in Cuba. You must organise this extension while the brigade is in session as ICAP will not be able to assist you after the brigade has finished

Minors must have their own Tourist Visa.

The following information will be useful when filling out the visa form:

  • The purpose of your visit to Cuba is to participate as a brigadista in the Southern Cross Brigade.
  • Your initial address in Cuba is CIJAM (International Camp Julio Antonio Mella) Which is located at Caimito Guayabal.

For Australians:

Australians can apply for their Tourist Visa in person or by mail. This visa costs $110 AUD if applying by mail or $AU60 if applying in person. If you need an urgent visa an additional fee of $AU50 applies.

For more information, please phone the Cuban Embassy on (02) 6290 2151 or visit their website at http://www.cubadiplomatica.cu/australia and follow the tabs: Menu > Consular Services > Tourist Visa (Tourist Card).

If applying by mail:

To apply for the Tourist Visa by mail, you must pay $AU110 by money order or bank cheque. Personal cheques will not be accepted. All cash sent by mail will be refused and returned at the risk of the applicant.

Your documents should be addressed to:

Embassy of the Republic of Cuba, PO Box 4433, Manuka ACT 2603

To obtain this visa by mail, you will need to post the following documents:

  • A filled out Tourism Visa Application form for Australians
  • A legible copy of your valid passport with 6 months left on arrival in Cuba
  • A legible copy of your plane ticket with entry and return dates
  • Payment of the consular fee for this service
  • A stamped and self-addressed envelope for the visa to be sent back to you

If applying in person:

To apply for the Tourist Visa/Card in person, you must pay $AU60 with cash, or by money order or bank cheque. Personal cheques cannot be accepted.

You will need to take your documents to the following address in consular office hours, which are Tuesday to Friday, 9am – 1pm:

1 Gerogery Place, O’Malley ACT 2606

For New Zealanders:

New Zealanders can apply for their Tourist Visa in person or by mail. This visa costs $NZ80 if applying by mail or $NZ30 if applying in person.

For more information, please phone the Cuban Embassy on (04) 464 2210 or visit their website at www.cubadiplomatica.cu/nuevazelanda/EN and follow the tabs: Menu > Consular Services > Tourist Visa (Tourist Card).

If applying by mail:

To apply for the Tourist Visa by mail, you must pay $NZ80 by EFT into the bank account of The Embassy of Cuba, using your surname as a reference. The account number is 12-3192-0041117-00.

Your documents should be addressed to:

Consular Services, 76 Messines Rd, Karori Wellington 6012

To obtain this visa by mail, you will need to post the following documents:

  • A signed and completed application form, 1 per applicant
  • 1 passport size photo, in colour and hard copy
  • A legible copy of your valid passport (must be valid for 6 months after departing Cuba) that has been certified by a Justice of Peace or a solicitor from the High Court of New Zealand
  • A legible copy of your flight itinerary showing flight numbers and arrival and departure dates
  • Copy of the first three nights of your accommodation booked. If you are booking a tour, please include the tour’s name and the part of the itinerary showing that the accommodation is included, and preferably with information of where you are staying for the first three nights. If you are staying in a “Casa Particular”, please include e-mail exchanges and the name and address of the casa.
  • Payment of the consular fee for this service
  • A stamped and self-addressed envelope for the visa to be sent back to you. A courier bag that can be tracked is recommended.

If applying in person:

To apply for the Tourist Visa by mail, you must pay $NZ30 by EFT into the bank account of The Embassy of Cuba, using your surname as a reference. The account number is 12-3192-0041117-00.

You will need to take your documents to the following address in consular office hours, which are Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm. Please call before attending the office.

Messines Road 76, Karori  Wellington 6012

To obtain this visa in person, you will need to bring the following documents:

  • A signed and completed application form, 1 per applicant
  • 1 passport size photo, in colour and hard copy
  • Your valid passport or a legible copy of your valid passport (must be valid for 6 months after departing Cuba) that has been certified by a Justice of Peace or a solicitor from the High Court of New Zealand
  • A legible copy of your flight itinerary showing flight numbers and arrival and departure dates
  • Copy of the first three nights of your accommodation booked. If you are booking a tour, please include the tour’s name and the part of the itinerary showing that the accommodation is included, and preferably with information of where you are staying for the first three nights. If you are staying in a “Casa Particular”, please include e-mail exchanges and the name and address of the casa.
  • Payment of the consular fee for this service

Travel and medical insurance

Since 2010, it has been a requirement of entry into Cuba that all travellers, both foreigners and Cubans living abroad, have medical insurance. To ensure that you comply with this requirement, you will need to have a travel insurance policy with a non-US company that covers medical expenses in Cuba.

The Australia Cuba Friendship Society recommends that brigadistas get their travel insurance prior to entering Cuba so that other brigadistas are not held up at the airport waiting for you to organise this.

Code of conduct

Brigadistas go to Cuba at the invitation of the Cuban people and government and are therefore ambassadors for their country. Brigadistas are expected to be mindful of the fact that they are part of a solidarity brigade and therefore, they must be courteous and respectful to their hosts and also to each other. Brigadistas are expected to attend all activities listed in the program and to be prompt.

Information sessions

Information sessions on the brigade are run in many regional centres across Australia and New Zealand throughout the year. Please contact us to get in touch with your regional brigade coordinator, who can tell you more about the brigade and let you know about any upcoming information sessions.