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3 hours ago, Cohiba007 said:

This is the only reason that I’m brining my wife with me in May.  100 more cigars 

Wait, is the rule 100 cigars per person? So if I go on a trip with 3 people and I buy 400 cigars, I can give them each 100 cigars to claim as their own and keep the last 100 to pass through customs I'll be fine?

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16 minutes ago, CubanAmerican said:

Wait, is the rule 100 cigars per person? So if I go on a trip with 3 people and I buy 400 cigars, I can give them each 100 cigars to claim as their own and keep the last 100 to pass through customs I'll be fine?

Your math skills will serve you well. 100 cigars each. If asked, they need to state that the cigars are for their own personal use.

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31 minutes ago, CubanAmerican said:

Wait, is the rule 100 cigars per person? So if I go on a trip with 3 people and I buy 400 cigars, I can give them each 100 cigars to claim as their own and keep the last 100 to pass through customs I'll be fine?

No, it is a 100 per household actually.  All limits on things like this are by the household, which is why you are given the option to only use one declaration form if you are traveling with your spouse.  

Now if you two decided to go to two different agents and act as two independents I can't see how they would figure it out right then and there, but who knows.  

Anyway, this is all good info to have.  Next time I am in Cuba I will plan on searching out only the prized boxes, like Sir Winstons and Behikes.  Otherwise, I'd rather buy from our host anyway.  

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58 minutes ago, Kitchen said:

No, it is a 100 per household actually.  All limits on things like this are by the household, which is why you are given the option to only use one declaration form if you are traveling with your spouse.  

Now if you two decided to go to two different agents and act as two independents I can't see how they would figure it out right then and there, but who knows.  

Anyway, this is all good info to have.  Next time I am in Cuba I will plan on searching out only the prized boxes, like Sir Winstons and Behikes.  Otherwise, I'd rather buy from our host anyway.  

Interesting note, they asked me who I was traveling with. I was with a good friend and my son, both were carrying cigars. They wanted my son but he cleared customs before I did.

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OP, that’s heartbreaking. Be careful, you may now be permanently flagged. Every time you return, you could very likely be harassed.

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OP so sorry for you brother. There's not much any of us can say to console you. I came thru Newark last November and declared nothing cause I want going to say it was more than $800 each. (I traveled with my wife) I was asked at customs, nothing to declare. I said nothing above the threshold of $800 each. What do you have? Cigars and rum. How many cigars? I said about 200. It was closer to 375 give or take. Welcome home she said. I was still very nervous about it and now your story has me even more paranoid. 

The part that really bothers me is how little our customs agents even know about the rules. You can get one story from one guy and a completely different interpretation by another gal. I just want a little consistency and maybe a little common knowledge across the board so that I'm not guessing every time I'm dealing with a different agent. It's a real shame. I don't want to add salt to the wound but do you have an estimated loss $$$ amount? And were the lost cigars customs or reg production? 

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20 hours ago, Burningman said:

Horror stories like this make me think it may be better to drive down to Mexico and go to Cuba on a Mexican airline and then bring my cigars back via the port of entry in Tijuana or Mexicali.

Does anyone have experience visiting Cuba by way of Mexico? Is it a practical idea for those of us near the US/Mexico border?

I do not recommend doing this. Mexican customs only allow 25 cigars per person. Anything over 25 is subject to confiscation or a 375% tax. I learned this the hard way last summer when I hopped over to Havana for a day of cigar shopping while vacationing in Cancun. Long story short, I got to keep all my cigars, but it cost me over $700 in taxes. 

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29 minutes ago, ElJavi76 said:

OP so sorry for you brother. There's not much any of us can say to console you. I came thru Newark last November and declared nothing cause I want going to say it was more than $800 each. (I traveled with my wife) I was asked at customs, nothing to declare. I said nothing above the threshold of $800 each. What do you have? Cigars and rum. How many cigars? I said about 200. It was closer to 375 give or take. Welcome home she said. I was still very nervous about it and now your story has me even more paranoid. 

may i suggest, not just to yourself but to all, that putting in print that you lied to customs may not be the wisest thing one could do. 

