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Jamaica Port Clearance 

Returning Residents

Jamaica Port Clearance - At Jamaica Customs, the system is extremely thorough and with the best will in the world can seem frustrating, but if you have the required paperwork and relevant knowledge, there is no reason why you should not get your goods cleared in the shortest possible time.


The following guidelines are courtesy of the Jamaica Customs’ website:  


Having arrived in Jamaica, you will wish to clear the personal and household effects and tools of trade which you have shipped, as soon as possible.

In the Customs terminology these are referred to as your Unaccompanied Baggage.


Jamaica Port Clearance - Required Forms

During your journey you would have been provided with a Customs Declaration Form C.5 for presentation to the Customs Officer at the airport. In addition to the other details required, you should indicate in the space provided on the form the number of pieces of Unaccompanied Baggage you have shipped. 


On presenting the Declaration Form to a Customs Officer you should indicate that you are a Returning Resident, and that you require an Unaccompanied Baggage Declaration Form C.27.  Click here for samples of forms www.jacustoms.gov.jm 



Jamaica Port Clearance - Interview

As was earlier indicated, you should then visit the Returning Residents Unit of the Customs Department at their Head Office (www.jacustoms.gov.jm) to attend an interview.

If the interviewing officer is satisfied that you meet the criteria for eligibility, your C.27 Form will be stamped accordingly, certifying your Returning Resident Status. 


However, this exercise can only be carried out when you have been notified by your shipping agents that your personal and household effects and equipment have arrived and are ready for clearance. 

Please note that the original shipment documents (Bill of Lading, Airway Bill etc.) must be presented at the interview.

It is also important to note that you are required to complete the importation of your personal and household effects within six months of being certified by the Customs Authorities.

Prior to departure your shipper will have provided you with a copy of the Bill of Lading, and advised you of the local agent of the shipping company or airline which has carried your goods. The Bill of Lading is the official shipping document, and is essentially an inventory of all the items you have shipped.


Jamaica Port Clearance - Arrival of Shipment


On being advised by the local shipping agent that your goods have arrived you should visit their offices, where the Bill of Lading is validated, and a further document, a Bill of Sight, may be issued.

You should also go to the wharfage or warehousing company responsible for the storage of your goods.

It is important to note that storage costs are payable for goods that are kept at the port for more than seven (7) days after the ship's arrival. 

Jamaica Port Clearance - Next Step


The next step is to visit the Customs Manifest Branch at the Cargo Section of the Port of Entry, whether at the airport or the wharf, to which your shipment was consigned. Have with you the Bill of Lading, the Bill of Sight, and your C.27 Form.

The documents are validated by the officers there, who will retain the Bill of Sight (if one has been issued).


The validated documents should then be taken to the warehouse where your goods are stored, and they will be first examined by the security officer on duty before you can be admitted. On admittance, a Customs Examination Officer will examine your goods upon presentation by the warehouse locators. 

Jamaica Port Clearance - Excess


In the event that you have imported items in excess of the personal and household effects allowance, Customs Duty will be assessed on their value at the prevailing rates. www.jacustoms.gov.jm/docs.pdf - click link for specifics.


With tools of trade the Customs Officer will make a determination of compliance with the definition of tools of trade for duty-free importation and permit free entry, or indicate the level of duty payable as appropriate.


Jamaica Port Clearance - Payment

Once the examination is completed, the Customs Officer will make the appropriate notation on your C.27 Form, which you should then take back to the Customs Manifest Branch. There you will be required to pay any Customs Duty assessed and an Official Release for your goods will be issued


You will also be issued with a Gate Pass which enables you to remove your goods. During removal, various checks will be made, and so it is important that you have all the relevant documentation with you. Note that your copy of the Bill of Lading is to be left with the warehousing or wharfage company.  


Note:  Remember that, with the exception of certifying your eligibility for Returning Resident status, all of the steps noted above can be carried out by a Licensed Customs Broker.


Jamaica Port Clearance - Summary

So to summarise –the following documents are “must haves” in order to successfully clear your goods without delay:

  • Bill of Lading and Airway Bill - you get this when you ship: 
  • Unaccompanied Baggage Declaration Form C.27. – you get this at the airport when you come into Jamaica – if not ask for it (if you don’t have it for Customs, you will have to return to the airport of entry to get it – avoid this delay by getting it when you arrive.
  • Customs Declaration Form (Form C.5) – you get this on the plane, complete and hand in at airport and request C.27 above.
  • When notified that shipment has arrived and ready for clearance visit the Returning Residents Unit of the Customs Department at their Head office to confirm your status. 
  • Bill of Sight – this may be issued at the wharf
  • Gate Pass – issued at the wharf releasing your goods


Courtesy of Jamaica Customs Website.

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