Can I purchase artwork in Cuba and bring it back to the U.S.?
You can buy “tourist art” on the streets of Havana. These pieces don’t require exportation procedures. However, when purchasing local art from a gallery, remember to have the gallery authenticate the painting or sculpture. You should receive a receipt or export permit to show Cuban customs, provided the artwork was purchased at an official sales outlet. If the gallery can’t provide an export permit or you didn’t receive an official receipt, you can obtain documentation for the art from the Registro Nacional de Bienes Culturales (National Registry of Cultural Goods) and Centro de Partimonio Cultural (Center of Cultural Heritage) in Havana. Permits are also available at regional offices in provincial capitals, when traveling outside of Havana. It generally takes two days to process art licenses, and artwork must be brought to the office directly. If the piece of art is too large to bring into the office, a photo will suffice. Either way, it’s important to plan ahead.