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Clearing Unaccompanied Baggage: What You Need To Do

IMPORTANT NOTE: As soon as you are notified that your goods have arrived in Jamaica and are ready for pick up, visit their offices where the Bill of Lading is validated and a further document Bill of Sight may be issued. Next, visit the Returning Residents unit of the Customs Department at their Head Office to attend an interview. The interviewing Customs Agent will determine your eligibility and stamp your Unaccompanied Baggage Declaration Form C.27. You must present your original shipping documents (Bill of Lading, Airway Bill, etc.) at this interview. You must complete the importation of your personal and household effects within six (6) months of their being certified by the Customs Authorities.

Once the Unaccompanied Baggage Declaration Form C.27 has been stamped, you can turn the entire process over to a Licensed Customs Broker who, for a fee, can process and deliver your goods to you at your destination home or storage. You can do all the processing and pickup yourself if you desire. Ask the Customs Manifest Branch at the Cargo Section at the Port of Entry where your goods are located for assistance. Even if you wish to bring into the country 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 Resident status.

TOOLS of the TRADE: Like the Personal or Household Effects may be either new or used. To assist with the compliance to the rules and regulations, you can provide documentary proof of your qualification and/or experience in your profession, trade or occupation. Such documentation could include :

  • Certificate or Diploma from a recognized educational institution, professional body or training establishment which has been notarized or otherwise properly certified.
  • References from a former employer or customer attesting to your expertise in your designated field.
  • Copies of professional or business directories in which the service you offer is listed or otherwise shown.

You will need to supply comprehensive details on the Tools of the Trade you wish to import. With used equipment, you need to also provide a professional valuation as to their current condition and worth, except if less than one (1) year old where 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, ask your supplier for a pro-forma invoice giving full details of the items and their current price.

You are advised to visit or write your nearest Jamaican Consular or Mission and provide them with all the information suggested above concerning the Tools of the Trade you wish to import into Jamaica. The Consular Officer will forward these documents on your behalf to the Jamaicans Overseas Department in Kingston where they will consult with the Customs Authority to verify whether the specified Tools of the Trade will be allowed Duty Free entry. In the event they do not qualify, the Overseas Department will give an indication of the rate of duty which will be payable. This overall review process should be completed within ten (10) working days and you will be notified in writing.

Note: Only the Examining Officer on clearance of the items when they arrive in Jamaica can make the final determination as to the formal assessment of Customs Duty or compliance for Duty Free status. Having this overall review at time of clearance could be helpful if problems arise.

About the author

Bill Evans