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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    24

    Default Yes, I am not experienced at this..."declare" and "duty free"

    OK, so i am going to start a new thread, and all that i ask is that we don't talk about jean shorts (lol). Andrew and I have never traveled outside of the USA. We have sent away for our birth certificates so we can get our passports. Here are my questions, and don't laugh...

    What does it mean when you are going through customs, and people are talking about "declaring" anything?
    How do you know what you need to declare, and what do you do with it once you declare it?

    Second, I hear a lot of talk about buying things "duty free"...what the heck does this mean?


    Are you done laughing, now????

    Thanks for the input...maybe i will let you talk about jean shorts, but only if you use them as examples in your replies!!

    May 2012 can't get here soon enough.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    291

    Default

    It is my understanding that you only declare items that are not for personal use on the way into Jamaica. Now, if you were to bring a case full of jean shorts to donate while you are there, you may need to declare it. On the way back home, however, you need to declare anything you bought while on vacation (alcohol, coffee, misc souvenirs, jean shorts, etc) and list their values. This is all spelled out and made to be as clear as mud on your customs forms. ;-) You must pay taxes on anything above a certain amount (can't tell you what that is because I really don't know and have never bought that much).

    "Duty Free" means tax free. These items are not necessarily less expensive than anywhere else you may shop, but you don't have to pay any taxes on them. It can make a significant difference if purchasing high-dollar items (jewelry or designer jean shorts).

    Hope this helps!!!

    Mark & April
    CSA - 06/03 (Honeymoon), 07/08, 10/09, 10/11, 5/14
    Secret Rendezvous - 11/05 (CN), 06/07 (CSS), 12/12 (CTI)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    916

    Default

    Declare is what you do upon return. They will give you a card on the airplane to fill out what you are bringing back under certain categories of items, such as liquor, tobacco, food stuffs, etc. There are laws about how much you can bring back. You will eventually give that to customs.

    Duty is a fancy word for taxes. Real duty free shops, not like the ones at some of the US airports, but like the one in MoBay, sell items like liquor, food stuffs, etc, super cheap, because of laws that allow them to sell without certain taxes. So, as an example, you will find rum for $29/bottle at certain shops on the island, but at the airport duty free shop, it may only be like $11. Duty free is definitely the way to go for rum, jerk seasonings, cigarettes/cigars, rum cake, etc.

  4. #4

    Default

    You'll receive customs forms on your departing flight to Montego Bay. The instructions are pretty much cut-and-dry. Just answer the questions honestly and keep the form for your return flight. Hint: Take a couple of ballpoint pens with you, as you must fill out the form(s) on your flight to MBJ...and the airlines invariably have too few pens!

    You have to "declare" certain items you bring into Jamaica...like currency in excess of $10,000 and that sort of thing. When returning back to the US, you have to "declare" the items you've purchased and are bringing back into the US. It's really simple, honest it is.

    As for duty free: There are limits to the number of certain items you can bring back to the US without having to pay "duty" (import tax). Liquor, tobacco and other items like that come to mind. If you don't exceed the "duty free" quantity, you owe no import tax when you bring it home. Make sense now?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    2,000

    Default

    Not laughing here... these are understandably confusing.

    As you fly to Jamaica and then fly back home, you will be asked to fill in immigration and customs forms while in transit. This is to allow the country you are entering to know who and what is coming in.

    The customs portion you are inquiring about is to account for the value of goods you are carrying in with you, at least that portion of those goods that will be staying behind or have value. A portion of those particular goods are subject to the "duty free" status on which no import duty is charged. There are limitations to duty free status, and this will be explained on the forms you will make out. (Here's a tip... bring a BLACK or BLUE ink pen with you on your carry-on so that you can fill in these forms. Flight attendants are always short of pens on international flights... for the life of me, I don't understand why the airlines don't supply them gratis as a form of advertising!)

    Things you will need to declare on the way home are basically anything you purchase while on the island... coffee, jewelry, artwork, alcoholic spirits, foodstuffs, clothing, etc. As you can probably surmise, it will be of some value to you to keep your receipts for everything you purchase so that you can provide a value to all the categories or items that you report on your customs form.

    It should also be evident that you will likely not be carrying anything with you into Jamaica that will require reporting or duty. There are, of course, exceptions, and you should make yourself aware of this by visiting the appropriate website(s).

    I hope this hasn't caused more confusion, but there you have it...

