Traveling, importing and sending packages to Cuba: What should you know? (2023)

With the reestablishment of direct flights to Cuba from various parts of the world and the easing or elimination of the sanitary measures that kept many families away during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cubans living abroad wonder what has changed in this time in terms of customs and immigration legislation.

Faced with the severe economic crisis that Cuba is going through, which translates into a shortage of basic necessities, many seek information, in addition, about what they can or cannot import to the island as part of their luggage.

The first thing you should know is that the extension to stay abroad remains in force; that is, it is possible to stay outside the country for more than 24 months without losing the status of resident in Cuba.

In addition, Cuban residents who were out of the island on March 19, 2020, can still make a single entry into the country with an expired passport and without the updated extensions.

Another novelty to be taken into account by travelers is that Cuban passports issued — both on the island and in the consulates abroad — as of July 1, 2023, will be valid for ten years, a period in which it will not be necessary to extend them.

Nor will it be necessary to extend passports issued before that date (7/1/2023), which, however, will maintain their current expiration date. In this sense, the new measure is not retroactive, as confirmedby Ernesto Soberón, Foreign Ministry Director General of Consular Affairs and Cuban Residents Abroad.

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As of November 15, 2021, travelers who intend to visit the island, regardless of their nationality, residence or reason for travel, must fill out and present, with a maximum of 72 hours in advance, the D’Viajero form. It is a mandatory presentation document that collects advance information from those who travel with the aim of expediting entry into the country.

Among the data you must provide to customs through this form are your basic personal information (full name, passport number, nationality, among others), immigration information (country of origin, the purpose of travel, etc.), health (vaccination certificate, etc.) and customs (items and money imported into the country, number of companions, etc.).

The Cuban Ministry of Transportation published on its website the Manual D’Viajeros, where you can consult, in Spanish and English, quick information on what you can import to Cuba, what products are exempt from paying duties and what Customs prohibits, in addition, a summary of the main immigration and health measures to enter the country.

Regarding personal imports, it is important to know that the only items benefiting from the extraordinary exemption from payment of tariffs up to the time of writing this note are: medicines, food, toiletries and electric generators.

Said exemption will be in force until the end of June of this year, although the Cuban transnational community hopes that the measure will be renewed.

OnCuba proposes a summary of the main information on customs regulations for the personal import of household appliances, toiletries, medicines, food and electric vehicles, among other topics of interest to the transnational Cuban community.

Import of toiletries, food and medicines

(Video) Everything You Need To Know About Cuba (New Regulations)| Travel Tips & Tricks | How 2 Travelers

The Cuban Customs considers imports of a personal nature those that individuals “occasionally carry for their personal, family or household use, through luggage, shipments, household items or other authorized cargo.”

In Resolution 309 of July 15, 2021, Cuba announced the exemption from paying taxes for the non-commercial and unlimited import of food and toiletries (both are classified by customs as “miscellaneous”) and medicines into the country “via passengers as accompanied baggage.” These benefits will remain in force, at least for the moment, until June 30, 2023, according to Resolution 298/2022 issued by the Cuban Ministry of Finance and Prices.

The limit of items depends on the airlines used to travel to the island.

Decree Law 22/2020 establishes that the value of imports for miscellaneous items must not exceed 200 USD.

The unlimited import benefit only applies to travelers who bring toiletries, medicines and food to the island for non-commercial purposes and these must enter the country as part of their luggage, in original and properly packaged containers.

Among the foods allowed in accompanied luggage are: cereals, vegetable or animal oils, spices, preserves, dairy products, among others.

Among those prohibited, the Customs website lists fresh, frozen, or dehydrated meats, sausages, unpasteurized dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds and agricultural and forest products.

