The United States and Cuba opened embassies in Havana and Washington Monday, marking the return of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries for the first time in more than 54 years.

The opening of the embassies follows months of talks between the two countries. President Barack Obama announced July 1 that embassies would reopen this month.

While diplomatic relations have been restored, general tourism and most forms of trade with Cuba are still not allowed. The Obama administration did take steps in January, however, to loosen certain travel restraints and broaden permissible activities.

BAL Analysis: Those planning travel to Cuba or intending to conduct business in Cuba should make sure their planned activities are legal. Contact a BAL attorney if you have any questions about which activities are permissible.

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