CUBAN IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS
Arriving in Cuba
After leaving the airplane, proceed to Immigration Control where you will see several booths. Only one person may approach a booth at a time. The Immigration Officer in the booth will check your passport and Cuban Tourist Card (Visa), and may ask a few basic questions such as “Is this your first time in Cuba?”, “What is the purpose of your trip?”, or “What do you do for a living?”. You will then be asked to step back, remove any hat or glasses you are wearing, and look at the camera while your photograph is taken. The Immigration Officer will either stamp one half of your Tourist Card and return only that half, or stamp one half and return the Card with both halves intact. If the latter, do not separate the halves from one another! You will be required to return the Card intact when exiting Cuba. Losing the Card or separating the halves may prevent you from leaving the country as scheduled. After the Immigration procedures are completed, exit the booth and proceed to the Security checkpoint where your belongings will be put through an X-ray machine and you will pass through a metal detector. Behind the scenes every checked bag is also put through an X-ray machine as well as screened by security dogs, so it is common to experience wait times of 1-3 hours at the carousels. Capturing Cuba requests that participants do not check any items and travel only with carry-on bags. Doing so will be more convenient and also allow for roomier, more comfortable travels between cities. When ready to exit the airport, hand your Health Form to one of the nurses sitting at the tables. The Health Form is a white piece of paper that you should have received and completed aboard your arrival flight. If you have nothing to declare then head towards the exit. There you will encounter a Customs Officer who will collect the Custom Declaration Form that you should have also received and completed on the airplane. The Officer will check to see if any of your bags were marked for a manual search. Once cleared, you may exit the building.
Prohibited Import Items
- Illegal drugs
- Weapons such as firearms and munitions, sharp instruments, or any other object that can be considered a weapon
- GPS or other satellite communication equipment (smart phones are permitted)
- Other communication equipment (e.g. walkie-talkies, 2-way radios)
- Live animals, products of animal or plant origin
- Samples or other items with trade purposes
- Works of art and museum pieces
- Cash in excess of USD $5,000 or its equivalent in other currencies must be declared on the Customs Declaration form
Note: The penalties for entering Cuba with illegal drugs or weapons can be severe!
Arrive at the airport 3 hours prior to departure. After you've checked in and received your boarding pass, proceed to the Passport Control booth to clear Immigration. The Customs Officer in the booth will ask for your passport, Tourist Card, and boarding pass. The Officer will then stamp your passport, return it with your boarding pass, and unlock the door. Proceed to the security checkpoint. Once cleared, you can exit the screening area and proceed to the Departure Gate Lounge. When your flight is called, they will check your boarding pass at the Gate. In airports with no jet-bridges, you’ll be asked to show your boarding pass again before ascending the airstairs to board the aircraft.
Prohibited Export Items
- Departing the country with the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) in any denomination is prohibited
- Travelers may export up to $5,000 USD or its equivalent in other currencies without having make a declaration
- Up to 20 units units of bulk cigars may be exported without submitting any documentation
- Up to 50 units of cigars may but they must come in their original package, unopened, and sealed with the official established hologram