However, in September 2022 the National Center for Animal Health (CENASA) relaxed the sanitary regulations for importing fresh meat without commercial purposes. In this way, according to the announcement at that time (still in force), it is possible to import to the island the following foods that had been considered prohibited: fresh, frozen, dehydrated or salted meat, with or without bones; edible viscera; semi-processed meat products (hamburgers; mincemeat; meatballs; shaped like meat sticks, nuggets and other breaded products.

The only requirements for importing the mentioned foods are that their packaging is vacuum sealed and comes from eligible countries. The list of countries can be found here.

In the same way, Cuban Customs clarifies in the Manual D’Viajeros that it does not consider alcoholic beverages as “food,” which cannot be imported to the island under the benefit of the exemption of tariffs.

As for medicines, their unlimited and duty-free import is also temporarily maintained, and in addition to the items allowed for import those considered “medical supplies,” a category that includes, for example, sanitary masks, equipment for diagnosis and biosensors, among others.

Imported medicines must be in their original packages and passengers must submit a medical authorization or prescription to Customs, as well as declare in the D’Viajeros form those medicines that are considered “controlled,” such as some analgesics, for epilepsy and antidepressants, among others. Travelers who import medicines into the country for their own treatment should know that the amount allowed cannot exceed 30 days of treatment. You can find detailed information about the medications that require authorization or a medical certificate here.

The following substances are not allowed to be imported into the country: psychotropic or hallucinogenic substances, precursor substances, drugs and narcotics.

In the same way, it is allowed, although with the previous presentation of a medical authorization document, the importation into the country of prepared medicines that contain narcotic and/or psychotropic drugs.

Import of electric vehicles

(Video) How TO Fill Out The D'VIAJEROS Form When Traveling To Cuba! Globe Aware April 2023

Since March of this year, the import of electric vehicles or mopeds into Cuba by individuals has been authorized. Decree 83/2023 “On the transfer of ownership of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers, their commercialization and import” establishes that passengers traveling to Cuba may import, as part of their luggage, “up to two (2) items of the so-called mopeds or motorcycles, with or without sidecar, in both cases electric, as long as they do not have any additional cargo and passenger capacity.”

The decree adds that the number of vehicles allowed for import is reduced to one per individual when the import route is by shipment. In the same way, only one set of parts (which includes an electric motor and its accessories) per passenger is allowed to enter the country with the aim of converting combustion vehicles to electric ones. The reference values for the payment of tariffs for these vehicles and parts can be consulted in the aforementioned document.

The exclusive ways for importing these vehicles are: accompanied and unaccompanied luggage or shipments.

These items are subject to tax according to the valuation method established by customs. To consult the valuation methods that Cuban customs are empowered to consider, you can read here.

Import of electrical items and household appliances

In Annex I of Resolution 175/2022, the “Rules for non-commercial imports carried out by individuals” were established, as well as the “List of Reference Values,” in Annex II.

In the section dedicated to household appliances, it is specified that Customs accepts up to two household appliances of the same type “provided that the sum of their values does not exceed the limit established for the import of luggage, shipments or another operation to be carried out; as appropriate and in accordance with the provisions of Annex III.” The maximum limit allowed is $1000 USD.

Some of the household appliances allowed for import are irons, refrigerators, minibars, domestic dishwashers, electric stoves and burners (with and without oven), microwaves, rice cookers, sewing machines, electric shower, conventional and LCD, plasma and LED TV sets, among others. The full listing and reference values for each item are available here.

Other items such as construction materials, computer equipment, musical instruments and parts for permitted motor vehicles, which are part of the items to be imported that are subject to tariff rates, are collected and available for consultation in the same document.

Import via shipments

Regarding shipments (packages, courier or correspondence), one of the alternative ways of importing luggage accompanied by the traveler, according to Cuban Customs, decree law 22/2020 establishes that the value of the shipment must not exceed 200 USD. Through this modality, individuals can send miscellaneous goods (clothing, footwear, medicines, toiletries) and household appliances to the island that do not exceed the previous value.

