Limits Slashed On Cuban Cigars

Oct 14, 2016 | By Gregory Mottola
Limits Slashed On Cuban Cigars
Photo/Angus McRitchie

Get ready to pack your bags and suitcases with Cuban cigars and rum. The U.S. Treasury Department announced today that it has removed the previous limits on bringing Cuban cigars and Cuban rum back into the United States from any country in the world, Cuba or otherwise. This means the $100 limit instituted two years ago is no more.

So long as the cigars are brought back in personal baggage and are intended for personal consumption, U.S. Customs will let your Cuban cigars through. This means that the deceptive days of removing bands, hiding cigars in your dirty laundry and lying to customs officers are officially over, effective Monday, October 17.

This applies only to cigars and rum you will either enjoy yourself, or give to another individual. The Office of Foreign Assets Control stresses that resale of Cuban cigars, distribution or commerce of any kind are still illegal, as the trade embargo remains in effect. OFAC does, however, consider giving a cigar or a bottle of rum to another individual to fall under personal use, so long as there is no payment.

The new law is applicable only to travelers. Mail order and Internet orders for Cuban cigars and rum are still prohibited.

And while the new ease in restrictions means that the number of personal cigars is technically unlimited, there is still an amount of duty that will have to be paid after a certain quantity is exceeded. OFAC's website points to an $800 exemption of duty every 31 days, and stresses duty-free limits of 100 cigars. According to OFAC's website: "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." Excess amounts are subject to a 4 percent flat rate of duty.

This easing of restrictions opens up the entire world of Cuban cigar retail to U.S. enthusiasts travelling abroad. American citizens who go to Cuba, London, Dubai, Hong Kong or Switzerland, for example, will now be allowed to come home with Cohibas, Montecristos and other Cuban cigars, as well as bottles of Havana Club, Santiago and other fine Cuban rums.

This is a major step in normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba. In December 2014, the Obama administration allowed U.S. citizens returning from Cuba to bring back no more that $100 worth of Cuban cigars and rum. That concession was made after years of complete prohibition of any Cuban cigars or spirits.

Today's new legislation was put in place to "to further engage and empower the Cuban people and promote political, social, and economic reform in Cuba," said the U.S. Treasury in an official statement.

Related links:

