AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS
Personal and household effects are those items of furniture and household
equipment which you may need to re-establish a home in Jamaica. A
specified amount of such items, whether new or used, can be imported
free of Customs Duty by an eligible Returning Resident. These are
set out in Appendix A of this Information Pack.
You may, of course, import more than the specified amount of an item,
but excess quantities are liable to Customs Duty. Appendix B-1 of
this Information Pack gives an indication of the current rates of
If the value of items imported in excess of your duty-free allowance
exceeds US$5,000 (five thousand US dollars) they are for Customs purposes
considered as Commercial Goods, and you will require the services
of a Licensed Customs Broker to clear these items. They will be dealt
with as a Customs Entry separate and apart from your personal and
household effects and tools of trade.
When you have selected or acquired the items that you intend to bring
with you, you will, in all likelihood, require the services of a professional
shipper or freight forwarder to pack and arrange for their transportation.
Such items are then classified as Unaccompanied Baggage. (See Section
on Clearing Unaccompanied Baggage for the steps you will be required
to follow to effect clearance of household and personal effects.)
Note that your shipper may have an arrangement with a Licensed Customs
Broker in Jamaica, or can recommend one, who can, for a fee, arrange
the clearance and delivery of your goods in Jamaica. The Information
Pack Directory contains the address of the Customs Brokers Association
of Jamaica from whom further details of the services provided by its
members and the applicable fees may be obtained.
Note also that under the current procedures, if you wish to bring
into the country at the time you enter any small portable household
or other items as accompanied baggage, such items will be detained
at the port of entry by Customs and deemed dutiable until you have
visited the Customs Department to officially confirm your eligibility
for Returning Residents status.
OF THE TRADE
Tools of trade are defined in Jamaican law as follows:
"That type and amount of instruments, tools, equipment, devices
and machinery as would be usually used in the normal course and scope
of a person's profession, trade or occupation without utilizing additional
Returning Residents who wish to import items which fall under this
definition in order to pursue their profession, trade, or occupation
may do so free of Customs Duty, provided that the examining Customs
Officer is satisfied that:
items are for the sole use of the individual for the purposes
of income generation
individual is qualified to use them
are of the type and quantity as can be so used
are not imported for sale or commercial exchange
As is the case with household effects, these items may be either new
If it is your intention to return home to establish a business which
will require the employment of additional labour, any equipment you
may require for others to operate will not fall into the category
of tools of trade. You should therefore include Customs Duty in your
estimation of investment costs in this instance.
Facilities have been put in place for a Returning Resident to be advised,
before actual departure for Jamaica, as to whether items he or she
intends to import as tools of trade will comply with the definition.
This service is available through our diplomatic missions overseas
or the Jamaicans Overseas Department in Kingston.
It will assist the process if you can provide documentary proof of
your qualification and/or experience in your profession, trade or
occupation. Such documents could include:
certificate or diploma from a recognized educational institution,
professional body, or training establishment which has been
notarized or certified
A reference from a former employer or customer attesting to
your experience in the designated field
of professional or business directories in which the service
you offer is listed, etc
You should also provide comprehensive details of the items you wish
to import as tools of trade. In the case of used equipment you should
provide a detailed inventory of the items along with a professional
valuation as to their current condition and worth, except in the case
of equipment less than one year old where the original supplier's
invoice can be provided.
To be considered "used", the items of equipment should have been in
your possession, and in use, for a period of six (6) months or more.
If you propose to acquire new equipment, you should ask your supplier
for a pro-forma invoice giving full details of the items and their
If you visit or write your Mission to request this service, the designated
Consular Officer will forward copies of the relevant documents you
have provided to the Jamaicans Overseas Department in Kingston. The
Department will consult with the Customs Authorities to verify whether
the specified tools of trade will be allowed duty-free entry. In the
event that the items do not qualify for duty-free treatment, the Department
will give an indication of the rate of duty which would be payable.
The overall review process should be completed within approximately
ten (10) working days, and you will be notified in writing. It should
be carefully noted that as the laws currently stand, a formal assessment
of Customs Duty, or determination of compliance for duty-free importation
of tools of trade can only be made by the Examining Officer on clearance
of the items. The special arrangements introduced under the Charter
should however give some reasonable indication in both areas.