What can you bring from Puerto Rico to the United States? This is a common question we receive in our Company Store – so common I am now writing a blog about it!
Of course, when visiting a new place you want to bring home souvenirs, but it can get tricky when you are talking about agricultural products, food and beverages. We often hear concerns about bringing back rum, coffee, and fruits.
While there is no customs per se between the US and Puerto Rico, all baggage is required to go through a screening by the Dept of Agriculture upon arrival at the SJU airport to leave Puerto Rico. If you are carrying fruit or other types of produce, let them know.
What you can and cannot bring from Puerto Rico to the United States can change, depending on what diseases or pests are raging at the moment. USDA APHIS now has a web page with the most up-to-date information, so be sure to verify it before buying anything:
What you can bring from Puerto Rico to the United States:
- Alcohol – 5 quarts of your favorite rum!
- Cigars- you can bring back 50
- Condiments – including vinegars, oils, pickled goods, spices, coffee, tea, and some cheeses and baked goods are permitted
- Souvenirs – you can bring back any local artwork, but be conscious that items made with turtles or taino artefacts are strictly prohibited (although the likelihood of coming across either of those is pretty non-existent).
Items for Debate: Fruits and Vegetables
Want to bring back Puerto Rico fruit or vegetables? Fruit is an iffy area and can change depending on the current disease issues of the day. They have a posting in the airport, but generally speaking, it is hard to say. For example, in the past I have brought different types of bananas, but they wouldn’t allow an apple. I’ve had mixed results with bringing Aji Peppers and Recao (the fixings to make Sofrito). Generally, I have more luck of getting items through when I have purchased from a grocery store with packaging, than items purchased through a fruit stand. Here is a listing as it currently stands:
Do Not Bring:
- Citrus – all variety of citruses are prohibited due to potential disease like Citrus Greening
- Plants with Soil Media
- Pigion Peas – the pigion pea borer could affect stateside soy crops
- Mangoes – the mango borer
- Sweet Potatoes
What is Allowed:
Items for Debate: Palm Fronds
Fresh green palm fronds are prohibited. However, if you purchase an artisan item that has been made from palm fronds, make sure you put it into the freezer prior to leaving. They will allow palm fronds that have been cured or dried.