- Major Changes to U.S.-Cuba Relations

- After 55 Years, Flights to Cuba Resume

- Carnival Cruise Ship Carrying U.S. Passengers Arrives In    Havana

- Starwood Hotels Expanding To Cuba

"Timothy Hodge, Check out Customs House Cigars at 126 Queen Street in Niagara on the Lake. The owner is a true brother of the leaf. He smokes what he sells and will talk cigars all day if you have the time. His website has all the details. NOTL is a nice walkable little town with good restaurants a short drive from Niagara. I could not find any good cigar shops in Niagara itself. " —October 26, 2016 20:32 PM
"Timothy, Make your way over to Niagara on the Lake and visit Customs House Cigars at 126 Queen Street. The owner is a true brother of the leaf who smokes what he sells and will talk cigars all day. NOTL is a great little town to stop for lunch and walk around. I did not find anything good in Niagara proper. " —October 26, 2016 08:29 AM
"10/25/16, that's nice you can now bring back Cuban products. Just how good they'll be just b/c they're Cuban remains 2b seen. Once this novelty wears off--& it will, you strike a balance b/w cost/quality. I still hate BHO 2 my very core." —October 25, 2016 21:27 PM
"One question, who decides on how much the cigars are worth? There was a box of 100 Cubans in duty free in Bahrain that retailed for 27,000 USD. This included a hand made humidor, but do you just declare what the smokes are worth and they believe you? Dubai has similar sales. " —October 25, 2016 18:34 PM
"The Windsor La Casa Del Habano is the ONLY place I would buy cigars in Windsor. Great people, great atmosphere, and you can be assured that you are getting the real deal and not a counterfeit cigar. La Casa Del Habano stores are the direct line of retailers from Cuba and have strict standards for their franchises. I travel the world often, and I buy all my cigars from their stores." —October 21, 2016 14:47 PM
" Cigar tobacco is tobacco which is more tasty and melt shop as the best in the world." —October 21, 2016 09:34 AM
"If you are going to Windsor from Detroit to purchase there is a La Casa Del Habano store just past the tunnel, first street make a right, 358 Ouellette Ave, Windsor, ON N9A 4J1, Canada Phone: +1 519-254-0017 Ask for Ray, he is great. Prices are pretty steep due to Canadian taxes, but they are legit Cubans and folks who work in store are great. Planning on making another trip over the boarder this weekend. LBO stores also sell Cuban Rum. " —October 18, 2016 15:11 PM
"This is certainly exciting news! Any suggestions for a reputable retailer in the Niagra, ON area? From what I understand the region is loaded with counterfeits. " —October 17, 2016 14:45 PM
"Alan, online purchases are still prohibited in the U.S. " —October 17, 2016 09:47 AM
"Are "Online" purchases still prohibited in the U.S.?" —October 15, 2016 17:21 PM
"Well played! Obviously, Obama recognizes the need for Americans to get more lithium in their diets." —October 15, 2016 14:39 PM
"A day trip to Windsor to LCDH is in the future! Be warned that Canadian tobacco taxes are very steep. Alberta retailers would be a reasonable choice...with lower taxes. Hopefully with a drop of the embargo, a weekend trip to Havana can be a bit sweeter. Traveled back from Cuba last year and customs didn't seem to be too interested in how many stories I returned with, so things are definitely looking up." —October 15, 2016 14:08 PM
"Wonderful news Greg! I'll be there in February!" —October 15, 2016 07:29 AM
"Comme to Andorra - Great skiing and the cheapest cuban cigars in Europe.... " —October 15, 2016 04:54 AM
"I'll be sure to pester any friends who are going to Cuba or anywhere else that has Cuban cigars!" —October 14, 2016 19:04 PM
"M H in Bellingham: Just keep mail ordering. Much cheaper." —October 14, 2016 18:06 PM
"Great, now I can go to Canada and buy $30 coronas." —October 14, 2016 17:14 PM
"all fine and well... will these cigars have to meet the new FDA regulations? " —October 14, 2016 16:12 PM
"It would be even better news if the wholesale industry could play also ! Bet it would add a little spark to sales at my stores if I had Cuban cigars on the shelf. This could even hurt my sales since you can get $ 800.00 worth from only outside the U.S. with no domestic outlets ,and that's by U.S. law ! " —October 14, 2016 15:48 PM
"Unfortunately, Trump has vowed to roll back the travel restrictions and cigar limits." —October 14, 2016 15:45 PM
"Thank you President Obama!" —October 14, 2016 14:55 PM
"Dan, this just puts Cuba on a level playing field with other countries for travelers. Same quantity rules are already in effect for importing from any other country. There are no "draconian restrictions" targeted at other countries.,-cigars,-bidis)-to-the-u.s.-for" —October 14, 2016 14:44 PM
"Yes, you traveled across a border. You can buy 100 Cuban cigars every 31 days and be exempt from paying duties/taxes. Any more and additional taxes of 4% is added. " —October 14, 2016 14:02 PM
"Isn't it ironic that our government has placed draconian restrictions on cigars made in countries like Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and even the United States, but will allow a very generous number of cigars to be brought into the US by people traveling to and from Cuba? So much for the concept of "freedom" when we cozy up to a Communist country and eschew our one-time friends in the rest of the cigar manufacturing world." —October 14, 2016 13:58 PM
"100 cigars? That's twice what we Canadians can bring back!" —October 14, 2016 13:56 PM
"Yes, previously foreign passengers were prohibited from importing Cuban-origin tobacco and alcohol. OFAC has removed this restriction. You can come to the U.S. with Cuban cigars (and rum) if you’re a foreign passenger, so long as the goods are not in “commercial quantities” and not for resale. " —October 14, 2016 13:55 PM
"Question for the wonderful folks at CA, or another knowledgeable resource: Does this new ruling apply only to US Citizens traveling abroad? Or could someone from say London travel to the US and also bring Cuban cigars in for personal consumption?" —October 14, 2016 13:50 PM
"long overdue...just like re-establishing relations between US & Cuba. " —October 14, 2016 13:48 PM
"I live near the Canadian border - does this mean I can bring them back when I cross back at will ? " —October 14, 2016 13:19 PM

More in Cuba

See all
More Cuban Cigars Coming From Habanos S.A.

More Cuban Cigars Coming From Habanos S.A.

In addition to the major releases announced by Cuba’s cigar industry during the Habanos festival, …

Mar 17, 2023
Habanos Festival Concludes With $4.4 Million Cohiba Humidor

Habanos Festival Concludes With $4.4 Million Cohiba Humidor

Last week, previous records were shattered when a Cohiba humidor sold at auction for 4.2 million …

Mar 8, 2023
Western Union Reopens Remittance Services To Cuba

Western Union Reopens Remittance Services To Cuba

Western Union, one of the leading international money transfer companies, has fully restored its …

Mar 7, 2023
A New Bolivar Made Exclusively For Casa Del Habano Shops

A New Bolivar Made Exclusively For Casa Del Habano Shops

The Cuban Bolivar Gold Medal is back, but this time it’s a little thicker and a little snazzier than …

Mar 3, 2023
Cuba Introduces Partagás Línea Maestra

Cuba Introduces Partagás Línea Maestra

As Cohiba has the Behike line and Romeo y Julieta has the Línea de Oro, Partagás now has the Línea …

Mar 2, 2023
Cuba Adds Size To Montecristo Open Line

Cuba Adds Size To Montecristo Open Line

Montecristo Open, a subset of Cuba’s famed Montecristo brand, just got a new size.

Feb 28, 2023