US Allows Cuban Cigars and Rum


This past Friday, the US Government took the next step to opening relations with the island nation of Cuba. Starting immediately, US citizens will be allowed to return from trips abroad to the US with unlimited quantities of Cuban Cigars and Rum, regardless of what country they were purchased. Of course the same duty rules apply to the import of Cuban products as does any other nation product that is, you are allowed to bring in $800.00 of products duty free.

For Cigars:

A traveler may include up to 100 cigars and 200 cigarettes in the $800 exemption from duty

Additional cigars and cigarettes may be brought into the country, but they will be subject to duty and Federal excise taxes. Cigarettes may also be subject to Federal excise tax.  Rates may be viewed by visiting the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).  Note: Federal excise tax rates are for informational purposes only and actual tax or fee may vary according to a person’s circumstances.

For Rum:

There is no federal limit on the amount of alcohol someone may import into the U.S. for personal use, however, large quantities might raise the suspicion that the importation is for commercial purposes, and a CBP Officer could require you to obtain anAlcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) import license before releasing it.

Duty rates on alcoholic beverages are based on the percent of alcohol per liter in the product – not on units of packaging such as per bottle/case. Duty on wine and beer is generally low, $1-2 per liter, while fortified wines and spirits are considerably higher. Duty rates can be obtained in Chapter 22 “Beverages, Spirits and Vinegar,” in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule.

Federal IRS Excise tax is also collected.

Cuban Cigars Sold in US

Now even though you can travel abroad and return with a stash of Cuban cigars, the sale of Cuban cigars is still prohibited in the US. If and when, the US decides to allow merchants to sell them here in the states, they will be subject to the same FDA regulations as any other cigar marketed in the US. This would require the Cuban manufacturers and brand owners to submit their blends and vitolas to the United States FDA for approval. This of course would fall under the category of a new cigar since they were not on US shelves prior to August 8th, 2016, when the regulations took effect.

Online Sales

The rules still prohibit the online sales of Cuban Cigars to the US.


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