Press Release

Jamaica Customs using technology to effectively enhance the Returning Residents’ Process

Committed to ensuring that its various stakeholders, including Returning Residents, were able to readily access the agency’s services during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) introduced several new measures, including the automation of the Returning Residents process, allowing for greater efficiency in service delivery.

In 2020, the JCA embarked on automating the application process for Returning Residents and Returning Students to facilitate more ease and efficiency, allowing passengers to access their benefits before travelling.

Using the Online Portal, residents are able to upload the necessary documentation, view their progress regarding their requested Returning Resident Status, as well as receive provisional approval.

Manager of the Returning Residents Unit, Alicia Allen, shared that before the automation of the Returning Residents process, applicants had to be in Jamaica, attend a face-to-face interview, confirm their approval and then proceed to ship. “By automating the Returning Residents’ application, the applicant is no longer required to physically report to the JCA’s office to attend interviews, saving them both time and money. Now, the customer is able to know prior to their arrival in Jamaica, if they qualify for the benefits of a

Returning Resident/Student so they are able to make arrangements concerning the shipment of their items,” she further stated.

Having automated this process, those benefitting from this status have given the JCA ‘the thumbs up’.  Marcel Anderson, a Returning Resident, who returned home after residing abroad for over 10 years and benefitted from the Returning Residents’ status, shared his experience of the process. “The online application was very straightforward and the response from the Jamaica Customs Agency was prompt,” he said, further noting that the automation of most processes and receiving a certain standard of service in the first-world country he had resided was the practise.

This he said “tells me that the JCA is continuously improving its online processes to meet first world expectations and best practices.” His expectation is “for the agency to maintain this innovative momentum and acceleration in its use of modern technologies, which they have deployed to facilitate these online processes.”

Customers are reminded to be guided by the following steps in applying for Returning Resident/Student status:

  1. Visit the JCA’s website: www.jacustoms.gov.jm; complete the Registration Form.
  2. A username and password will be generated and shared via the email provided, allowing for the applicant(s) to access the application form.
  3. Once accessed, complete the application form, upload the relevant documents and click ‘submit’.
  4. The Returning Residents’ Unit will review the application and grant the approval once all requirements or criteria are met.
  5. The Returning Residents’ Unit will generate and issue an Exemption Notice for the applicant(s) to submit to their relevant Shipping Agent(s), which must be used on the Declaration, in order to access the relevant benefits provided (exempted items are gazetted).

For any additional informational on the JCA’s Returning Residents’ process, you may email public.relations@jca.gov.jm or call 876 922 5140-8.

 

 

Jamaica Customs continues to improve business relations with stakeholders: visits Walkerswood Jerk Facility

CEO/Commissioner of Customs, Velma Ricketts Walker (center), is surrounded by (from left), Barrington Souden, Orane Thompson, and Janneice Baker, JCA; Jason Garbutt, Walkerswood; Ian Garbutt, Walkerswood; Samantha Reid, JCA; Christopher Brown, JCA; and Sonia Thompson, Walkerswood.

 

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) values the input of its various stakeholders, and has therefore introduced and implemented several ways to engage with them, with the most recent initiative being the Customs Business Interaction (CBI) stakeholder engagement.

Lead by the Office of the Chief Executive Officer, the CBI, seeks to strengthen the relationship between the Jamaica Customs Agency and its commercial/industrial stakeholders through face-to-face interactions with executive members of both entities.

On February 16, 2023, members of the JCA, led by the CEO/Commissioner of Customs Mrs. Velma Ricketts Walker, executed another successful CBI initiative with the executive team of the Walkerswood Jerk Facility in Walkerswood, St. Ann.

Managing Director of Walkerswood, Mr. Ian Garbutt and his team, were able share the ‘highs and lows’ of their business interactions with Customs and also indicated what they believe the JCA could do to enhance the business operations of entities such as Walkerswood, the sector/market and the economy in general. The CEO and members of the JCA team also used the opportunity to provide further information and clarity on Customs-related processes and procedures relevant to Walkerswood and the sector.

The discussion involved the various incentives provided by the JCA, such as the Productive Inputs Relief (PIR) programme, which allows manufacturers to receive exemption from Import Duty, Additional Stamp Duty and Standard Compliance Fee; deferment of the General Consumption Tax (GCT); and 50% discount of Customs Administrative Fee (CAF). Incentives offered to entities, under the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act were also discussed.

Emanating from the discussion was a proposal from the Walkerswood head, for SEZ operators to receive the benefits that fall under the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme. Special Economic Zone operators are able to benefit from a relief of Customs Duty. The AEO programme allows compliant traders who have met the requisite criteria under that programme, to experience faster clearance and processing.