    Bye the way, we will also be travelling to the island in May, returning home to SweptAway on May 19... when and to where are you travelling?
    Chris

    "In an abundance of water, the fool is thirsty..." - Bob Marley - "Rat Race"


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    306

    Default

    Meggy

    Before you go to Jamaica, or anywhere outside the USA for that matter, check on line to see what you can and cannot take into that country. It may be fruit or plants (australia) or more than 200 cigarettes or even over 1 litre of alcohol for example. If you decide to travel to that country with, say, more than 200 cigarettes then you should declare that when you pass through customs at the other end of your outward journey (not passport control, that is the first place you go through). They will then ask you to pay tax on whatever it is that you have too much of. If you don't pay the tax then they will confiscate it. Best to make sure you know just how much rum you can bring back home otherwise you may find it is more expensive than at Walmart or the local liquor store.

    Customs is after passport control and is where you would go through the red area for 'declare' and the green area for 'nothing to declare'. If you are carrying contraband (i.e. stuff you shouldn't have, be it drugs, guns, more than 200 cigarettes (!!) and do not go through the 'declare' area to declare what you have, there is a possibility that you will be caught (don't look furtive when you go thro' the nothing to declare line! I know you will, even if you are carrying nothing!) and a large fine or jail term will ensue. In simple terms, people are allowed to carry guns (for sport or such like) but only if they have a licence so to do and so long as they declare the guns at the 'Declare' section of customs. If their paperwork checks out then there is no problem. If they went through 'nothing to declare' and were caught with guns then there would be a major problem, because they didn't declare, despite the fact that they have a licence to import the guns.

    It is really nothing to worry about and going home will be even worse than most places on earth. I presume you are American? I think more than 85% of Americans don't have a passport as they live in a lovely country that has many, many interesting places to visit and most climates. It is not at all surprising that this is a first time for you, or that it is confusing. Be prepared to be thoroughly searched (shoes off etc) by a rather brusque and quite rude immigration officer when you land back in America. I understand the need for searches but there is really no need for aggression or rudeness and my experience is (sorry my American friends) that this is the norm in USA airports. You may say that if one death resulting from terrorism is saved then it is all worthwhile. I agree but this has nothing to do with common courtesy. I don't mean to be obstreperous and I really love America (especially NY) but Meggy, please be aware that the worst part of your journey will be the homeward part, partly because your amazing holiday in Jamaica will be over and partly because of the officiousness of the airport staff.

    Have a great time and visit is someday here in UK - History abounds but it can be a bit wet on occasions!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    30

    Default

    Meggy, thank you for asking this question as I had every intention of it! I, too, have never been outside the country, my fiance has, but only as a child. We will be arriving on 10/9/2011!!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    258

    Default

    When you go through customs after getting your luggage at the airport you go thru the "nothing to declare" line. When you leave to go back home, while you are waiting for your flight , you can shop in duty free stores. These stores sell items a bit cheaper since there are no import taxes on them.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    126

    Default

    My first trip out of the country was last year when we went to CSA. I too was confused with what needed to be delcared and such. The customs form is pretty self explanitory and walks you through what you would need to declare. Just an FYI, you don't have to declare prescription medications. I can't remember right now what is considered "declarable" (is that a word?), but like I said, the form you fill out on the plane explains it.

    As for duty free, you can buy things at the airport on your way home and you don't have to pay taxes on them...such as rum cream

  10. #10

    Default

    I feel your pain. We are going for our first trip out of the country as well and those are great questions. I didn't think about the "declaring" part, but I always wondered what duty free meant. I'm anxious to find out too, so I hope someone out there can explain.

    -Erin

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    32

    Default

    Hey Meggy43!
    You are going to LOVE Couples Resorts! My husband and I are going back in October for our 2 year anniv.
    I am by no means and expert at "declaring" or "duty free" but here is a little of my experience:
    As long as you stay within your limits of items you will not have to "declare" anything. Example: Each person is allowed 200 ciggs., 3 bottles of liquor (within a mL amount), etc. to bring home from Jamaica. This information will be given to you on the plane to Jamaica by the airline attendant. On your way there you will fill out a form on the plane all you should have to do is fill out your home info and passport#. It is what gets you through customs. It will tell you on that form what items have restrictions on bringing in the country and taking home. When in doubt ask the airline attendant or someone near you. People will help you.

    As far as "duty free" is concerned: When you are on your way home you can shop in the duty free shops at the Montego Bay Airport. Basically you get alcohol, smokes, and jewelry at an awesome price! I will never waste my money on the shopping trips for a bottle of liquor to take home again. They are CHEAP at the airport. Again just stay within your limits, the shop owners will tell you exactly how much you can take back if your not sure. Duty Free is basically like tax-free, clearance shopping so be sure you save a lil money for that.

    I hope that helped a little, again I am in no way an expert if anyone has something else to add. Have a blast on your trip!

    Pamster

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,288

    Default

    Do Not forget a pen to fill out forms on the plane.

