Common Jobs in Cuba

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About job opportunities on the Island

Can I find work in Cuba?
Are there common Cuban jobs?
Can I find teaching, engineering or nursing jobs ? 

common jobs in  cuba

Billboards in Havana encourage 'Work in Cuba' 
"NOSOTROS TRABAJAMOS...¿Y TU?" "WE ARE WORKING...AND YOU?" Because of the low salaries there's a growing indifference to work.

Cuba Employment: The Myths!

We receive several requests from people asking for information and advice about working and living in Cuba.

Major reasons they want to "escape" to Cuba:

  • They were seduced by Cuba after a vacation of sun and fun and want to retire like others do in Spain or Florida.
  • Want to escape from the rat race and are attracted by the slower pace of life and the sun.
  • Economic reasons, they lost their job, house, or partner and think about a new start in a country with a lower standard of living.
  • Attracted by the Cuban social life, greater solidarity and warmer society.

Before the leap: BE PREPARED!

A basic knowledge of Spanish is a must and some Cuban slang is an advantage. Most Cubans don't speak english, except in a few tourist hotels.

  • Make your homework : do your research: 
    You will need a visa, a house, an income, a social life and friends.
  • Don't expect to live on a shoestring. Cubans have a long tradition of surviving on sugar, water and rice, they are born survivors. 
    You are a "spoilt foreigner" (sorry!) who is used to the luxury of a beer a decent meal, entertainment etc. 

A monthly income of 1500+ $ wil be a strict minimum depending on your life style.


I have seen several expats running out of money. Without emergency money or a secured income you are lost in Cuba, so think about a nest-egg, some emergency money, keep in touch with family and friends or create your own income generating website

The Work Permit - Salary and Jobs

Havana is a compelling city, so it’s not unusual that some people want to stay on and find work there. Sorry, but you can almost forget this option, there are very few opportunities for foreigners to work in Cuba. All common jobs in Cuba are distributed by the State and the workers are paid and selected through a Cuban State agency.

First you have to apply for a work permit with the Ministry of Work and Social Security: not an easy task, because if a Cuban citizen can do the job, he or she has priority.

Second difficulty for a foreigner: you have to work in accordance with Cuban standards and regulations, and this means your salary will be paid in Peso Cubano, which can only be used in the internal Cuban market and surprise, surprise - your salary will be 500 peso Cubano (roughly 20 US dollars a month).

A few opportunities

You can work in Cuba for a foreign company with a subsidiary or an agency in the country, but again Cubans will have priority, as most of these companies are joint ventures with Cuban companies. For example you can work as a representative for a tour operator or travel company, but don’t expect to work in a hotel as an entertainer or barman etc, these kinds of common jobs go to Cubans. To be allowed in the tourist industry is a privilege for a citizen.

You can work as a journalist, freelance writer or photographer, but you’ll need a special visa and work permit.

Studying In Havana

You can apply for a student visa, which allows you to stay for a longer period in Havana, but you must take courses, and your attendance is checked. Spanish language courses are popular, and several packages are available at the University of Havana, including hotel accommodation or a stay at the University Campus. Other popular courses are combined Salsa and Spanish language lessons and the study of the local culture.

Small Independent Businesses

This kind of business is not allowed in Cuba. In general most of the foreign companies are international companies who start a joint venture with a State owned company, with 51% Cuban participation. 

Further information is available at the CAMARA DE COMERCIO (Chamber of Commerce) 
21st Street 611 
Website : 

Residence In Havana

TOURIST VISA (A1 Visa - Tarjeta Tourista)

This visa is a permission to stay up to 30 days in Cuba and is extendable to 60 days (price 20 Cuc for 30 days). Exception : For Canadian citizens (only) the visa is valid for 90 days and an extention up to 180 days is possible.

FAMILLY VISA (A2 Visa - Spousal visa)

A familly visa for foreigners married to a Cuban citizen. The visa allows a stay for 60 days. You have the permission to live together with your Cuban partner (official marriage documents required!)


This is an annual residency, evidenced by a Cuban Identity Card (Carné de Identidad) and available to foreigners with a Cuban Work Permission.


This visa can only be obtained if the foreigner is married to a Cuban citizen. Getting this permit can take a few months. You also have to prove your solvency by producing a certificate from a Cuban bank stating that you have at least 5000 CUC in your Cuban bank account.


There's a variety of special visa's, which can be issued for up to 2-3 months for businessmen, journalists, professional photographers, medical tourism, volunteer work etc.

Jobs in Cuba

List Permitted Jobs in Cuba

Due to the economic crisis, the US economic embargo gainst Cuba, an excess of government employees and low productivity, a decline in revenues from tourism and mining activities, the government has decided to reduce the workforce with 500,000 common jobs early 2011 to cope with the growing State budget deficits.

To avoid a brutal transition, unemployment and social problems, the government encourages self employment in the country. 

In the past a limited number of independent businesses and professions were already allowed, for example independent taxidrivers, hairdressers, paladars (private restaurants) casa particular (rent of private rooms)
Now the government promotes self employment and issues a list of 178 common jobs permitted in Cuba with the number of the authorized license. 