The companies authorized to receive international parcels in the country are Aerovaradero S.A, Palco customs and freight forwarding agency, the international exchange and messaging agency of the Correos de Cuba business group, Transcargo and the Cubanacán express and Cubapac agencies.

Resolution 204/2022, a revision to the tariff rate for shipments, decreases the customs tax and increases the capacity to import shipments. According to an official communication made by the Cuban Customs on April 30, 2023 “in the first 30 USD, either in value or in its equivalent, which is 3 kg, they are exempt from payment. From USD 31 to USD 200, a 30% tax is applied (to the shipment).”

OnCuba Staff

Tags: cuban customs regulationsimportstravel to Cuba restrictions

(Video) D'VIAJEROS - How to fill out the Entry Form for CUBA


What are the import restrictions for Cuba? ›

Inbound travelers

In addition to their personal jewelry, cameras and other valuables, visitors are allowed to bring into Cuba, duty free, two bottles of liquor, one carton of cigarettes and up to 10 kilograms of medicine. Gifts up to a value of $250 US can also be brought in.

What needs to be declared at Cuba Customs? ›

Passengers are required to declare the total amount of money they carry IF IT EXCEEDS 5,000 USD or its equivalent in other currency, whether in cash or negotiable instruments. So, if you and your family members bring into Cuba LESS than $5,000 USD or its equivalent you DO NOT have to write anything in this section.

What items are prohibited to bring to Cuba? ›

What items are forbidden by customs in Cuba? Some articles that cannot be introduced in Cuba are: drugs and narcotics, explosive material, any kind of pornography, light-motor vehicles, endangered animal species, publications that could be deemed to be a threat to the general safety of the population.

Can you send care packages to Cuba? ›

Eligible gift parcels for Cuba may include any of the following: food (including vitamins); medicines; medical supplies and devices (including hospital supplies and equipment and equipment for the handicapped); receive-only radio equipment for reception of commercial/civil AM/FM and short wave publicly available ...

Can US citizens send packages to Cuba? ›

The types of mail that customers in the United States can send to Cuba include First-Class Mail International items, First-Class Package International Service items, Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes.

What is the import tax in Cuba? ›

The import tax charged on a shipment will be 20% on the full value of your items. For example, if the declared value of your items is 100 USD, in order for the recipient to receive a package, an additional amount of 20.00 USD in taxes will be required to be paid to the destination countries government.

How strict is Cuban customs? ›

Cuba has strict laws on the use, possession or trafficking of illegal drugs. Cuban courts tend to hand out severe penalties for those convicted of drugs-related offences. Pack all luggage yourself and don't carry items for anyone else. Cuba prohibits the import of all meat products and fruit.

What gets declared at customs? ›

Most countries require travellers to complete a customs declaration form when bringing notified goods (alcoholic drinks, tobacco products, animals, fresh food, plant material, seeds, soils, meats, and animal products) across international borders.

How do you know what to declare at customs? ›

What Must I Declare?
  1. Anything you bought (including from duty-free shops or on a ship or airplane)
  2. Anything you inherited or received as a gift (you'll have to estimate the fair market price of the gift)
  3. Anything you brought home for a friend.
  4. Anything you plan to use or sell in your business.

Are Cuban imports illegal? ›

Persons subject to United States jurisdiction may purchase or acquire goods of Cuban origin, including alcohol and tobacco products, while they are in a third country for personal consumption outside the United States.

How many checked bags can I take to Cuba? ›

Cuba. Each passenger traveling to Cuba may only check up to 2 bags* with a maximum weight of 70 lbs / 32 kgs per bag, plus 1 carry-on bag and 1 personal item.

How much baggage can you bring into Cuba? ›

Standard Baggage Allowance Regular Size 62 inches (length X width X height) NO BAG OF MORE THAN 23K WILL BE ACCEPTED
10 more rows

What is the best way to send a package to Cuba? ›

Fast Shipping to Cuba

Ship your packages via DHL Express or FedEx or USPS. Shipments will arrive to you within 1 to 3 business days depending on the carrier you choose.

