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Transiting the US with Cuban rum?

Transiting the US with Cuban rum?

Old Oct 27, 14, 2:57 pm
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Transiting the US with Cuban rum?

Hey together,

the title already says it - I just returned from a trip to Cuba, and am currently on Grand Cayman waiting for my flight back to London tomorrow. Will go through the USA though as that was much cheaper. Now I am wondering - I have bought some Cuban rum and was planning to ship it to London as I am not sure about the regulations to transit the US with Cuban goods (as a non-US citizen), but that seems not to be possible. A nice lady in a liquor store told me though that I can transit the US without problems with any Cuban goods, but I am a bit sceptical. Can anybody shed some light?
In case it matters, I fly into MIA, then onwards to LGA, change airport to EWR, but all of that within 24 hours. What are the regulations on this?

Thanks a lot everybody!
Sebastian
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Old Oct 27, 14, 3:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Ratatoskr View Post
Hey together,

the title already says it - I just returned from a trip to Cuba, and am currently on Grand Cayman waiting for my flight back to London tomorrow. Will go through the USA though as that was much cheaper. Now I am wondering - I have bought some Cuban rum and was planning to ship it to London as I am not sure about the regulations to transit the US with Cuban goods (as a non-US citizen), but that seems not to be possible. A nice lady in a liquor store told me though that I can transit the US without problems with any Cuban goods, but I am a bit sceptical. Can anybody shed some light?
In case it matters, I fly into MIA, then onwards to LGA, change airport to EWR, but all of that within 24 hours. What are the regulations on this?

Thanks a lot everybody!
Sebastian
U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Policies on importing goods from Cuba page says "It is illegal to import most goods from Cuba." Their page on transiting with Cuban cigars puts it very clearly: "foreign nationals may not transit the U.S. with goods of Cuban origin." Note that although the page's title mentions cigars, the prohibition seems to cover everything. Sorry.
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Old Oct 27, 14, 3:32 pm
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Liquids over 3 ounces have to go in checked bags. Is X-ray technology so good nowadays that it can read fine print on labels? :-)
Was your passport stamped in Cuba?
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Old Oct 27, 14, 6:57 pm
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Yes the passport was stamped, and even if it hadn't been I'd rather have not lied to the immigration officers. Seems to be weird as the Customs Declaration (which for complicated reasons I have already lying in front of me for the flight tomorrow) only states "Visitors (Non-Residents) - Declare the value of all articles that will remain in the United States". But the rules seem to be clear.
I am aware that I could just put the bottles into my bag and if I'm not asked for them would probably have no problems (then again, if asked, I'd tell the truth). Given that I will have Cuba listed as a country visited on this trip questions might well be asked.
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Old Oct 29, 14, 12:41 pm
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Just declare the bottle of rum as a bottle of rum (not a bottle of cuban rum) on your customs declaration.

Worst case, it's confiscated - best case, no questions, and continue on your way.
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Old Oct 29, 14, 12:49 pm
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Originally Posted by mkt View Post
Just declare the bottle of rum as a bottle of rum (not a bottle of cuban rum) on your customs declaration.

Worst case, it's confiscated - best case, no questions, and continue on your way.
This looks like good advice to me, though I guess it depends how much you value the rum. If you want to be 100% certain it will make it home, you should ship it so it doesn't transit the US. It will end up being an extremely expensive bottle of rum though.
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Old Oct 29, 14, 12:57 pm
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Policies on importing goods from Cuba page says "It is illegal to import most goods from Cuba." Their page on transiting with Cuban cigars puts it very clearly: "foreign nationals may not transit the U.S. with goods of Cuban origin." Note that although the page's title mentions cigars, the prohibition seems to cover everything. Sorry.
To be clear, when they say Cuban origin, that is exactly what they mean. If you bought a bottle of Cuban rum in Europe (never having been to Cuba), it would still be subject to confiscation upon entry to the US. It is the origin that counts, not where you bought it.
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Old Jan 27, 15, 8:41 am
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Originally Posted by You want to go where? View Post
To be clear, when they say Cuban origin, that is exactly what they mean. If you bought a bottle of Cuban rum in Europe (never having been to Cuba), it would still be subject to confiscation upon entry to the US. It is the origin that counts, not where you bought it.
I would consider this to be a repressive form of government - especially when the understanding is that the owners of the goods are in transit (which I understand to be IN BOND). Sigh, the US concept of "freedom of association" is beyond my understanding...
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Old Jan 28, 15, 7:47 pm
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
This looks like good advice to me, though I guess it depends how much you value the rum. If you want to be 100% certain it will make it home, you should ship it so it doesn't transit the US. It will end up being an extremely expensive bottle of rum though.
One barrier is the USPS and Cuba have no postal accords, so the goods would have to be shipped via a third country.

Bring it in your baggage, declare 750 ml of rum, don't lie if you are asked if it's Cuban or if you've been to Cuba, and it might get through. Or not, as things are presently (they might change soon, or they may be stymied by Pres. Castro's demands in San José, Costa Rica today the US must end the embargo and give back Guantánamo Bay).

Here are the latest requirements under US Treasury: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-cen...a_faqs_new.pdf

Last edited by JDiver; Jan 29, 15 at 8:34 pm
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