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36 minutes ago, El Presidente said:

I lie to customs every time I enter the country.  I suspect half those entering the country do the same.  That is the reason every country has a border protection show featuring uniformed SS berating tourists who speak little english for bringing in packet noodles or a carton of cigarettes. Do any of them know they may end up on TV? 

I came back from HK with 30 cigars.  Did I declare? of course not. I lied.  50 gm is a stupid law. It encourages civil disobedience. 

Let them come after me! 

Ken

i might not disagree with your sentiments (indeed, i think that these, amongst many of our laws, are ridiculously stupid) but posting, on a forum which focuses on a (granted legal) contentious product which you know the government is anti, that you are lying to that govt and that you have filled out a false declaration, is probably not clever, given one suspects that govts can probably identify the alleged miscreants reasonably easily. 

and no disrespect, but you/others wanting to make money and/or smoke cigars does not make you gandhi (he was better dressed). 

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I've found that it is agent by agent on how the rules are enforced. Whether they were in a bad mood, amongst a thousand other factors plays into the equation and most of the time we are not aware of all the factors in play. Last time I came back from Europe I was completely honest about the somewhat absurd amount of wine we brought back along with the pile of beer and all the agent said was welcome home, no questions, no check, no nothing. Arbitrary at best, at least in the states.

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28 minutes ago, FireMedic said:

I've found that it is agent by agent on how the rules are enforced. Whether they were in a bad mood, amongst a thousand other factors plays into the equation and most of the time we are not aware of all the factors in play. Last time I came back from Europe I was completely honest about the somewhat absurd amount of wine we brought back along with the pile of beer and all the agent said was welcome home, no questions, no check, no nothing. Arbitrary at best, at least in the states.

I have to agree there. When I entered the US in October last year, both Immigration and Customs agents were pleasant and almost jovial. Then when I came back through from Cuba via Panama, every agent was quite snarky.

I still remember the time I arrived back home from Malaysia, carrying a small backpack (left my luggage in Malaysia as I was going back in 3 weeks). A wispy white old Customs agent was checking declaration cards and passports. He looked at my Australian passport, looked at my declaration (I had nothing to declare), looked at me, did a back and forth several times, then asked, "So what is your purpose for visiting Australia?". :wacko:

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2 minutes ago, Fuzz said:

I have to agree there. When I entered the US in October last year, both Immigration and Customs agents were pleasant and almost jovial. Then when I came back through from Cuba via Panama, every agent was quite snarky.

I still remember the time I arrived back home from Malaysia, carrying a small backpack (left my luggage in Malaysia as I was going back in 3 weeks). A wispy white old Customs agent was checking declaration cards and passports. He looked at my Australian passport, looked at my declaration (I had nothing to declare), looked at me, did a back and forth several times, then asked, "So what is your purpose for visiting Australia?". :wacko:

Absolutely perfect example haha

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On 3/12/2019 at 11:42 PM, kevpro said:

I agree that a customs agent has the authority to determine what is and isn’t for “personal use” although they should have gone about it much more professionally in this case. 

This.

What is considered personal is up to the discretion of the CBP officer or supervisor. It can be zero cigars if he or she has even a reasonable suspicion that none of them are exclusively for personal use.

Personally, I could understand an officer balking at 10+ boxes. I would never attempt to bring that many through. Looks like a lot to a layman. 

That being said, it certainly does seem that they conducted themselves in a less than professional manner and were somewhat unclear about why exactly they were seizing your cigars. I think you certainly have grounds for a formal complaint regarding the lack of seizure receipt and CBP behavior. Technically, those cigars should have been formally impounded and you should have an opportunity to appeal the seizure and reclaim your cigars if proof of personal use can be reasonably demonstrated.

