We have produced this guide independently of Jamaican Customs to help our Carib Shipping Customers to navigate the import duty policies for Returning Residents of Jamaica. This guidance is not legally binding and only intended for guidance.  The guidance is not exhaustive and must not solely be relied upon for the duties one must pay.

We have not included the rates that you would be eligible to pay or discount levels as this is unique to each person's circumstances and materials imported. Once you have exercised the process as detailed below and your application for Returning Resident discount has been processed Jamaica Customs will inform you of the discounts that you qualify for.

For an exhaustive list of duties and procedures, persons are advised to contact Jamaica Customs or their local customs broker for more information.

Returning Residents are entitled to exemptions from import duties and taxes on household effects, whether new or used at the point of import into Jamaica.

Who is a Returning Resident?

Jamaican man wondering Who is a Returning Resident?

To qualify for certain discounts on imported goods to Jamaica, there are import duty exemptions for Returning residents, first, you need to establish if you are a returning resident. As of Jan 2021, The following criteria and definition are required to be met:

  1. Returning Resident: A returning resident is a person who the proper officer is satisfied is a Jamaican national who has attained the age of eighteen (18) years and has been resident overseas for not less than three consecutive years and is returning to Jamaica to reside permanently.

General passenger allowances:

The following categories of passengers are normally processed as Returning Residents once they meet the criteria specified for Returning Resident:

  • Passenger returning after overseas migration
  • Returning from overseas assignment/employment/study/special mission/etc- lasting three consecutive years or more (Foreign Service Officers and Repatriates)

Spouse of Returning Resident- intending to reside permanently in Jamaica.


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In order to qualify for Returning Resident’s status and benefit from concessions on personal and household effects, instruments, tools, machinery, and equipment, an applicant must satisfy the requirements as outlined below:


1 - One-time Exemptions for Returning Resident

Exemptions are applied to both accompanied and unaccompanied baggage of a passenger approved as a Returning Resident. This includes shipping containers of furniture or household effects.

NB: Qualified applicants can benefit only ONCE from this concession

Exemption from the payment of duties and taxes on imported articles and goods is granted as a one-time benefit for all Returning Residents.

2 - Entitlements to the spouse of a Returning Resident

A spouse of a Returning Resident is entitled to benefit from exemptions granted to his/her partner as long as the spouse satisfies the criteria of that of a Returning Resident.

3 - Exemptions on Instruments, Tools, Machinery, and Equipment for Returning Resident and Spouse, whether New or Used

An exemption is granted in respect of instruments, tools, equipment and machinery (new or used) referred to in paragraphs (1) and (2) below.

General Conditions for Exemptions on Household Effects, Instruments, Tools, Machinery, and Equipment

  1. Imported within six months before or after arrival or such longer period approved by Commissioner (The Returning Resident)
  2. Not imported for sale or commercial exchange
  3. Intended for the sole use of the returning resident/spouse in his/her trade, profession, occupation or employment (tools, instrument, machinery, equipment)
  4. Of such type and in such quantity as can be so used (tools, instrument, machinery, equipment)

A full list of new and used household effects that may be exempt from duty for Returning residents is contained in this attached document. This document is accurate as of Jan 2021.

4 - General Processing Procedure for Returning Resident

A Returning Resident may be interviewed if deemed necessary as a result of your application to Jamaica Customs.

  1. Returning Residents are required to make applications online and upload relevant documents for review.
  2. The Returning Residents’ Unit will respond to applications and process applicants accordingly.
  3. The relevant Exemption Notice will be prepared and applicants notified of the next step in the process for the clearance of shipment, including any other relevant documents that may be required prior to activation of exemption and clearance of goods.
  4. Returning Resident completes listing of new and used household effects and tools of the trade, by assigning quantities and estimated values, and affixing signature. The declaration of values will be used when preparing the Customs Import Declaration (IM4 / IMS4).
  5. Returning Residents are no longer required to attend the Unit for the processing of the application, except in extenuating circumstances of which they will be notified.

5 . General Documentary Requirements for Returning Residents (including Spouses of Returning Residents)

  • Valid Jamaican passport, or
  • Valid non-Jamaican passport, endorsed with an Unconditional Stamp by the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (Immigration Section)


  • Notarized Letter confirming residence abroad for three consecutive years, or
  • Letter from Consulate confirming resident status, or
  • Work Permit (applicable only in particular circumstances), or
  • Retirement Papers/ Pension Advice/Social Security Letter (applicable only in special circumstances), or
  • Payslip for the last quarter of the last three consecutive years prior to application for Returning Resident status
  • Letter from Employer validating period of employment with the organization.


  • Declaration of intention for permanent residency in Jamaica (declaration must be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or notarized by a Notary Public), or
  • Rental /Lease Agreement (if applicable), or
  • Utility Bill (JPS, NWC, FLOW), or
  • Residency letter from the head of household certified by a Justice of the Peace along with an attached utility bill (if living with a family member or friend).
  • Any other pertinent documentation that may substantiate intention for permanent residence in Jamaica


  • Valid Jamaican passport, or
  • Valid non-Jamaican passport, endorsed with an Unconditional Stamp by the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (Immigration Section)
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Returning Resident Unit
Jamaica Customs Agency
Myers’ Wharf, Newport East
Kingston 15
Telephone: (867) 750 3098 or (876) 750 3005
(876) 922-5140 extensions 2520 to 25
Jamaica Customs Agency
Montego Bay Revenue Service Centre Bldg
18B Howard Cooke Blvd., Montego Bay, St James
Telephone: 952-0000 extension 2023

For more information concerning returning residents please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll definitely try to help you, but this one is kind of sticky, and much of the information will be found with Jamaica Customs.