Personal Goods

Importation of Personal and Household effects:

Personal and household effects are those personal items of clothing, adornment, toiletries, furniture and household equipment that are necessary to re-establish a home in Jamaica. a speecified amount of such items, whether new or used, may be imported fress of customs duty by an eligible Returning Resident.

Imported items in excess of the quantity allowed is dutiable.

If the value of items imported is in excess of the duty-free allowance of US$5,000 (five thousand US dollars), they will be dealt with as a separate customs entry and will require the services of a Licensed Customs Broker to effect their clearance.

The services of a professional shipper or freight forwarder may be acquired for the transportation of your personal and household effects and tools of trade. These items are classified as Unaccompanied Baggage. The shipper may recommend the services of a Licensed Customs Broker in Jamaica to clear and deliver the personal effects for a specified charge.

Any small household and other items carried as accompanied baggage, will be detained by Customs and are considered dutiable until eligibility for Returning Resident status has been confirmed by the Customs Department.



Tools of Trade are defined as follows:

That type and amount of instruments, tools, equipment, devices and machinery as would be usually used in the normal course and scope of a person's profession, trade or occupation without utilizing additional labour.

The Missions overseas or the Jamaicans Overseas & Consular Affairs Department will forward the documentation to Customs for review and determination. Once the process has been completed, the determination is conveyed in writing, including an indication of the duty payable, if the items do not qualify for duty exemption.

It should be noted that the formal assessment of customs duty or determination of compliance for duty-free importation of tools of trade can only be made by the Examination Officer on the clearance of the items.
Please note that a concession for Tools of Trade is granted to each qualified indivitual with a family.

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Importation of other Business or Investment equipment:

There may be concessions and assistance available to those Returning residents who wish to establish a business that requires the importation of equipment other than those allowed as tools of trade. Interested persons are encouraged to contact the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Jamaica's Economic Development Agency.

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Procedures for the clearance of Unaccompanied baggage:

Every effort should be made to clear personal and household effects, as well as tools of trade (unaccompanied baggage), as soon as possible. It should be noted that storage costs are payable for goods kept at the port for more than sever (7) days.

  • Obtain the Unaccompanied Baggage Declaration Form (C.27) from the Customs Officer on arrival at the airport, indicating status as a returning Resident. (Indication of Unaccompanied Baggage would have been made in the appropriate section of the Customs declaration form C5).
  • Obtain the original Bill of Lading/Airway Bill from the local agent of the shipping company/airline on receopt of the notice of arrival of unaccompanied baggage. The Bill of Lading is the official document or inventory of the items shipped (an additional document , a Bill of Sight may be issued). Please note that handling and documentation charges are payable.
  • Attend interview at the returning Residents Unit of the Customs Department (See Directory) for determination of eligibility for Returning.



  • Prospective importers of classic/antique/limited edition motor vehicles must obtain an import permit prior to the importation of the vehicle. Each application MUST be accompanied by documentary support from the Jamaica Classic Car Club, as well as documentary proof that the unit falls within the definition and categories specified by the Motor Vehicle Import Policy.
  • All prospective importers of vehicles for agricultural use seeking duty concession, MUST FIRST obtain approval through the Rural Agricultural Development agency (RADA) Parish offices in the locale of the farming activity prior to importation. The Trade Board requires evidence of any duty concession granted at the time the relevant Motor Vehicle Import License application is submitted for approval.
  • An import license is NOT required for the importation of oversized vehicles (heavy-duty trucks, tractors and trailers - three (3) tons and over unladen weight). However, importers MUST FIRST obtain written permission from the Island Traffic Authority BEFORE importing such units.
  • A Certificate of Fitness is required only for motor vehicles to be imported from a country where it is a statutory requirement that vehicles be examined and certified prior to shipment.


Persons importing vehicles that originate in countries where they drive on the right MUST:
  • Modify their units for passengers to enter/exit on the curbside of the road.
  • Modify the beam of the headlamps to reflect down on the left horizontal plane or up and down on the vertical plane.


Import licences issued by the Trade Board Limited are valid for the duration of the financial year in which they are granted, that is, the period 1st April to 31st March of any given year or remaining portion thereof.


Please note that revisions to the law have facilitated the acquisition of new or used vehicles through an approved dealer or a certified used car dealer in Jamaica. This is an option that the Returning Resident may wish to explore.

An importer must obtain an Import License from the Trade Board BEFORE shipping the vehicle. The services of a Licensed Customs Broker must be secured to clear the vehicle on arrival, as an indivitual is not permitted to do this.

  • The importer should submit the application form (The Order and Clearance Permit) in triplicate to the Trade Board. these forms may be obtained from the Trade Board for a fee of J$35, or from the respective Missions overseas for a fee of US$1, CDN$1 or 1 as appropriate.


Applications must be accompanied by the following documents:
  1. Pro-forma invoice from the dealer if the vehicle is new.
  2. Certificate of title or registration document if vehicle already owned.
  3. Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN), photocopy of both sides of the card should be attached.
  4. Certified copies of two (2) forms of identification which may be any of the following:
    • Passport (pages 1-5 where applicable)
    • Driver's licence (both sides)
    • Electoral Identification card


Copies of the identification documents must be certified by a Justice of the Peace/Notary Public or by a Consular Officer at any Jamaican Mission overseas.