(the number preceding the profession is the license code for the job)

001 Estomatólogo 
002 Médico dental
003 Médico
004 Optometrista
005 Veterinaria
101 Arriero
103 Carretillero
109 Reparador bicicletas 
110 Reparador equipos mecánicos y de combustión 
111 Pintor automotriz
112 Mensajero
113 Electricista automotriz
114 Reparador baterías automotrices
115 Fregador equipos automotor
116 Engrasador autos y similares
121 Operador compresor de aire
122 Instructor automovilismo 
123 Limpiador y comprobador de bujías
124 Parqueador cuidador de equipos automotor, ciclos y triciclos 
125 Ponchero o reparador de neumáticos 
201 Albañil
202 Carpintero 
203 Cerrajero
204 Electricista
205 Herrero 
206 Pintor bienes muebles, refrigeradores o barnizador
207 Plomero
208 Pulidor pisos
209 Masillero
210 Cristalero 
211 Techador
212 Cantero
301 Boyero o carretero
302 Elaborador vendedor yugos y frontiles
303 Elaborador vendedor carbón
304 Molinero
305 Pocero
306 Reparador - monturas y arreos
307 Trillador
310 Productor vendedor - flores y plantas ornamentales
311 Cuidador de animales trabajo
313 Tostador granos
314 Leñador
315 Repardor - cercas y caminos
316 Desmochador palma
317 Productor vendedor - bastos, paños y monturas.
318 Herrador - animales o productor vendedor herraduras y clavos
401 Afinador y reparador - instrumentos musicales
402 Alquiler de trajes y otros medios relacionados con este vestuario
403 Barbero
404 Bordadora tejedora
405 Forrador botones
406 Fotógrafo 
407 Limpia botas
408 Manicurista 
409 Mecanógrafo
410 Modista o sastre 
411 Peluquera 
412 Plasticador
413 Relojero
414 Reparador - bisutería
415 Reparador - espejuelos
416 Reparador y llenado de fosforera 
417 Reparador de paraguas y sombrillas
418 Zapatero remendón
419 Productor vendedor - calzado 
422 Productor vendedor - escobas, cepillos y similares 
423 Reparador colchones 
424 Masajista
425 Mecánico - equipos refrigeración
426 Pulidor - metales
427 Maquillista 
428 Constructor vendedor y/o montador de antenas de radio y televisión
429 Reparador artículos - joyería y platería
430 Constructor vendedor y/o reparador de artículos de mimbre
431 Conserje
432 Personal domésticos
435 Cuidador enfermos
436 Vendedor prensa
438 Cuidador niños
439 Sereno o portero de edificio de viviendas
440 Productor vendedor de accesorios de goma
441 Elaborador vendedor vinos
442 Quiropedista
444 Elaborador vendedor jabón, betún, tintas, sogas y otros similares
446 Productor vendedor - bisutería de metal y recursos naturales 
447 Reparador - enseres menores 
448 Encargado limpiador y turbinero de inmuebles 
449 Profesor - taquigrafía, mecanografía e idiomas
450 Profesor - música y otras artes
501 Aguador 
502 Amolador
503 Decorador 
504 Gravador cifrador de objetos
505 Jardinero
506 Lavandero 
507 Operador - audio
508 Reparador - bastidores de cama
509 Reparador - cocinas 
510 Reparador - equipos eléctricos y electrónicos
511 Reparador - máquinas de coser
512 Tapicero 
513 Operador de vídeo
514 Chapistero - bienes muebles con remaches
515 Productor vendedor - artículos aluminio
516 Productor vendedor - artículos fundición no ferrosa 
517 Productor vendedor artículos varios de uso en el hogar 
601 Artesano 
602 Fundidor
603 Piscicultor 
604 Recolector vendedor - recursos naturales
605 Pintor - Inmuebles
606 Productor vendedor - hierbas medicinales y alimento para el ganado
607 Programador - equipos computo 
608 Hojalatero
609 Encuadernador libros
610 Soldador
611 Chapistero 
612 Tornero
613 Enrrollador - motores, bobinas y otros equipos
614 Talabartero vendedor - artículos varios 
615 Recolector-Vendedor materias primas 
616 Alquiler de caballos ponies, con fines de recreación infatil
617 Criador vendedor de animales afectivos
618 Entrenador - animales afectivos
619 Oxicortador
620 Teñidor de textiles
621 Animador - fiestas infantiles, payasos, magos
623 Coche de uso infantil tirado por animales menores
624 Fabricante vendedor - coronas de flores
625 Curtidor de pieles 
626 Restaurador - obras de arte
627 Cobrador pagador - Impuestos
628 Productor vendedor - figuras de yeso
629 Elaborador vendedor - artículos de granito y mármol
630 Comprador vendedor - libros de uso
631 Reparador de equipos - oficina
632 Restaurador - muñecos y otros juguetes
633 Limpiador y reparador de fosas
634 Comprador vendendor - discos musicales usados 
635 Peluquero - animales domésticos
636 Traductor - documentos
637 Productor vendedor - piñatas y otros artículos similares para cumpleaños infantiles
638 Operador - equipos recreación infantil
639 Aserrador de madera
640 Traquilador
641 Instructor - prácticas deportivas, excepto artes marciales
642 Pintor rotulista
643 Elaborador vendedor - alimentos y bebidas no alcohólicas al detalle 
644 Elaborador vendedor - alimentos y bebidas no alcohólicas a domicilio
645 Elaborador vendedor - alimentos y bebidas mediante servicio gastronómico
646 Elaborador vendedor - alimentos y bebidas no alcohólicas al detalle en punto fijo de venta 
647 Reparador - artículos de cuero y similares 
648 Productor vendedor - artículos de alfarería 
649 Productor vendedor - artículos de alfarería con fines constructivos 
701 Ayuda Familiar al Detalle
702 Ayuda Familiar a Domicilio
703 Ayuda Familiar con Servicio Gastronómico
704 Ayuda Familiar con Servicio Fijo
705 Ayuda Familiar Productor Vendedor artículos de uso del Hogar

Selling sweets in Havana

Professions in Cuba - Selling sweets

Related Pages:

University of Havana
Safety Havana
read more
Life in the city

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