Getting Through Customs on Trinidad

Going through customs is made easier by knowing the policy on regulated and restricted goods

Photo credit: © Czuber |

Trinidad and Tobago Customs

Everyone has things they can't live without during a vacation, and travel officials expect a certain amount of personal items to be brought into Trinidad and Tobago when visitors arrive. You'll likely be carrying out more items on the trip home than you came in with, so it's important to anticipate any taxes or restrictions on items brought into and taken out of Trinidad and Tobago.

When arriving on Trinidad and Tobago, all visitors must pass through immigration and customs, where luggage and personal property may be inspected. To avoid possible delays or even pricey taxation on items you are traveling with, you should know Trinidad and Tobago's customs policies as well as those of your home country. Sometimes customs lines are long and delays inevitable, but most can gain clearance through customs with relative ease when you know what to expect.

Several items must be declared before you may gain clearance through both islands' customs. Tobacco and alcohol products are regulated when visiting most islands in the Caribbean, so travelers are permitted to bring up to 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars and up to 1 quart of liquor or spirits without any taxation or duty when entering Trinidad and Tobago. Other personal items such as clothing and most electronics can be brought to the island duty-free.

When packing for your vacation, try to bring only the necessary personal items. If you bring an excessive amount of personal items, customs officers may impose a charge on them if they believe these items exceed the quantity for personal use. These items are either prohibited or regulated when visiting Trinidad or Tobago:

  • Weapons and firearms are not allowed to be shipped or brought onto the island.

  • Narcotics and illegal drugs cannot be brought to Trinidad or Tobago, and vacationers must have all of their prescription drugs in originally labeled bottles. Prescription drugs are not allowed to be shipped to the island.

  • Food and plant products are regulated and often restricted when entering the country, and some animals including dogs and cats are prohibited from visiting the islands, unless they meet certain requirements.

Travelers can find more information about restricted and prohibited items by contacting any of these agencies:

Agency Contact Info
Customs and Excise Division Nicholas Court
Abercromby Street & Independence Square
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad
Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards Lot 1, Century Drive
Trincity Industrial Estate

Ministry of Health
Chemistry/Food and Drugs Division
92 Frederick Street
Ministry of Food Production and Resources Plant Quarantine
Port Marine Building
Queen's Wharf

Travelers returning to the United States will also have to be aware that some items could be taxed or prohibited. Most items must fall under certain quantities to enter without penalty. These are the items that are regulated by U.S. customs and the amounts in which they can be brought into the country:

If you're 21 or older, vacationers can bring up to one liter of alcohol into the country. Up to one liter of perfume containing alcohol can be brought back into the country as well as 200 cigarettes and 100 non-Cuban cigars.

Packages can be sent home without duty as long as it is one parcel per addressee per day, with the exception of alcohol and tobacco products, or perfume worth more than $5(USD).

Original works of art including sculptures and painting and antiques (objects more than 100 years old) can be brought into the country duty-free.

Up to $200(USD) in goods can be mailed to the United States as long as they are for personal use. Vacationers should be sure to mark "PERSONAL USE" on the outside of the parcel and attach a list of its contents and their retail value.

When sending a parcel containing goods that have been used, mark the parcel "AMERICAN GOODS RETURNED" to avoid duty charges.

Customs policies are subject to change, but travelers can keep up to date with the most current information by checking with their home countries' customs. This list contains contact information for some customs offices around the world:

Country Contact
United States U.S. Customs Service
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20229
United Kingdom HM Customs & Excise
Canada Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Australia Australian Customs Service
New Zeland New Zealand Customs Service

By understanding the customs policies of Trinidad and Tobago as well as the requirements of their home country, travelers can pass through customs more smoothly and be on their way to enjoying their tropical island getaway.


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