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pamster View Post
    Hey Meggy43!
    You are going to LOVE Couples Resorts! My husband and I are going back in October for our 2 year anniv.
    I am by no means and expert at "declaring" or "duty free" but here is a little of my experience:
    As long as you stay within your limits of items you will not have to "declare" anything. Example: Each person is allowed 200 ciggs., 3 bottles of liquor (within a mL amount), etc. to bring home from Jamaica. This information will be given to you on the plane to Jamaica by the airline attendant. On your way there you will fill out a form on the plane all you should have to do is fill out your home info and passport#. It is what gets you through customs. It will tell you on that form what items have restrictions on bringing in the country and taking home. When in doubt ask the airline attendant or someone near you. People will help you.

    As far as "duty free" is concerned: When you are on your way home you can shop in the duty free shops at the Montego Bay Airport. Basically you get alcohol, smokes, and jewelry at an awesome price! I will never waste my money on the shopping trips for a bottle of liquor to take home again. They are CHEAP at the airport. Again just stay within your limits, the shop owners will tell you exactly how much you can take back if your not sure. Duty Free is basically like tax-free, clearance shopping so be sure you save a lil money for that.

    I hope that helped a little, again I am in no way an expert if anyone has something else to add. Have a blast on your trip!

    Pamster
    Clarification: If you're coming back into or through Texas (DFW), you're limited to ONE liter of spirits per passenger. If you have a layover anywhere, be sure to check your liquids or the TSA is going to take them away from you!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    290

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jdanjou View Post
    My first trip out of the country was last year when we went to CSA. I too was confused with what needed to be delcared and such. The customs form is pretty self explanitory and walks you through what you would need to declare. Just an FYI, you don't have to declare prescription medications. I can't remember right now what is considered "declarable" (is that a word?), but like I said, the form you fill out on the plane explains it.

    As for duty free, you can buy things at the airport on your way home and you don't have to pay taxes on them...such as rum cream
    Be careful if you buy things like rum cream if you have a connecting flight. If your flight is non-stop to your final destination then you're OK.
    Captain Jim
    "I will grow old....
    But I won't grow up"

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pamster View Post
    Hey Meggy43!
    You are going to LOVE Couples Resorts! My husband and I are going back in October for our 2 year anniv.
    We will see you there for our first trip, our 28th wedding anniversary and Catrionas birthday

    Ray

  16. #16

    Default

    OK, being newbies to this declare thing too, let me make sure I've got this straight:
    Going into Jamaica: Declare any items listed on the customs forms (as mentioned cigarettes, plants, that sort of thing {actually had to do something along these lines flying into Hawaii a couple years ago})

    Leaving Jamaica / going into the USA: Declare any purchases we made, especially if listed on the customs forms (such as bottles of rum for gifts or ourselves) CHECK any bag(s) which contain said bottles to avoid TSA taking them at the checkpoints.

    Sound about right?
    Jason & Kathy
    CTI newbies arriving in:
    59 days
    16 hours
    42 minutes
    40 seconds

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    54

    Default

    Just to add a few things to the responses you already have. The main thing is, don't worry about it. Everyone has a first time that they go through this, and I promise you will figure it out. They give the forms to you on the plan and they are pretty self-explanatory. Once you get to the airport, you don't have a choice about where to go, so you will get in the right lines, just follow everyone else, and if you have questions, just ask. I never care if someone thinks I'm stupid, I would rather ask and know what I am doing.

    One other thing, when you go through the line in Jamaica, they will give you part of the form back--usually they stick it in your passport. KEEP up with this, you will give it back on your way out.

    and yes, if you buy liquids at the airport in Jamaica, you can take the on the plane since you have already gone through the security. But, if you have to connect after landing in the U.S. you will have to pick up your bags, walk them over and re-check them. This is not a big deal and just do what everyone else is doing. But, be sure you put your liquids in your checked baggage at this time.

    It can be a little overwhelming your first time, but I promise you will be fine, and you will love Jamaica!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    2,000

    Default

    Warren.cple... just to clarify...

    On your way home, IF you purchase any liquids (alcohol, perfume, sauces, etc.) in the duty free mall at MoBay, you can carry them onto the plane. AT YOUR FIRST PORT OF ENTRY to the US... you will claim your checked baggage, THEN you will have to pack those liquids in the checked luggage. You will then recheck your luggage through to your final destination with your liquids inside.

    In many airports, this is STILL a requirement, EVEN IF YOUR FIRST PORT OF ENTRY IS YOUR FINAL DESTINATION! The upshot is, you need to be aware of the requirements of your first port of entry.

    I hope that clarifies things for all...
    Chris

    "In an abundance of water, the fool is thirsty..." - Bob Marley - "Rat Race"


  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    325

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by redinthehead View Post
    Do Not forget a pen to fill out forms on the plane.
    Also make sure that the pen has either blue or black ink. My wife filled ours out in purple ink and they made us fill out new ones at immigration.
    Last edited by ORV; September 6th, 2011 at 11:30 AM.

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