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21 hours ago, Homer said:

In Finland you can only bring 2 boxes.

Also ordering cigars through internet is illegal. If you get caught you will lose the cigars. So no chance of gettin 20-30 boxes of cigars through custom.

Taxes in Finland are also one of the highest in the world.

I thought Korea is the only country which never allows local B&M do online shipping. Is buying cigars from any foreign online vendor also illegal in Finland? If yes, I would be shocked!

Feel really sorry for OP and I wonder how customs can be so inconsistent from time to time (it does not only apply to cigars as they also being strict on other products with high charges like 40% for tea and 513.6% for green tea in my country)... Taking 350 cigars from haul is definitely big steal to me as well 😠 

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2 hours ago, LonesomeHabanoAficionado said:

I thought Korea is the only country which never allows local B&M do online shipping. Is buying cigars from any foreign online vendor also illegal in Finland? If yes, I would be shocked!

Feel really sorry for OP and I wonder how customs can be so inconsistent from time to time (it does not only apply to cigars as they also being strict on other products with high charges like 40% for tea and 513.6% for green tea in my country)... Taking 350 cigars from haul is definitely big steal to me as well 😠 

Even Local B&M can’t do online busines in Finland. So I cant order any tobacco product online legally.

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13 minutes ago, Homer said:

Even Local B&M can’t do online busines in Finland. So I cant order any tobacco product online legally.

That sounds really painful mate! Luckily, foreign online B&Ms like FOH are the exception of this restriction in my country. The reason why Korean Government never allow local B&Ms to sell cigars online is taxation issue which is lame (same goes on liquors).

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53 minutes ago, Homer said:

Even Local B&M can’t do online busines in Finland. So I cant order any tobacco product online legally.

Finland is not the only country that has this rule. In Italy internet sales and even shipping (by post) tobacco products is illegal. In Spain internet sales are illegal etc. etc.

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Coming into Dublin from Havana last month, I had 2 giant suitcases and a six foot long poster tube with a painting that I had bought in Cuba at Christmas but left there until this previous trip, as I was going to have an easier time getting it home this trip (no kids etc.)

So I stood out like a sore thumb, most of the other passengers coming off my connection from Paris had just carry on bags.

I had 3 bottles of spirits (1 rum, 1 bourbon and 1 bottle of Japanese whiskey, I had to leave about 10 litres of spirits behind me in Cuba, Punch Joe better get a liver check up!), and I was somewhat over my 50 cigar allowance, let's say a small multiple of my allowance over.

In Dublin there are three customs channels. Blue for travelers with nothing to declare from journeys originating within the EU, Green for travelers from outside the EU and Red for something to declare.

I went into the Red (something to declare) channel. I thought "f it, I'll see what happens. There was only one customs officer manning all three channels and I swear I saw him go weak at the knees when he saw someone (me) waiting in the Red channel. It was like he had seen a unicorn.

He came over and he says "what do you have", I started with "Well, I'm coming from Cuba and this is a painting for my wife". "Fine"

"And I have 3 bottles of spirits, just over 2 litres", I had decided to leave discussion of cigars until last. "There were all gifts". I was not counting on the guy knowing that Japanese Whiskey and Bourbon cannot be bought in Cuba.

He says "you know you're only allowed 1 litre?", I said, "I know, that's why I'm here, they were gifts and I would like to pay duty"

He opens the "airport-rope", waves me through and says "go on ahead, next time!", I said "thank you very much, that's very kind of you". And that was that.

They do like a bit of honesty. And from my experience, everywhere I've traveled, they lean towards leniency when honesty is shown. It must be because it's a novelty for them. Having said that, he didn't ask about cigars.

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I declare but don't volunteer any extra information.

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18 hours ago, Frozen North said:

OP, that’s heartbreaking. Be careful, you may now be permanently flagged. Every time you return, you could very likely be harassed.

