Cuban customs regulations

Inbound travelers

Be prepared for Cuban customs

Upon your arrival in Cuba, all luggage will be x-rayed.

If they see that you have a lot of items, more than seems necessary for a short vacation, a buzzer will sound as you try to pass through the exit gates.

You will be flagged aside for a second inspection where officials will question you.

The best way to deal with this is to tell them that everything is for your personal use. If you have a ticket for a month long stay or longer they will allow you to go through. If not, they may tax some of your excess luggage. Feel free to play it by ear as they will accept a moderate sum.

Do not bring any kind of pornographic material or illegal drugs

  • It’s best to have a letter from your doctor if you need your meds for the duration of your trip.

  • Don’t try to bring in animals or plants.

  • And forget about household appliances such as toasters or fans. These much-needed items are for sale in the government Dollar stores for Cubans to buy at a healthy mark-up.

  • Electrical items are not allowed except those for your personal use such as razors, hair dryers and coffee makers. If you bring more, they will be taxed on the spot for whatever the market can bear.

But you are permitted to bring

  • Two bottles of alcohol, one carton of cigarettes and up to ten kilograms (20 pounds) of over-the-counter medicine.

  • You may bring sports equipment, personal jewelry, your camera, cell phone, laptop, ipod, video games and tape recorder. You are also permitted one musical instrument.

  • Certain computer parts are now accepted into Cuba but the customs official may persist in demanding payment of a tax.

  • Since the assessment of your incoming baggage is up to the discretion of the person on duty that day, it’s best to be polite at all times.

  • Do not admit that anything in your possession is a donation for a Cuban person or the authorities can tax you on this as well.

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