I was randomly surfing on the internet when suddenly an advertisement of a travel agency attracted my eyes! Cuban Visa for holder of iraqi passport!
i called them and these were the requirements:
1. work support letter
2. travel insurance
3. europe schengen visa for flight transit
5. bank statement
well, once i heard the word "schengen", i got pissed off! my schengen visa got expired and its a long process to get a new one!
after couple months, while surfing on the internet, i saw Turkish Airlines announcement for their new flight route to Havana!
next day i went to the travel agency and told them to check with the cuban embassy if they let us fly to havana with the new turkish airline route.
after couple hours they call me back and said: YES!
then i started to prepare the other documents. accommodation was really annoying, hotels were so expensive! then i checked on couchsurfing, found about something interesting, which is home stays or as cuban calls it "casa particular", the concept is you stay with locals and pay a little amount of money.
i loved the idea, even though its not the spirit of couchsurfing, but as i found it, locals cant let foreigners stay at their home randomly. so i found one and contacted to get an accommodation address for my application.
quickly got a travel insurance along with my 6 months bank statement, on top of that my work support letter! jumped to the agent and passed everything!
couple days later, i got the Tourist Card visa mail, yes a printed tourist card is used as a visa to travel to cuba!
oh i fogot to mention to you guys that the cuban embassy in amman jordan is responsible for iraqi citizens, so all communication was with the cuban embassy in amman.
i checked online for cheap flights, and after hours i ended up with the cheapest route!
from slemani to istanbul with atlas global, and from istanbul to havana via moscow with aerofolot!
i emailed aeroflot if we need transit visa for moscow since we have transit, the answered no need, because we will stay in the international area.
flew to istanbul, then passed immigration and again checked in with aeroflot. later on while transiting in moscow, a man approached and asked me for my boarding pass and some random questions, i told him i am in rush to catch my connecting flight, he replayed im immigration officer hahah so i have to answer.
well he was cool and let me continue easily to my connecting flight to havana.
after 11 hours from moscow, i landed in havana!
while waiting in line at the airport for immigration, a guy showed up and among all those people in line he just asked me and my friend for passport and tourist card! yes thats the tax of having a beard hahha
so he asked me about how i got the visa, and where i will stay and also who will pick me up from the airport!
luckily while i booked the casa particular, i asked them to get an airport pick up service, so when the immigration officer asked me for who is waiting for me, i told him that a guy while pick us up, so he asked to walk with him to find that guy! (imagine if i was lying hahahhahahahahahha)
passed the gate and pop up with a guy standing with a paper in his hands were my name was written on it! (this is one of very few times to have someone waiting for me hahah)
so the officer asked that guy some questions and then the officer told me to follow him again, we went to the immigration disk, then he stamped my passport! welcome to havana!
unfortunately, nowadays due to misuse of the cuban visa by my fellow homies, the cuban embassy in amman doesnt issue visas for iraqis anymore!