A total of 70 persons have utilised the Jamaica Customs Agency’s (JCA’s) returning residents online application and booking portal since it was introduced approximately two months ago.
This is according to Director, Customs House Operations, Kevin Carter, who noted that this new online process will ensure greater efficiency, having now eliminated the need for persons to undertake the application process for returning resident and returning student status, at the agency’s offices.
“The idea is to ensure that the returning resident has an outlet to be catered for in a more efficient [manner]. We also… reduced certain documentation, so [the process is] a little less strenuous on the returning resident and we can quickly deal with the approval process,” he said, during an interview with JIS News, following an online forum dubbed: ‘Triple C’ Online Engagement: ‘Click, Connect and Converse with Customs’, hosted by the JCA on Thursday (July 30).
Providing a breakdown of the number of applications that have been received to date, the Director informed that during May, seven returning residents and one returning student used the portal. In June, 13 returning residents used the system. As of Thursday (July 30), a total of 47 returning residents and two returning students used the service during July.
Mr. Carter further explained that under Jamaica’s Customs laws, provisions are made for the granting of certain benefits, exemptions and entitlements to returning students and returning residents and the spouse of returning residents. For instance, this cohort can benefit from exemptions from import duties, General Consumption Tax (GCT) and other fees.
He noted that the online process now offers greater convenience, especially for applicants applying from abroad, who were previously required to visit Jamaica to manually carry out the application process and physically submit the required documentation to the Returning Resident Unit.
In the meantime, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Commissioner of Customs, Velma Ricketts Walker, said the agency made this move online as it continues to improve its digital environment, “to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers”.
Ms. Ricketts Walker said she is pleased with the high usage that has been registered since the new online service was launched.
“We have seen the monthly usage double in terms of application submissions and are certainly happy for the reach and access the online environment has provided our Jamaicans,” she said.
Eligible applicants can visit the JCA’s website at www.jacustoms.gov.jm to access the portal.
A returning resident is defined as a Jamaican national who has attained the age of 18 years and has been resident overseas for not less than three consecutive years, and is returning to Jamaica to reside permanently.
A returning student is a Jamaican national who has resided abroad for at least one year but less than three consecutive years for the purpose of pursuing a course of study and returns to Jamaica to reside permanently.
In order to qualify for returning resident/returning student status and benefit from, for example, concessions on personal and household effects, instruments, tools, machinery, and equipment, and other benefits, an applicant must satisfy certain requirements.
For further information, persons may contact the agency’s Returning Resident and Customer Service Units at 876-922-5140-8 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.