Beneficiaries of these incentive programmes are reminded that adhering to the relevant guidelines is paramount for being afforded the continued privilege.

As the JCA seeks to “Keep Our Customers in Focus”, the Agency will continue to utilise several channels to engage with its stakeholders, as it provides information and importantly, solicit their feedback.

For more information on the JCA’s Incentives Programme you may email: public.relations@jca.gov.jm or telephone: 876 922-5140-8.

 

Jamaica Customs to deploy one hundred body-worn cameras


Kimmilee Fender, customs officer, oversees the barrel inspection process at a Kingston warehouse. Under the new project,  JCA officers in selected areas will be equipped with body-worn cameras. 
— Photo credit:   Horane Gardener

 

Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) has signalled its intent to equip and deploy 100 body-worn cameras (BWCs) in Customs-controlled areas in the new fiscal year. 

The first-of-its-kind initiative is expected to provide a more accurate record of encounters, foster improved relations, increase transparency, and improve the quality of evidence collected for decision-making.

CEO Velma Ricketts Walker, who made the disclosure at a project meeting recently, highlighted the importance of the initiative to delivering the Agency’s core values.

Ricketts Walker also reiterated her commitment to the team and thanked members for their transformation of the Agency.

Meanwhile, Marlon Lowe, Deputy CEO (Border Protection), noted that, “The project will involve the identification of camera technology, data management system, development of policies to govern the programme and training to facilitate the initiative roll-out.”

The initial staff sensitization sessions are expected to commence on February 27.

Recently, there has been a call for increased digital recording during interactions between law enforcement officers and the public. In response, other local law enforcement organisations have already adopted this technology to improve the quality of policing in their communities.

An international study has shown that placing body-worn cameras (BWCs) on officers improves civility and enhances citizens’ perceptions of law enforcement officers.

The six-month project is being led by Marlon Lowe, Andre Williams and Michelle Bryan.

More information to come. 

 

Adherence to all Requirements is Necessary for Efficient Processing and Clearance of Goods

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) is aware of public comments regarding delays in the clearance of goods by couriers and shipping companies and would like to reassure the public that our processes are operating optimally at all ports. The Agency is committed to its Core Values: Customer-Focused, Accountability, Professionalism, Integrity and Transparency (CAPIT) and to achieve same, it relies on members of the importing and exporting public to adhere to its requirements and provide accurate information to aid with efficient processing of cargo. Agents who ship goods to Jamaica are reminded that they MUST follow the steps below for ultimate clearance:

Step 1: Submit cargo manifest, to include breakdown manifests, via the Port Community System (PCS) to the JCA prior to arrival of vessel.

Step 2: Determine whether a request will be made to move goods from the Port to a Public Bonded Warehouse or have goods examined on the Port.

Step 3: Ensure container is offloaded, and cargo scanned at the Warehouse.

Step 4: Create and submit the simplified IMS4 declaration and upload all supporting documents, to include invoices provided by the importer.

Step 5: Pay the applicable Customs duties and fees for each declaration.

Step 6: Arrange with the Warehouse for goods to be presented to Customs for inspection.

Step 7: Customs Officer inspects the cargo.

Step 8: Cargo is released to the Agent/importer if all requirements are met.

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The Jamaica Customs Agency continues to exercise vigilance in executing its Border Protection Mandate

The Jamaica Customs Agency(JCA) wishes to assure the public that it remains committed to facilitating trade, collecting revenue on behalf of the Government and protecting Jamaica’s borders and citizens.In this respect, the Agency has increased its vigilance and process controls at the various ports of entry which may impact the turnaround time for clearances. The JCA therefore beckons the understanding of the importing public, as the entity operates in accordance with all governing laws.

 

As a reminder, the Agency implores all importers to provide accurate invoices regarding their shipments, to their agents for a prompt clearance process and reminds importers, couriers, shippers and customs brokers that all imports are subject to applicable customs procedures, including interventions consistent with its risk management, valuation and other processes.

 

The Jamaica Customs Agency is cognizant of the recent queries regarding a particular entity; however, in keeping with our tenets of integrity and confidentiality, the agency will not comment on the specifics regarding any of our clients. We reassure the public that we are driven by our Core Values, CAPIT- Customer-focused, Accountability, Professionalism, Integrity and Transparency in all our operations.

 

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For more information:       La Donna Manning

Director, Public Relations & Customer Services

876-550-9600

ladonna.manning@jca.gov.jm

 

Natalee Tomlinson

Customer Service Manager

(876) 588-7307

natalee.tomlinson@jca.gov.jm

 

Public Relations and Customer Service Unit

(876) 922-5140-8

public.relations@jca.gov.jm

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The Jamaica Customs Agency Stands Proud...in 'Reigniting a Nation for Greatness'.

