Unlike many of its Caribbean neighbors, Jamaica is firm in its effort to prevent the import of illegal drugs and other contraband. Expect to have your luggage thoroughly checked upon entering the country. To avoid having items taken away or charged with an import tax, follow the Jamaican Customs Department's (jacustoms.gov.jm) guidelines strictly. If you do, you can come to the border worry-free.

Register high-priced items like laptops, cameras or watches with the Customs and Border Patrol division of Homeland Security (cbp.gov). Visit the nearest CBP office and ask for Form 4457, the "Certificate of Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad." This certificate will exempt you from paying duty on an item with a unique serial number when you enter Jamaica.

Limit yourself to two liters of alcohol and two cartons of cigarettes when passing the border into Jamaica.

Declare all prescription medication, accompanied by a doctor's prescription or signed note, when you pass through Customs.

Show your Certificate of Registration when you declare your camera, laptop or other expensive, registered items.

Bring only as many duty-free items as you are sure to use yourself. Jamaica's customs law stipulates that passengers may bring a "reasonable amount" of duty-free goods, but the exact quantities are not specified. For safety, keep your duty-free purchases to a minimum.

Respect the prohibition that Jamaica places on firearms, recreational drugs, counterfeit currency, "indecent or obscene" photos, prints, films or articles and publications with the subject matter of occultism, magic or witchcraft. Jamaica's Customs Department specifically prohibits occult publications by de Laurence Scott and Company of Chicago and Red Star Publishing Company of Chicago. Jamaica also restricts the import of all meat products, unless you have a certificate from the Ministry of Agriculture.

Prepare for a thorough customs check when you enter Jamaica by adding an additional half-hour to your arrival time.

Things You Will Need
  • Certificate of Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad

  • Doctor's prescription for medication


Jamaica's Customs Department takes suspected importing and exporting of drugs very seriously. If you are asked to carry any sort of package through Customs, alert Customs officials and do not carry the package. Keep your own luggage secure and in sight at all times to ensure that nothing illicit finds its way into your suitcase.