Does FedEx send packages to Cuba? ›

Shipping & delivery

Learn how to schedule a FedEx delivery in Cuba, or hold your package for pickup at a nearby FedEx location.

How much does it cost to send a body to Cuba? ›

A burial in Miami is unlikely to cost less than $7,000. For a burial in Cuba, however, everything, including an obligatory embalming and shipping in a specially made, sealed coffin, comes to just $4,600.

What happens if a US citizen travels to Cuba? ›

It's perfectly legal for Americans to travel to Cuba, except for explicit tourism purposes. However, you will need to meet some requirements. Specifically, you need a Cuban Tourist Card (a.k.a Cuban Visa), travel insurance, and a self-certification under one of the 12 travel categories of authorized travel to Cuba.

Is Amazon available in Cuba? ›

Is Amazon Prime available in Cuba? Yes, Amazon Prime is available in Cuba.

Can you ship a container to Cuba? ›

We offer regularly scheduled services for full container load (FCL) shipments between Wilmington, North Carolina, and Jacksonville and Port Everglades, Florida, to Cuba, with four convenient sailings per month to the Port of Mariel.

What are Cuba's top 3 imports? ›

Cuba's main imports are machinery, food and fuel products, while its major exports are refined fuels, sugar, tobacco, nickel and pharmaceuticals.

How much will I pay in import tax? ›

Mailing and Shipping Goods - Customs Duty Guidance

Up to $1,600 in goods will be duty-free under your personal exemption if the merchandise is from an IP. Up to $800 in goods will be duty-free if it is from a CBI or Andean country. Any additional amount, up to $1,000, in goods will be dutiable at a flat rate (3%).

What are 3 imports in Cuba? ›

Among the most important imports are mineral fuels and lubricants, foods, machinery and transport equipment, and chemicals. Cuba's main trading partners include Venezuela, China, Spain, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and the Netherlands.

Are Cubans allowed to box professionally? ›

Cuba is the only country that has two three-time Olympic Champions: Teofilo Stevenson and Félix Savón. The ban on professional boxing was lifted in April 2022.

Is there petty theft in Cuba? ›

Petty crime in Cuba

Most of the crimes committed in Cuba are theft related and are typically non-violent in nature. Two of the most common are pickpocketing and purse snatching, which as in most cases, tend to occur in more crowded or touristy areas.

What are the 12 requirements to travel to Cuba? ›

The 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba are: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, ...

Do customs check every package? ›

Shipments will typically be inspected by customs to ensure that the contents match what is being declared and the value of the goods is also declared correctly. There's not much you can do to speed up these customs inspections so it's often the best idea to wait.

How does customs know what's in your package? ›

Do customs open every package to verify information? No, customs officers will not open up your package or packages without good reason. Every package is put through a scanner machine, or an x-ray machine, to verify that the items you are shipping match your customs forms.

What happens if you don't declare anything at customs? ›

If you do not declare, or do not declare correctly, your expose yourself to measures such as the temporary detention of the cash carried, and/or a penalty.

What does customs check for? ›

Customs is the authority in the respective country you enter that is responsible for controlling the flow of goods, including animals, transports, foods, personal effects, and hazardous items, into and out of a country.

How much money do you have to report to customs? ›

You may bring large sums of money with you in the form of cash, money order, or traveler's checks. There is no maximum limit, however, any amount exceeding $10,000 USD must be declared upon arrival on both the Form 6059B and FinCEN 105. All forms must be filled in completely and truthfully.

How do I know if I have to go through customs? ›

When do you go through customs on international flights? Usually, you go through customs when you exit the airport at your final destination. However, if you have a layover in a different city in your destination country, you may need to go through customs before your connecting flight.

