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Cuban Customs


#1

Everyone should take a few minutes and have a look through the Aduana (Cuban Customs) website.

It’s undergone some major changes, and everyone should familiarize themselves with the new policies.

A quick look shows…

1.) Import limit before confiscation of goods has been bumped from 250 to 1,000 CUC.

2.) There’s now a graduated scale for import duty. Up to 50 CUC is still exempt and from 50 to 250 CUC is still at 100%. From 250 to 500 CUC is 150% and from 500 to 1,000 CUC is 200%. Bring in 1,000 CUC worth of goods, and your total duty will be 1,575 CUC.

3.) There’s a new Customs Declaration Form. There’s a copy of it on the website. If you’re only bringing in personal items and no more than $5,000 then you don’t have to fill out the form.

4.) In Prohibited Articles they mention freezers with a capacity exceeding 7 feet. Weird. They’ve dropped all mention of DVD or VCR players though.

5.) In Regulated Articles they’ve bumped undocumented cigars from 23 to 50. This is big news.

6.) Anything over two units of regulated items (DVD players, televisions, Playstations, refrigerators, etc.) will be regarded as commercial import and will be confiscated.

I can’t find any mention of the duty imposed on DVDs. They should fall under the normal duty rates in #2 above, but of course they don’t.

I’ve been told Havana and Varadero Customs are charging 62 CUC per unit, flat rate. (Has anyone heard differently?)

Oh well, you can’t expect a Cuban website to tell you everything…

Website Cuban Customs: http://www.aduana.co.cu/pasajero3.htm

Laptops
There is no reason for Cuban Customs to ever know, or to be involved.
It is very rare that a laptop is registered upon entry at Customs. If it is, it’s because they suspect you’re going to leave it there. Anything still in original boxes or looking brand new will arouse suspicion.
If it is registered, then bring it home with you. Do not “lose” it there. Waaaaaaay too much hassle otherwise.

If your laptop doesn’t get any attention from Customs (99% of them don’t) then there’s nothing stopping you from leaving it in Cuba. No worries.

English and Spanisch custom website
I notice a lot of difference between the Spanish and English Aduana Customs sections, mainly in the fact that the Sp section gives more complete listings and explanation.

Portable DVD’s
One of the more frequently asked questions here is about taking personal use portable DVD’s which is listed on this Sp page; http://www.aduana.islagrande.cu/turista.htm as ‘un equipo DVD portátil’ and says that these may be imported without payment and with the expectation that they are to be re-exported by the traveler when leaving. (No paperwork involved).


#2

Good question,

I suppose you are taking a few things for Cuban friend’s children and not for resale, in which case they are more of a ‘personal use’ nature rather than commercial.

Cuban customs isn’t really interested in a small quantity of kids clothing, shoes and toys bought on sale anyway,…the items won’t show up when your bags are xrayed coming off the plane so it’s unlikely you would be asked for a secondary inspection but if by some chance you were asked to open your luggage, the inspector wouldn’t be looking at clothing, shoe sizes or a few toys. What they do look for are commercial or excessive amounts of more valuable goods such as new jewelry, cosmetics, electronic items, etc.

I would take the tags and new packaging off the clothing, keep the price tags in a separate envelope on the very remote chance that you were asked to valuate the goods, and scatter the items among the luggage you are taking…if asked just say they are for ‘personal use’ (maybe your kids are already on the bus, maybe your children are arriving on a later flight, maybe you have family staying at the resort already, maybe some friends staying at the resort lost their kids luggage and asked you to bring some clothes with you, etc), and not mention the word ‘gifts’, which could bring on more questions.

The other way of course would be to declare everything, each fill out the commercial importation documents, tie up a customs inspectors time as they checked and evaluated each item, get some Cuban currency and then maybe or not pay some duty, while your fellow travelers are slow-roasting in the Cuban sun for an hour or two. :slight_smile:


A few each of various low cost items such as clothes, shoes, ball gloves, baseballs, frizbees, dolls, etc, doesn’t really bother customs but fifteen or twenty new Barbie’s in original packaging for example, might.

Cheers, Flygt


#3

On our Feb. 2, 2009 trip to Cuba we DID NOT have to fill out this Passenger Customs Declaration form. The only form we filled out was the new and improved (very simplified) tourist visa card.


