Getting Through Customs in Jamaica

Customs procedures are designed to help you bring home all of those souvenirs you picked up in Jamaica

Photo credit: © Brett Critchley |

Jamaica Customs

Avoid long delays passing through Customs by brushing up on some basic information for international travelers headed in and out of Jamaica.

The island's expressive culture makes Jamaica a paradise of arts, crafts and souvenirs for any and every taste. Knowing the customs regulations for Jamaica and your home country will guarantee a hassle-free travel experience. As a visitor, be aware of the following customs, tips and rules before entering the region:

  • You may bring up to two liters of alcohol and two cartons of cigarettes to Jamaica;

  • You may bring a "reasonable" amount of duty-free goods for personal use; anything deemed in excess of "reasonable" may incur an import tax;

  • All prescription drugs must be accompanied by an official prescription;

  • Firearms and recreational drugs are not permitted;

  • United States citizens can avoid paying duty on foreign-made high-ticket items, such as laptops, cameras and watches, by registering them with customs before leaving the country. Consider filing a certificate of registration for items identified with serial numbers or other permanent markings; you can keep the certificate for other trips. Otherwise, bring with you a sales receipt or insurance form to show you owned the item before you left the United States.

As an island shopper, and before returning home, remember these tips:

  • You should keep receipts for all items you buy in Jamaica;

  • When departing, make sure your purchases are easily accessible in case your home country's customs officials request an inspection;

  • If you have any questions or complaints about your customs experience, write to the port director at your point of reentry.

The following additional re-entry rules apply for United States citizens traveling to Jamaica:

  • You may bring back to the U.S. up to one liter of alcohol (if you are 21 or older) or perfume containing alcohol, up to 200 cigarettes, and up to 100 non-Cuban cigars. If you stay fewer than 48 hours, you may bring home up to 150 ml of alcohol, 50 cigarettes, and 10 non-Cuban cigars;

  • You may bring home original works of art, such as paintings, drawings and sculptures, and antiques (officially defined as objects more than 100 years old) duty-free;

  • You may send packages home duty-free, with a limit of one parcel per addressee per day, with the exception of alcohol or tobacco products or perfume worth more than $5(USD);

  • You can mail up to $200(USD) worth of goods home to the U.S. for personal use; be sure to write "PERSONAL USE" on the parcel and attach a list of its contents and their retail value;

  • If you send home a parcel containing personal belongings that have been used, write "AMERICAN GOODS RETURNED" on the package to avoid a duty fee;

  • You may send up to $100(USD) worth of goods as a gift to someone in the U.S. provided you write "UNSOLICITED GIFT" on the package.

Although ganja (Marijuana) is highly common in Jamaica, it is still illegal, and trying to leave the country with it will be met with harsh penalties. There are drug-sniffing dogs at every airport and harbor, and you can expect for your luggage to be searched.

Since customs regulations are subject to change from time to time, it is best to check with your country's specific entry requirements before you leave, and keep your knowledge current using the following contact information:

Country Contact
United States U.S. Customs Service
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20229
Tel: 877/227-5511
United Kingdom HM Customs & Excise
Tel: 0845/010-9000
Canada Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Tel: 800/461-9999
Australia Australian Customs Service
Tel: 1300/363-263
New Zealand New Zealand Customs Service
Tel: 04/473-6099

Don't spend hours waiting in customs because you didn't know the rules.  Arrive prepared, and exiting and entering the country will be a breeze.


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