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JIS News

To avoid delays during the Yuletide season the Jamaica Customs Department is strongly advising travellers to adhere to some simple guidelines.
Speaking with JIS News, Public Relations Manager at Jamaica Customs, Naomi Goulbourne-Rodney recommended that prior to travelling persons who know exactly what they want to import should contact the Customs Department to ascertain the procedure for importing goods, to get an idea as to the duty attached to these items and other information relevant to importing.
Additionally, when returning to the island persons are handed a customs declaration form (C5) on the aircraft. It is important to complete this document before getting to the customs officer because if this is not done it will result in delays.
Persons are further encouraged to always have documents and invoices on hand when going through customs as this makes the process easier. In addition, anyone shipping or air freighting unaccompanied luggage should declare this information on the C5 so that the Customs Officer can present them with a C27 form.
“As a Jamaican resident you are allowed US$500 every time you travel, on personal and household effects. Persons who did not receive all that allowance at the airport can therefore receive the additional amount at the wharf or air cargo on unaccompanied luggage. However, persons who receive the full allowance at the airport are not entitled to any additional amount,” stated Mrs. Rodney.
At Christmas time the Ministry of Agriculture accommodates persons taking tinned ham and turkey into the country. Before travelling, permits should be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture’s Veterinary division. If the items are brought back without a permit, it is considered a breach and the items will be confiscated by Customs. The Ministry is not inclined to give permits after the fact, Mrs. Rodney said.
“I am encouraging persons to write or call the Ministry of Agriculture if they plan on taking back ham or turkey during this season. Individuals should give the name of the item they plan on taking back, the quantity they wish to import and the place of origin. This should be done at least two weeks before you plan to travel so that everything can be put in place,” she stressed.
Similar measures exist for persons wishing to import plants, fruits and vegetables in small quantities. However, the Plant Quarantine Division should be contacted to handle such imports. The letter should be addressed to the Chief Plant Quarantine Inspector outlining the name of the item, quantity and country of origin as fruits, vegetables and meats are not allowed from every country.
During holiday seasons, particularly Christmas, the Department tries to have available staff to satisfy the need at the ports. “We make more staff available during Christmas and even though we tell persons not to wait until the last minute to do shipping it is still a challenge,” Mrs. Rodney said.
Customers are reminded that having proper documentation as well as knowing their rights and responsibilities helps to minimize delays in the process.
For personal shipment persons need to be familiar with the import entry (C78X) and the goods declaration form (C86), which is the document importers use to state the content of their shipment. Persons receiving shipments should ask the sender to clearly state the contents or Customs will be forced to do an examination that will incur a charge of $1,200 to complete a Bill of Sight (C24).