The fee for the processing of the Import Licence is the equivalent of J$ 3,495 and is payable by cheque, money order or postal order to the Trade board Limited. This fee is non-refundable.

Applications are processed within twenty-four (24) hours of receipt by the trade Board and the licence is available for collection in Kingston or Montego Bay to which it was directed. The Import Licence must be collected in person: however, the Trade Board will facilitate delivery to a licensed Customs Broker acting on the importer's behalf, upon presentation of proper identification; or, to an individual with a letter of authorization from the importer and proper identification.


The penalty for importing a motor vehicle without a valid import permit is a fine equivalent to three (3) times the value of the vehicle, plus seizure of the vehicle.


The Licensed Customs Broker will be responsible for the clearance of the vehicle from the port of entry and will advise of the procedures, documets, and the costs involved for these services.

For a new motor vehicle, an estimate of the customs duty payable may be calculated by applying the relevant Aggregate Customs Duty rate to the value on the supplier's pro-forma invoice.

For used vehicles, the depreciated value applicable to the age and mileage of the vehicle can be referenced from the Glass' Guide - for vehicles being imported from the UK and Europe and the N.A.D.A Book - for vehicles being imported from North America.


For further information on the duty assessment process, please contact the Motor vehicle Unit of the customs Department.


After the vehicle has landed, the required documentation should be given to the Licensed Customs Broker. Once the documents have been processed by the Customs Department and found to be in order, the licensed Customs Broker will pay all the duties, taxes, and other charges on the importer's behalf.

Documents required for clearance of a motor vehicle include:

  • Import Licence issued by the Trade Board
  • Title - Document issued to the owner of the vehicle by the government of the country where the vehicle was purchased.
  • Invoice - For a new motor vehicle (that is, a vehicle whose odometer reading is under 3000 miles).
  • Bill of Lading-obtained from the shipping agent with information on the details of the vehicle, the dateit landed in the island and the port of entry.
  • Bill of Sight-document in which details of the motor vehicle being imported are recorded. It is prepared and signed by the owner or a customs broker and certified by the customs Department. This is required for a new vehicle that is not properly described in the invoice and for used vehicles.
  • Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC) & Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN) may be obtained from the Tax Administration Services Department.
  • C-78/ Import entry - primary import document on which the particulars of the motor vehicle: the importer, shipment details, duties paid, are recorded. This is prepared and submitted to Customs by the Licensed Customs Broker.



Insurance coverage for the motor vehicle is required prior to its clearance from the wharf. Once the vehicle has been cleared, it is necessary to obtain a Certificate of Fitness and registration plates prior to taking the vehicle on the road. The Certificate of Fitness is issued by the Motor vehicle Examination Depot. The registration of the vehicle and the purchase of the registration plates, as well as the application for the title of Ownership of the Vehicle are done at the revenue Service Centre/Tax Collectorate. All require the submission of the insurance cover note, the Certificate of fitness and the Import Entry documentation and attract a fee.

It should be noted that persons not in possession of a valid Jamaican driver's licence are permitted to drive on a valid overseas licence for one (1) year of until the overseas licence expires, whichever comes first, after which a Jamaican licence must be obtained.

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Importation of Other items:

In addition to the matters covered in detail in the previous sections, there are other points worthy of mention:

  • Animals:  The importation of pets and other animals into the country requires a permit from the Veterinary Services division of the Ministry of Agriculture. the permit, which must be obtained prior to importation, attracts a fee. Certain conditions, as well as other customs, quarantine and veterinary fees are also applicable. It should be noted that in the case of dogs and cats, only those that are born and bred in the United Kingdom may be imported into Jamaica. Certification to this effect must be obtained from the relevant authority in the United States.
  • Plants & Plant Products (Ground Provisions, Fruits and Vegetables):  A Phyto-Sanitary Permit is required for the importation of plants and plant products. the application for such permit should be submitted in writing to the Chief Quarantine Officer, Ministry of Agriculture and should indicate the items, quantities and country of origin.
  • Firearms:  the entry of firearms is prohibited by law, except where permission has been obtained from the Commissioner of Police, the Trade administrator and the Commissioner of Customs.
  • Prohibited or Banned Substances:  The importation of equipment and appliances containing chlorofluorocarbons (cfcs) that are a potential threat to the environment is prohibited. Equipment such as, refrigerators/freezers and air-conditioners for domestic, commercial and motor vehicular use may fall in this category. Details of prohibited or banned substances and/or goods may be obtained from the Trade Board.
  • General Goods:  Returning residents should also be aware of the possibility that certain goods imported might require an import permit or other certification. therefore, it is advisable to clarify the status of a particular item with the Trade Board in the event of any doubts.
  • Penalties:  It is anticipated that most persons will comply with the various regulations and conditions relating to the concessions and assistance given to returning residents. In cases of abuse of any concessions, the law provides for a number of stiff penalties for non-compliance with the regulations and conditions. Penalties include: Punitive customs Duty; Fine and Confiscation of illegally imported items.



Jamaica utilizes the NTSC standard for television transmission, and the public electricity system supplies 110 volts @ 50 cycles. In the event of doubt or concern about the compatibility of an item, the supplier or appropriate expert should be consulted.

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