What is the Cuban law in the US? ›

Cuban Adjustment Act, U.S. federal law (November 2, 1966) that was enacted with the intent of allowing Cuban natives or citizens in the United States to bypass standard immigration rules to more quickly and easily obtain lawful permanent residency (often called a “green card”).

Why can't you buy things from Cuba? ›

Due to the U.S. sanctioned embargo, the U.S. government routinely confiscates goods purchased in Cuba, which are of Cuban origin. The only exception to this regulation is informational materials such as books, films, artwork, posters, photographs and CDs.

Does Cuba import anything from the US? ›

View data table. Cuba imports up to 80 percent of its food each year, and nearly all of its imports from the U.S. are foodstuffs, particularly poultry, corn and soybean products.

How long does customs take in Cuba? ›

Maybe 10-15 minutes to clear customs and a few minutes to retrieve the bags.

How many phones can I bring to Cuba? ›

You are allowed 2 of the same electronic items for importation. And you would have to pay duty if they find out you are importing the phone (meaning they are not for your personal use).

What items are not allowed in checked baggage? ›

Items that are not allowed in checked luggage
  • Aerosols (in most cases) ...
  • Any device containing lithium metal or lithium-ion batteries. ...
  • Bug spray. ...
  • Christmas crackers. ...
  • Compressed gases. ...
  • Corrosive or oxidizing chemicals. ...
  • Cremated remains. ...
  • Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacons.
Jul 26, 2022

Should I bring US dollars to Cuba? ›

Which Currency Should I Bring to Cuba. Euros (EUR) and US Dollars (USD) are the best currencies to bring to Cuba in the areas where our tours visit. These are the most widely accepted by locals therefore they can be used to pay directly to businesses or to exchange for CUP.

How much cash do I need for Cuba? ›

How Much Money Do You Need in Cuba? Generally, you can expect to spend 40 – 120 USD per day in Cuba, excluding flight tickets and accommodations.

How much duty free can I bring to Cuba? ›

- A portable television set, - A portable personal computer, -Articles for transportation, entertainment, food and childcare, according to age. -Up to an amount that does not exceed, per adult, 400 units of cigarettes; 500 grams of pipe tobacco; 50 units of cigars and 2,500 cubic centimeters of alcoholic beverages.

Does DHL send packages to Cuba? ›

Of course, DHL Express remains committed to all your non-prohibited shipping requirements to and from Sudan and Cuba. We do, however, follow a strict security procedure for these shipments: For each and every shipment going to Sudan and Cuba, the shipper will need to sign a 'Sanctions Warranty and Indemnity Letter'.

Can you ship a car to Cuba? ›


Container shipping is the most common alternative to RORO to ship a car to Cuba. Shipping your vehicle by container remains the safest form of international transport as your cargo is enclosed during all the shipping process. If you are shipping a luxury car, container shipping is the perfect option.

Can I bring a TV to Cuba? ›

Yes you can, but be prepared to pay duty on it though. Happiernowkim58, to avoid paying duty (100% of the value I believe) it would be cheaper for you to buy the 32" flat screen TV in Cuba. Speaking of paying duty, SWNova, do you know what total value of merchandise is exempt from paying duty when brought into Cuba?

What can I import into Cuba? ›

Inbound travelers

In addition to their personal jewelry, cameras and other valuables, visitors are allowed to bring into Cuba, duty free, two bottles of liquor, one carton of cigarettes and up to 10 kilograms of medicine. Gifts up to a value of $250 US can also be brought in.

Which is better DHL or FedEx for international shipping? ›

If shipping internationally, DHL is typically a cheaper delivery company. If shipping internationally, DHL has faster delivery times. If shipping domestically, FedEx shipping options are typically cheaper. If shipping domestically, FedEx shipping options are typically faster.

What goods are imported to Cuba? ›

Cuba mainly imports food, cereals, fuel, diesel engines, vehicles, motor parts and vegetable oils. Cuba's main imports partners are Venezuela, China, Spain, Brazil, the United States, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Germany, Vietnam and Russia.

