Tips for Getting through Customs


Going through customs can be a harrowing experience for anyone, even people who travel extensively to overseas destinations. However, for people who rarely go to other countries and first-time travelers, it can be a nightmare. As long as set rules are followed there is nothing to fear about the process of getting through customs but to make the experience less stressful, we have provided some helpful tips below.

Items Coming into Jamaica
• Duty Free – Many of the shops in Jamaica are both tax and duty free, which means customs’ agents see merchandise being taken off the island. However, some people bring duty-free items onto the island for personal use. This is acceptable but only what is deemed to be a “reasonable” amount is allowed. In other words, the quantity of items needs to match what an individual would use. Keep in mind that in some instances, an import tax must be paid on these items.

• Tobacco and Alcohol - Both cigarettes and alcohol are sold throughout Jamaica but again, some people prefer to bring these things onto the island. This too is acceptable but there is a restriction of no more than two cartons of cigarettes and two liters of alcohol.

• Drugs – At no time are illicit drugs allowed through customs

• Firearms – As with drugs, an individual cannot bring any type of firearms through the customs process

• Prescription Medication – Although it is perfectly legal for a person to bring medication on a trip to Jamaica, it needs to be accompanied by the actual written prescription. For assurance, many people will also bring an original letter from the doctor prescribing the medication.

• Duty Charges – Unfortunately, people must pay a duty on some of the more expensive items brought to Jamaica. For example, a fee is charged for expensive watches, laptop computers, and cameras, among other things. To avoid having to pay, we suggest bringing the original sales receipt or proof of insurance. In addition or in lieu of this, an individual can fill out a “certificate of registration” at the customs office.

Items Going Out of Jamaica
Just as there are specific things to know about bringing certain items into Jamaica, we provided tips for items being taken out if the country as well. After all, it is common for people to spend ample time shopping while in Negril for handcrafted items, souvenirs, artwork, coffee, liquor, and so on.

• Accessibility – When packing for the return trip home, it is helpful to have purchased items where they are readily accessible. This makes the customs process quicker and easier but also eliminates the need for an agent to dig through and mess up suitcases.

• Receipts – Even for the smallest or most inexpensive item purchased, a person needs to keep the receipt and have it available should a customs’ agent want proof.

• Alcohol – Anyone over the age of 21 is allowed to bring up to one liter of alcohol home with the exception that someone who stays less than 48 hours can only bring 150 milliliters through customs.

• Tobacco Products – A person can bring up to 200 cigarettes and up to 100 “non-Cuban” cigars home

• Artwork – Drawings, sculptures, paintings, and even antiques are acceptable

Remember, the port director takes issues seriously so if someone has a question, problem, or complaint, it can be addressed at the point of reentry. This professional is there to help and will do whatever possible to get a position resolution.