Explaining the new Customs policy

| 15/11/2018

Several months ago, it was reported that you no longer have to complete customs declaration forms if you have not exceeded your entitlement/concession. However, our customs officers are still expecting completed forms from everyone. What are the facts?

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian statusAuntie’s answer: Yes, you are right about the change in customs requirements (see Customs ditches red tape for passengers under limits and Duty free allowance to increase to $500).

To check on your concerns, I reached out to a Customs Department official who explained that airport and seaport staff were previously advised of the changes, so I’m not sure why you are still seeing forms requested from all arriving passengers.

The official pointed out that anyone within their duty-free allowances does not have to complete the declaration form. They simply head to the green channel at the airport unless a customs officer selects them for a secondary examination.

However, he added, “It is important to note that this policy change does not apply to passengers who have exceeded their permitted allowances and therefore have goods to declare. Those passengers will still be required to complete the Customs declaration form and proceed through the normal and established ‘red channel’ process that Customs currently has in place.”

In addition, anyone bringing in CI$15,000 or more in cash (or its equivalent) is required under customs regulations to declare this on arrival. And the usual rules still apply to declaring such agricultural products as fruits, vegetables, meats and plants, which will be subject to inspection by officers from the Department of Agriculture.

The official also confirmed that the Customs Department is in the process of “developing a new website with the new policy posted”. Once that information is available on the site, I hope that will clarify how the amended system works.

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Category: Ask Auntie, Customs Questions

Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Can they set up a website where I can prepay online? I can scan in my receipts and input the balances and pay with a credit card prior to arrival. I would print or screen shot the confirmation of payment with a barcode of some sort. When I arrive, customs could just scan that confirmation of payment and I could go on my merry little way instead of standing in that line for hours after a late flight.

    Do you know why most people don’t declare? It is not only because they don’t want to pay. It is because it is inconvenient. No one wants to stand in that line after travelling and waiting for two slow staff members to calculate duty.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t have to fill out a form, but I arrived with hand luggage.

  3. Anonymous says:

    On Sunday I arrived at GCM from Miami on AA. Whilst on the aircraft the steward started to hand out immigration and customs forms. I said I don’t need a customs form as I have nothing to declare.
    I was told ‘we have been told we must hand out the form’ the form went to the bottom of my ruck sack.
    On passing through immigration I headed to the green channel where there was a queue of tourists all holding there customs forms, as I passed them the customs officer and I won’t embarrass him said ‘where’s your form ‘
    A ‘ I have nothing to declare I don’t need one’
    Q ‘ I still want your form’
    A I have nothing to declare I do not need to fill out a customs declaration form’
    Q well then you can have your bags x rayed then over there’
    On going to the x ray machine and again being asked for my form I said I have nothing to declare and was sent back to the green channel. Mr customs officer again refused me and sent me back to be x rayed.
    It was quite clear the customs officer did not know the the regulations and on being questioned sent me to x ray out of spite.
    The head of customs talks about being intelligence led and targeted. This certainly was not.
    Please train your staff!!!!!!!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    On another note…. sorry to ask here…. but “why is the article on the Jamaican that brought drugs in food from Jamaica blocked”???????

    CNS: Comments are closed on all crime stories from the time someone is arrested until the case is dropped or there is a guilty plea or a verdict at trial. If you are American, this will seem strange to you. Here, we are risking falling foul of court sub judice rules.

  5. Anonymous says:

    On a recent trip back from miami I had to insist repeatedly my item was duty free and the did not believe until i ask them nicely to show me the law so i can point out the black and white… I am surprised 3 “customs officers” including a supervisor do not know their own laws…….

  6. Anonymous says:

    If you say that you have nothing to declare they inspect you anyway so from now on I’m just declaring.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I have only had to fill in form when I exceed my allowance.

  8. ABC says:

    On a recent flight back to GCM I was only given the Immigration form as I was not travelling on a Cayman passport. no form for Customs if I had no goods to declare, but was instructed by the airline staff that if I had goods over the limit they would given me a declaration form.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just came back yesterday and the airline crew were handing out customs forms with no instructions.
      Perhaps instructions at the top of the form about who it applied to would be helpful.

  9. Anonymous says:

    As usual, they don’t even understand the question. Or read it(hear) absentmindedly. Therefore their answer is about everything, but the question.

    The question CLEARLY states “if you have not exceeded your entitlement”.

    What Customs department is going to do to stop its agents from expecting the form from EVERYONE???