As Jamaica celebrates 60 years as an independent nation, we have much to be proud about; we stand as a global stalwart!

As a global entity, over the years, the Jamaica Customs Agency has evolved in many dynamic ways, and we stand proudly on our accomplishments.

Without a doubt, we stand among the best Customs administrations internationally, demonstrating excellence in what we do.

In keeping with the Jamaica 60 celebrations, the JCA has developed this video, which epitomises our Core Values - CAPIT. 

We will continue to live our motto: "Country Above Self," giving our best, being our best, and doing our best while serving you, our valued customers and stakeholders. 

 

Jamaica to benefit from island wide Time Release Study being conducted by Jamaica Customs

Kingston, Jamaica, July 11, 2022- The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) has established a national working group to participate in an island-wide Time Release Study (TRS) to measure the average time taken for the clearance process of goods in Jamaica.

This disclosure was made public yesterday [July 11]. 

The working group, which includes the Port Authority of Jamaica, Airport Authority, Kingston Wharves, Kingston Freeport Terminal, and other organisations involved in the trade facilitation process, will be tasked with planning, executing, and monitoring the study.

Marlon Lowe, Deputy Commissioner (Operations), commenting on the initiative, said, “The TRS will help measure the effectiveness and efficiency of border procedures relating to imports, exports, and transit movement of goods.” Lowe added that, “The initiative is consistent with Jamaica’s accession to the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs procedures – Revised Kyoto Convention (KRC).

He also noted that the way Jamaica Customs do business will impact trade and commerce and said: “The study will affect the movement of people, goods, and means of transport, especially as we see an increase in trade volumes.”

Meanwhile, Earl Stewart, Director, Planning and Research at Jamaica Customs, said this study will play a significant role in further improving customs processes across the island.

“This study will allow us [Jamaica Customs] to diagnose specific customs procedures, improve compliance and enforcement, and drive additional automation processes within Customs.”

He also called for participants to ensure that their systems are rid of bureaucracy and offers greater efficiency to Jamaicans.

The TRS, which follows the World Customs Organisations (WCO) TRS Methodology, provides all major stakeholders with the opportunity to engage in an evidence-based debate about how to address the identified bottlenecks and enhance the efficacy and efficiency of border procedures. It is also a vital tool for strategic planning and the implementation of the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement.

The last TRS study was conducted in 2009.

Click here to download this article.

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Contact: La Donna Manning, Director, Public Relations and Customer Service at 550-9600 or Nikel Innerarity, Senior Public Relations Officer at 553 0118

Email: public.relations@jca.gov.jm

 

Jamaica Customs Keeps Jamaican Diaspora in Focus: Remains Committed to Assisting Returning Residents to Jamaica

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) continues to keep our Jamaican Diaspora community in focus, and therefore reminds all Returning Residents that items which are exempt from taxes and Customs duties under the Second Schedule of the Customs Act must not be imported into Jamaica for sale, or for commercial exchange.

Adult nationals of Jamaica, who have resided outside of the country for no less than three (3) consecutive years and are returning to the island permanently, are termed Returning Residents and are exempt from paying duties and taxes on categories of household effects and tools/machinery/instruments/equipment, in relation to their trade.

Items to be imported, new or used, should quantify in relation to domestic or personal use and must be imported up to six (6) months before or after the Returning Resident has returned to Jamaica. This timeline may be extended upon the approval by the CEO/Commissioner of Customs.

Additionally, a Jamaican national, who wish to gain the status of a Returning Resident, should visit the JCA’s website and complete the relevant online application. Once successful, an Exemption Notice will be provided to the Returning Resident, valid for six (6) months.

The provision also exempts spouses of Returning Residents, who intend to permanently reside in Jamaica. However, if the Returning Resident and the spouse arrive in Jamaica at the same time or within three years of each other, they would receive only one exemption.

As a valued stakeholder group, Returning Residents have the commitment of the Jamaica Customs Agency to continue improving its business processes, as the agency has implemented new procedures to make the application and approval process more efficient. Returning Residents are therefore reminded to assist in making the process as smooth as possible, by providing any relevant documentation as may be required by the agency.

For more information, you may contact the JCA by telephone: toll-free at 1-888-287-8667, (876)922-5140-8, (876)922-8770-3, (876)948-7849, or by email at: quick.response@jca.gov.jm, public.relations@jca.gov.jm.

Generated by: The Public Relations Unit, JCA

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Jamaica Customs Agency

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Newport East, Kingston 15
Phone: 876 922 5140-8 | 922 8770-3

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Phone: 876 948 5151

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