Getting Through Customs in Aruba

Be sure to educate yourself on the latest Aruba customs laws before you travel

Photo credit: © Lawrence Weslowski Jr |

Aruba Customs

Visitors should be prepared when Aruba customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning importation and exportation of goods. Knowing the customs regulations before you arrive at the check points will go a long way toward making your trip go smoothly.

Travelers are allowed to purchase a maximum of $800 worth of duty-free merchandise based on the retail value. Leather goods and souvenirs from Haiti are not advisable. There are no customs restrictions on perfume, but goods worth more than AFl 500 must be declared. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of the Netherlands in Washington D.C. or one of the Dutch consulates in the U.S. for specific information.


People violating Aruba customs laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Do not agree or attempt to smuggle illegal drugs, either internally (swallowing) or in luggage. Aruba has strict gun-control laws; if you plan to import firearms or ammunition into Aruba , please make advance arrangements through the Embassy of The Netherlands in Washington D.C..

United States citizens can avoid paying duty on the foreign-made high-ticket items they already own and will take to the Caribbean by registering them with customs before leaving for Aruba. Consider filing a certificate of registration for items such as laptops, cameras, watches and other digital devices identified with serial numbers or other permanent markings. You may keep the certificate for other trips. Otherwise, bring with you a sales receipt or insurance form to show that you owned the item before you left the United States.

As an island shopper, and before returning home, remember these pointers for clearing Aruba customs:

  • Keep receipts for all items bought in Aruba.

  • Keep all purchases in an easily accessible location in case customs officials should need to inspect them.

  • If you have any questions or complaints about your experiences with Aruba's customs, write to the port director at your point of re-entry.

The following additional re-entry rules apply for United States citizens:

  • Travelers have a returning customs allowance for up to one liter of alcohol (if you are 21 or older) or perfume containing alcohol, up to 200 cigarettes and up to 100 non-Cuban cigars. Those staying fewer than 48 hours may bring home up to 150 ml of alcohol, 50 cigarettes and 10 non-Cuban cigars.

  • Packages may be sent home duty-free, with a limit of one parcel per addressee per day, with the exception of alcohol or tobacco products, or perfume worth more than $5 (USD).

  • It's possible to mail up to $200(USD) worth of goods home to the United States for personal use; be sure to write "PERSONAL USE" on the parcel and attach a list of its contents and their retail value.

  • Travelers sending home a parcel containing personal belongings that have been used, write "AMERICAN GOODS RETURNED" on the package to avoid a duty fee.

  • Travelers may send up to $100(USD) worth of goods as a gift to someone in the United States provided if "UNSOLICITED GIFT" is written on the package.

NOTE: Mailed items do not affect your duty-free allowance upon your return.

The following re-entry rules apply to U.S. citizens visiting Aruba, as it is a member of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) :

  • Travelers visiting a CBI country for more than 48 hours may bring home $800(USD) worth of goods duty-free, as long as they have not used the $800(USD) allowance or any part of it in the 30 days preceding this trip. Travelers who have visited both a CBI country and a U.S. possession (i.e. the U.S. Virgin Islands) may bring home to the United States up to $1,600(USD) worth of goods duty-free, but no more than $800(USD) of the total worth can be from the CBI country.
  • Travelers aged 21 years or older may bring home up to two liters of alcohol, duty-free, from a CBI country, as long as one of the liters was produced in a CBI country.

  • Travelers are allowed to bring home up to 200 cigarettes and 100 non-Cuban cigars from a CBI country.

  • Travelers may bring home, duty-free, antiques and original works of art from CBI countries.

  • Travelers may send gift packages, excepting alcohol, tobacco, or perfume, worth more than $500(USD) from a CBI country to the United States duty-free, with a limit of one parcel per addressee per day.

  • Travelers are permitted to mail up to $200(USD) worth of goods for personal use; label the package "PERSONAL USE" and attach a list of its contents and their retail value. If the package contains used personal belongings, mark it "AMERICAN GOODS RETURNED" to avoid paying duties.

  • Travelers may send up to $100(USD) worth of goods as a gift; mark the package "UNSOLICITED GIFT."

Note: Mailed items do not affect the duty-free allowance on your return.

Since customs regulations are subject to change from time to time, it is best to check with your country's specific entry requirements before you leave, and keep your knowledge current using the following contact information:

United States U.S. Customs Service
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20229
Tel: 877/227-5511
United Kingdom HM Customs & Excise
Tel: 0845/010-9000
Canada Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Tel: 800/461-9999
Australia Australian Customs Service
Tel: 1300/363-263
New Zealand New Zealand Customs Service
Tel: 04/473-6099

With these guidelines in mind, vacationers in Aruba should have few stops with customs along the way.


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