How to send gifts to Jamaica from the US?

by Valerie

QUESTION about: How to send gifts to schools in Jamaica from the US

We'd like to send gifts to our new friends and school supplies to Westmoreland.

Has anyone done this before suggestions?
Do's and or don'ts?

Thank you!

ANSWER: by Wellesley, April 2016

Hi Valerie (my mom's name by the way), glad you asked; this is a question many persons have an interest in.

Ok, so the simply answer is to get a shipping in your area, or a courier company to take it down to Jamaica.

But I think your question really is about 'how to benefit from the tax exemptions associated with gifts or charity', right?

If so, the procedure depends primarily on who is the beneficiary of the gifts.

I noticed you mentioned a school, right?


school supplies in jamaica

If a school is the beneficiary, there is a procedure under the Ministry of Education in Jamaica that the intended beneficiary (school administrators) would follow.

Much of it speaks to the quality, purpose and condition of the goods been sent/received.

For example, you should clearly identify the school level or levels in which the educational materials will be used. These are Early Childhood, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary.

You should contact the Ministry of Education (contact below) for guidance on the suitability of the goods.

Regarding the customs exemptions/duty free status though, the following are some general guidelines:

If you live outside Jamaica and wish to donate educational materials to schools, please ensure that you are familiar with our customs procedures for donating educational materials.

  1. Prior to shipping these items, the shipper should contact the Ministry of Education to determine the suitability of the goods, and whether or not they attract customs duties.

    This will allow us to make the necessary approvals/waivers to be granted. This will also prevent extended delays at the port of entry and possible storage/demurrage charges.

  2. Please note that:
    Information on computers being donated must be submitted prior to shipping to ensure that they are suitable for the intended purpose.

  3. Letters of offer to the institutions should be sent prior to shipping of the goods.

  4. The goods must be consigned to the relevant schools. Do not consign the goods to an individual.

  5. Do not pack educational and non-educational goods (e.g. medical supplies) together, as the approval processes and requirements for customs clearance differ.

  6. Do not pack personal items and educational materials together.

For goods being shipped by sea, the following documentations should be sent ahead of the arrival of the goods to the beneficiary institution.

  • The Bill of Lading
  • Invoice (if goods are new)
  • List of goods and approximate value (if the goods were pre-owned.)

For goods being sent by air, the following documentation is to be sent ahead of the arrival of the goods to the beneficiary institution.

  • The Air Waybill
  • Invoice (if goods are new)
  • List of goods and approximate value if the goods were pre-owned.

When goods are accompanying a passenger, it is critical that the approvals and the necessary letters be obtained ahead of the arrival of the person, as they must be shown to the Customs Officer.

This may be done either by sending the letters to the arriving passengers before they leave their country of residence; or informing a representative of the receiving institution to send them to the Customs Officer.

The local recipient of these educational materials should apply to the Ministry of Finance, through the Ministry of Education, prior, for the waiver of any relevant duties or taxes.

The recipient should then present all of the above documents at the time of seeking the waiver, and state that the goods will be used solely for the benefit of the named institution.

The Ministry of Education will advise the Ministry of Finance by a supporting letter, that the institution is a duly registered educational one. The approval process takes a maximum of ten (10) business days.

For further information you may contact:

Chief Procurement Officer
Ministry of Education
2 National Heroes Circle
Kingston 4
Tel: 876-612-6008
Fax: 876-922-6568


gifts for jamaican schools

Then they will be guided by the procedures until the Charities act under the Ministry Of Commerce (Department of Cooperative and Friendly Societies)

Here also is a link with additional information on developments in this area.

See also: How to register a charity in Jamaica.


jamaican school books

If the beneficiary is a church (that is not designated or registered as a charity, then the church can apply for a waiver.

The following is an extract from the Customs Department Q&A:

In applying for a waiver, the organisation/individual abroad must send you a letter stating their intent to send these items for your church's charity.

They will also need to state the estimated cost of the goods (proof of this with invoices is beneficial to the process).

The next step is to write a letter to the deputy financial secretary of taxation at the Ministry of Finance and Planning (30 Heroes' Circle, Kingston 4) requesting a waiver for these items.

This letter should be accompanied by the correspondence from the donor and the estimated cost of the goods.

When the submission is made, the relevant office at the ministry will seek the finance minister's approval for the request.

If approved by the minister, an advisory will be sent to the Revenue Protection Division, which will then send an electronic version of the waiver to the Ministry of Finance and print the waiver certificate to be batched for dissemination to your church.

The Jamaica Customs Department will also be sent a notation of the waiver for when clearance is being done.

If the waiver request is denied, a denial document will be prepared advising your church of the reason.

Please be reminded that the granting of waivers is a discretionary process and it is not a guarantee that you will be given approval.
Source: Jamaica Observer

I hope this helps my friend! See also: The Education System in Jamaica & Gifts Accepted By Jamaicans

Wellesley Gayle,

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