I got hassled for years because one time coming from Germany to the US, I told the officer I had some canned supermarket food and he sent me to "agricultural inspection." They discovered a mylar bag of sauerkraut with ham. AHA! THIS IS NOT HERMETICALLY SEALED! I said, "Sure it is. It was on a shelf in the supermarket that way." Totally sealed. I pointed out that it was non-permeable mylar not plastic, and the agent got rather huffy with me. I also had cans of meat products, which were no problem. I asked where I can get better information on what was allowed, so I could avoid future problems. He told me, "We have access to information that you cant get." ??? !!!

Anyway, I got sent to agricultural inspection four more times in the next two years, coming from Denmark, Korea, who knows where. "I see you have had problems with food."

One time, my bags got microsearched and they went through my wallet in great detail, looking for mini-ham slices or something. 😛 They were aggressive and not friendly about it. Another time I got sent to a small room with five Afghanis in regional garb whose luggage was huge cardboard boxes tied with rope.I was wearing a Brooks Brothers sport coat and polished brown wing tip shoes, looking as typical clean cut Joe Business Traveler as could be. They held me for 15 minutes, under observation I assume, then let me go without doing anything. Eventually, it stopped.

I get the sense that there is a mandate to do a certain percentage of detailed inspections and if they have the slightest excuse to pick you instead of the next traveler, especially based on historical info from the computer system, you get selected. If an agent writes you up as confrontational, which may have happened to me, you might get on some preferred hassle list.

It seems random at times but I'm more worried that it can become non-random, for basically no good reason. If I got cigars seized, I'd keep it to 100 next few trips just in case.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, J-ROB said:

I got hassled for years because one time coming from Germany to the US, I told the officer I had some canned supermarket food and he sent me to "agricultural inspection." They discovered a mylar bag of sauerkraut with ham. AHA! THIS IS NOT HERMETICALLY SEALED! I said, "Sure it is. It was on a shelf in the supermarket that way." Totally sealed. I pointed out that it was non-permeable mylar not plastic, and the agent got rather huffy with me. I also had cans of meat products, which were no problem. I asked where I can get better information on what was allowed, so I could avoid future problems. He told me, "We have access to information that you cant get." ??? !!!

Anyway, I got sent to agricultural inspection four more times in the next two years, coming from Denmark, Korea, who knows where. "I see you have had problems with food."

One time, my bags got microsearched and they went through my wallet in great detail, looking for mini-ham slices or something. 😛 They were aggressive and not friendly about it. Another time I got sent to a small room with five Afghanis in regional garb whose luggage was huge cardboard boxes tied with rope.I was wearing a Brooks Brothers sport coat and polished brown wing tip shoes, looking as typical clean cut Joe Business Traveler as could be. They held me for 15 minutes, under observation I assume, then let me go without doing anything. Eventually, it stopped.

I get the sense that there is a mandate to do a certain percentage of detailed inspections and if they have the slightest excuse to pick you instead of the next traveler, especially based on historical info from the computer system, you get selected. If an agent writes you up as confrontational, which may have happened to me, you might get on some preferred hassle list.

It seems random at times but I'm more worried that it can become non-random, for basically no good reason. If I got cigars seized, I'd keep it to 100 next few trips just in case.

 

 

 

Have you eve thought that maybe you just have a "guilty" kind of look on your face? :P

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Yeah, I must look like the Hamburglar! Smuggling that underground German pork in unapproved packaging.

I don't think it matters what you look like if there is a naughty mark on your online entry record. 

Fortunately, the weirdness stopped after a year. Never got stopped before that or after.

 

 

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1 minute ago, J-ROB said:

Yeah, I must look like the Hamburgular! Smuggling that underground German pork in unapproved packaging.

I don't think it matters what you look like if there is a naughty mark on your online entry record. 

Fortunately, the weirdness stopped after a year. Never got stopped before that or after.

 

 

Heck, I didn’t even know you could bring back meat at all. The Norwegians kept insisting I should buy a bunch of Mylar-sealed whale meat and I just laughed at them....

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