#4

Thanks for the great info…increasing the cigar limit is definitely a plus!


#5

In Regulated Articles they’ve bumped undocumented cigars from 23 to 50. This is big news.

I am not familiar with that rule. I thought that we did not have the right to buy any undocumented cigars. We did once (a big package), they told us we had no right but let it go this time.

So does that mean I can buy 50 cigars from the guy on the beach without any official sales recipt ?


#6

[quote=@mai]
So does that mean I can buy 50 cigars from the guy on the beach without any official sales recipt ?[/quote]

Yes.

BUT (in Cuba, there is always a ‘but’) - in order to protect the person from whom you bought the cigars, if the Aduana person asks you where you bought your cigars, do not “rat out” your contact on the beach - this is often how the police clamp down on the locals - by identifying sources and then going after them directly. Instead, be vague - you ‘don’t remember exactly’, you ‘got them different places’, etc. :-X


#7

[quote=@mai]

So does that mean I can buy 50 cigars from the guy on the beach without any official sales recipt ?[/quote]

The regulation is aimed at authentic cigars, only, purchased at official locations. Cigars off the beach are counterfeits (no matter what the guy tells you) and Cuban customs is still watching for them and confiscating when found. Beware because they are well trained to recognize boxes of authentic cigars from boxes from guys off the beach. Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky travellers they don’t inspect.

Check this thread for more info on cigars.
http://debbiesreviews.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=cubageneral&thread=13347&page=1


#8

I like the bumping up of the cigar limit, but does that mean that Canada will allow more also?
Is the limit to get back into Canada the same…?
Karen


#9

[quote=@kharmar]
Is the limit to get back into Canada the same…?
Karen[/quote]

Yes.


#10

Cuban export regulations and Canadian import regulations have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with each other…


#11

Thats what I thought…


#12

And what is the import limit for cigars into Canada?


#13

cubavisitor, you can find the answer to your question here:

http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/pub/bsf5056-eng.html#s2x14

But read it carefully. Maybe it’s just me, but I always find the part about tobacco confusing, because of the stuff about partial exemption, special duty, etc.

Regards,
Jack


#14

Jack, thanks for the link.


#15

I have purchased gifts or donations for my upcoming trip to Cuba. I plan on taking the items to St Elviras Church in Varadero for the items to be distributed there. I have around $100 CDN worth of items such as OTC pain medications for babies, children, adults, toiletries and school supplies such as note books, crayons, pens, pencils, erasers etc.

Will I have to pay duty on these items? I’ve been searching all over including the Aduana website but am still having trouble finding a concrete answer. Since there are so many little items, will I get away with claiming these as personal? I was simply going to transport them in a small suitcase to leave at the church, would it be better for me to split the items evenly between mine and my husband’s personal luggage?

Thanks ahead of time for any replies and information


#16

What did St Elvira’s say to do. They know the routine.

No you won’t have to pay but Cuba asks that you pre-arrange to have a church representative meet you at the airport to collect your donations at Aduana/Customs. If not, Aduana may hold your gifts until the person from the church you arranged this with, can come and get them.
You may be able to go right through but Cuba prefers to see donations go directly to the Charities intended. If you can’t contact someone to meet you, split up your stuff and walk it through as though it was for your use and for tips. Unlike DR, Cuba controls charitable donations. Maybe stick with medications or just give cash. $100 spent on the best deals here will only buy half what $100 will buy in Cuba.
Thank you for your kind intentions.


#17

Thank you for your reply Spunky. Since I’ve already purchased these items, I will just split them up between my husband and I and then deliver them to the church anyway. I contacted Not Just Tourists here in Canada about taking a medical case for them but they no longer transport to Cuba but they made the recommendations that I purchased and that is why I have both school supplies and medications.

So I report them as gifts for tipping if I’m asked?


#18

Personal use and tips, not gifts, if asked.
What items did St Elvira say they were looking for this year?


#19

I haven’t been on contact with them, I was told by a representative from Not Just Tourists of what I should bring. I assumed the best way to have these items distributed was to drop them off at the church and not hand them out randomly to resort staff or those I run into on my travels. I was going to go drop them off at the church while I was there.