Returning Residents

Eligibility and Basic Requirements for Returning Resident Status:


In order to qualify as a Returning Resident and benefit from the concessions relationg to personal and household effects and/or tools of trade, the following requirements must be met:

  • Be a Jamaican national who has attained the age of eighteen (18) years
  • Have been resident overseas for not less than three (3) consecutive years
  • Be returning to Jamaican to reside permanently


Concessions for Returning Residents:

Goods Exempt from Import Duty

The Customs Tariff allows for each passenger to receive duty concession in respect of the following:

  1. A reasonable quantity of wearing apparel, articles of personal adornment and toilet requisites whether new or used
  2. Instruments and tools to be used for the purpose of their profession, trade, occupation or employment, provided that the items have been in the passengers' possession and bonafide use for a reasonable period
  3. Tobacco and some potable articles including wines and spirits in the baggage or on the person which they might reasonable be expected to carry with then for personal use, in such quantities as the commissioner may from time to time approve
  4. Used household effects which have been in the passenger's use for a reasonable period of time and are not imported for sale
  5. A passenger who is eighteen (18) years or older and who is the holder of a Jamaican passport or is ordinarily resident in Jamaica is entitled to additional duty concession in respect of other personal or household effects not specified in (1), (2) or (3) above which the proper officer is satisfied are not imported for sale or commercial exchange and do not exceed US$500 in total value. This concession will not be granted to a person who has been permitted duty free importation under this section within the six-month period immediately preceding the date of return to Jamaica.


What are Personal and Household Effects?

Personal effects are those items, which are:

  1. Worn on the body, that is, wearing apparel and articles of personal adornment
  2. Basic to the individual, for example, toilet requisites and medication


Household effects are those items basic to the home, for example, furniture, television, radio, stove, refrigerator, admitted as such by the Commissioner of Customs. Personal and household goods that are not in commercial quantities and some other items may be cleared without the services of a licensed Customs Broker.


Are there any Special Cases?

  1. Returning non-Jamaican spouses or persons who qualify as Returning Residents will be afforded the same concession as their Jamaican partner
  2. Returning students who have attained the age of eighteen (18) years and who have studied abroad for more than one (1) year but less than three (3) consecutive years will qualify for concessions in respect of tools of trade and some personal and household effects
  3. Jamaicans who gave up their citizenship (and can provide proof of their previous status) and who return home will be granted the status of Returning Resident with the attendant benefits



  1. If you intend to return to Jamaica to reside permanently, you should contact the Jamaican Overseas Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade or any of the Jamaican Embassies, or Consulates in Foreign countries in order to obtain a copy of the Returning Residents' Information Pack. You can log onto 


  2. The Department of Customs establishes your eligibility for concessions as a Returning Resident. This must be done after your arrival and the arrival of your goods in Jamaica and before you begin the process of clearing your personal and household effects and/or tools of trade
  3. All goods should be imported within six (6) months before or after the arrival in Jamaica of the Returning Resident
  4. If you are a Returning Resident then call or visit the Returning Residents' Unit at the Customs Head Office, Newport East, Kingston 15;
    Telephone: +1 876-922-5140-8, +1 876-750-3005, +1 876-750-3098 or the Information Officer at 1-888-customs (287-8867). Please ask at this unit for the list of concessions. You will be required to submit:                                                                                                               
    • Your passport
    • Such documentary evidence as may substantiate your permanent residence outside of Jamaica for the last three (3) consecutive years. Note that short visits to Jamaica for vacation, et cetera will not affect your eligibility
    • Such documentary evidence as may substantiate your intention to re-establish permanent residence in Jamaica
    • In the case of a student, you will also have to provide a letter from your university, college or educational institution confirming the duration of your course of study or time spent at that institution
    • The Unaccompanied Baggage Declaration Form (C27) which you received at the airport/seaport on arrival in Jamaica
    • Your Tax Registration Number (TRN) Card
    • Validated Bill of Lading - collected from local shipping agent


Documentary Evidence to prove Returning Residents Status may include one of the following:

But is not limited to:


  • Letter of Separation from employer (Outlining duration)
  • Last three (3) years Tax Returns
  • Pay stubs, W2 P45 (Last three (3) years)
  • Copy of Retirement Paper / Pension Advice / Social Security
  • Evidence of recent disposal of property owned
  • Copy of Sale of Agreement



  • New/Old passport in addition to one of the following
  • Evidence of Property acquired/Certificate of Title
  • Letter of Residency signed by owner & signed & stamped by JP. (If owner of property is not the Returning Resident)
  • Property Tax Receipt
  • Lease Agreement/Rent Receipt
  • Letter from prospective employer



  • Letter from Institution attended
  • Copy of I-20 ID (Student)
  • Copy of Transcript


Returning Residents' Unit

Attention: Mr. Trevor Kerr
Mr. Hector Richards
Mrs. Sandra Hosang
Fax #: +1 922-7600, +1 967-1776, +1 967-1142
Phone #: +1750-3005, +1 750-3098
+1 922-5140-8, Ext. 3121, 3120, 3118, 3005


Personal and Household effects Duty Free for Students:

Quantity Description
A reasonable quantity User house hold effects
1 Musical Instruments
1 Television Set
1 Video Recorder
1 Compnset Set(Which may include a CD palyer)
1 Personal Computer
1 Computer Stand
1 Printer
1 Printer Stand


Other Relevant Information for Deportees' not Expressed in Documents Provided:

Documents required

  • Deportation Letter
  • Letter from Central Investigating Branch (C.I.B.)
  • Valid Identification


If voluntary deportation, then

  • Documents to substantiate Residency Abroad


Central Investigating Branch (C.I.B) address:

East Queen Street,
Telephone #'s +1 922-3710, 3778, 4487, 7855, 2380
DSP Brown or Detective McPherson #3683


Other Relevant Information for Returning Residents not Expressed in Documents Provided

1.List of items that a Returning Resident cannot get duty free:

  • Items for Commercial Use
  • Building Materials/Accessories
  • Auto Part/Accessories
  • Motor Vehicles

2.Goods brought in by Returning Residents for charitable organisations

  • Establish that organization is eligible under second schedule
  • Letter from the head of organisation attesting to its existence and aware of the goods being donated to them
  • If organisation falls under a ministry e.g. a school, the letter is sent to The Ministry of Education for approval. Otherwise, the letter is sent directly to The Ministry of Finance for approval
  • It items are non-commercial the original copy of the letter is sent to Custom for clearance. If the goods are commercial, the letter is used to prepare Import entry C78

3.Tools of Trade

  • Tools (new or used) must be directly related to one's profession.
  • 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 Items are for the sole use of the individual for the purpose of income generation.
  • The individual is quailfied/trained to use them.
  • They are of the type and quantity as can be so used; and
  • They are not imported for sale or commercial exchange.


Click here to download a worksheet listing new and used household effects imported by a Returning Resident.

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