Can I send a package to Cuba from USA? ›

A variety of household and durable goods can be shipped to Cuba, as well as items for repatriation purposes. Additionally, it is possible to order online purchases for delivery through reputable shipping companies.

Can I send gifts to Cuba? ›

Cubans warmly welcome gifts, however small. Everything you contribute is an overture of friendship – and a great ice-breaker. Cubans lack many basic items we in North America take for granted.

Are Cuban imports still illegal? ›

The trade of Cuban Cigars is illegal in the United States. However, its legality issues have less to do with the toxicity of the product and are geared more towards the political conflicts between the United States and Cuba.

Why can't Cuba import cars? ›

After the Cuban Revolution, the U.S. embargo was erected and Castro banned the importation of American cars and mechanical parts. That's why Cuba is the way it is today—essentially a living museum for classic cars. The old American autos are often kept running with parts and pieces that were never intended for them.

What are 3 major imports of Cuba? ›

Cuba's main imports are machinery, food and fuel products, while its major exports are refined fuels, sugar, tobacco, nickel and pharmaceuticals.

Why are Cuban imports illegal? ›

The embargo was established under John F. Kennedy's leadership, and it put a stop to all imports from Cuba. This was done as a way of taking a stand against Fidel Castro's Communist regime and attempting to weaken his power during the Cold War. Sixty years on, and the embargo remains in place.

Is Cuba open for tourism right now? ›

Cuba is open for all travellers.

What can US citizens bring back from Cuba? ›

Paintings, wooden sculptures, coconut sculptures, and ceramics made by local artists are lovely souvenirs to bring back from Cuba to friends and family. These handmade items are a wonderful way to display and share memories of your trip.

Why are there so many nice old cars in Cuba? ›

The reason behind this abundance of old-fashioned cars was due to the U.S. embargo in 1962, which prohibits any exportation and importation or commerce between the U.S. and Cuba, including cars.

What is the most popular car in Cuba? ›

The most common car you'll see on the island is a Russian-made Lada. These tough, boxy cars represent Cuba's affection for and alliance with the Soviets during the Cold War. Even today the same cars dominate and Ladas are the old standby.

Why do they only have old cars in Cuba? ›

The 1959 Cuban Revolution and Import Embargo

As old friends became foes, Fidel Castro placed an embargo on the US and foreign imports, which meant that no American cars were exported to the island. The embargo even extended to include car parts, which had serious implications for Cuban car owners.

Who is Cuba's largest trading partner? ›

Foreign investment and trade

This trend can be seen in other colonial Caribbean communities with direct political ties with the global economy. Cuba's primary import partner is Venezuela. The second-largest trade partner is Canada, with a 22% share of the Cuban export market.

What are the most exported goods in Cuba? ›

Cuba mainly exports nickel, cane sugar, cigars, fuel, beverages, metallic ores, fish, cement, oil and thyroid extract. Cuba's main exports partners are Venezuela, China, Canada, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, France, Ivory Coast, Brazil, Russia and Italy..

What product is Cuba extremely well known for? ›

Cigars are a famous Cuban product worldwide and almost the whole production is exported. The center of Cuban tobacco production is the Pinar del Río Province. Tobacco is the third largest source of hard currency for Cuba.

Are Cuban imports legal in the US? ›

Persons subject to United States jurisdiction may purchase or acquire goods of Cuban origin, including alcohol and tobacco products, while they are in a third country for personal consumption outside the United States.

What happens if you get caught with a Cuban cigar? ›

Contrary to popular belief it is illegal for a U.S. citizen to purchase Cuban cigars anywhere in the world, not just home soil. Penalties for being caught with Cuban cigars are confiscation and fines, although punishments can be more severe if the quantities are high enough.

Can I bring Cuban cigars back? ›

However, it became legal to bring back up to 100 Cuban cigars into the US—that's about four boxes—as long as they were for your personal use and not for resale.


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