Customs House Weekly Series #3
Importing and clearing personal imports
Via air, sea ports, post office
Clearing your goods can be relatively simple if you know the rules
Traditionally, Jamaicans travelling from overseas bring back personal items or gifts for families and friends. Some passengers pack these items in their luggage, while others pack and send them in barrels, boxes or other packages through the air, sea ports, or post office.
What is required for clearing personal items via the air, sea ports, and post office?
CLEARING PERSONAL IMPORTS VIA AIRPORT
All passengers 18 years and older, are entitled to US$500 duty-free allowance on personal and household effects not for resale or commercial use. This means that no Customs duties, taxes or fees will be charged on items that are at or below this amount.
Passengers with unaccompanied baggage (that is baggage/goods sent via air or sea to the passenger two months before or after travel) must indicate same to the Customs officer prior to the examination of the baggage. The Customs officer will conduct the examination and complete the Unaccompanied Baggage Declaration (Form C27)/Yellow Form.
If the passenger uses only a portion or all of the US$500 allowance, then the Customs officer will indicate on the form that full allowance was given or the amount of the duty free allowance utilised. Once there is an allowance remaining, the passenger will utilise the balance to clear any unaccompanied baggage.
NOTE: The ‘Yellow Form’ is valid for the clearance of goods that arrive in the island two months before, or after the passenger.
CLEARING PERSONAL SHIPMENTS
Goods with a Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) value of more than US$5,000 must be cleared by a licensed customs broker.
Documents required for clearing shipments include:
- Tax Registration Number (TRN)
- Valid Identification (driver’s licence, passport or voter’s/national ID).
- The passenger must present the passport/receipt from the kiosk in the immigration hall at the airport if the yellow form is used.
- Bill of lading or air way bill
- C27 (unaccompanied declaration form)
- C86 (goods declaration form)
Steps for clearing shipments are:
- Collect shipping documents from the shipping agent and pay the relevant handling and/or freight charges.
- Proceed to the warehouse where the shipment is stored and pay the relevant handling and storage fees.
- If the importer or passenger has an unaccompanied declaration form (C27/yellow form) this must be presented to the Customs supervisor for verification.
- Once the shipment is located, the Customs officer will request that the consignee (or the individual acting on the authority of the consignee) opens the shipment for examination.
- Following examination, the Customs officer will value the goods and advise of the applicable customs duties and fees to be paid.
- 6. Duties and fees must be paid to the customs cashier at the location.
- After duties and fees are paid, the importer is issued with a release order. This is to be presented to the warehouse Operator who will issue a gate pass.
- Proceed to the delivery area with the gate pass (and vehicle if necessary), to collect the shipment.
GOODS BEING RECEIVED VIA THE POST OFFICE
Packages may be sent via the post office. It is important that persons sending packages ensure that they include the invoice(s) along with the items to assist with the assessment of the items.
Was your package detained by Jamaica Customs?
First, you will receive an advisory from Jamaica Post stating the reason for the detention and the documents you are required to submit to allow for clearance.
NOTE: If the postal address on the package is outside of Kingston (Central Sorting Office), it will be sent to the local post office address provided.
- Government-issued identification (passport, national ID, driver’s licence)
- Permit/licence, where applicable
- TCC (Tax Compliance Certificate)
- Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN)
- Charity certificate (where applicable)
- Submit the required documents to the Central Sorting Office (Kingston) either:
- Fax: 967-1666
- Email: email@example.com
- Pay the import duty to the cashier at the post office where the package is stored.
- Collect the package.