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Returning Residents Application
Returning Residents Online Portal

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Returning Residents Application | by Kesha Stewart, Associate Writer

Country above self is the motto of the . Perhaps this is why they are trying to always innovate and adapt to make things easier for those of us who come to them for their services.

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Most recently they have introduced an online portal exclusively for returning residents. It is super easy to use and there is even an animated video tutorial to help you see aspects of the process.

How can you access the portal?

  1. Firstly visit
  2. Select the Online Booking Portal from the display menu
  3. Carefully type in your first, middle, surname, and email in the designated slot. Submit this when completed.
  4. Wait for the confirmation email to come to your inbox. This important email will contain your User Name, Password, and the URL for your application. You need these before you can proceed to the next stage.
  5. This is where you will complete and upload your application accompanied by the requisite documentation.

The application will now be processed and you will be notified by email whether or not your application has been approved or unfortunately denied.

The Jamaica Customs Agency team advises that there may be times when an interview is needed. Should this be required, one can be scheduled via the online appointment portal. As soon as you are approved you will receive an exemption notice for the clearance of your shipment.

At this point, a licensed customs broker or authorized agent will prepare the customs declaration, which will then be submitted via the automated system for customs data (ASYCUDA).

Who Exactly is a Returning Resident?

A returning resident is an adult Jamaican national who has been living outside of Jamaica for not less than three years consecutively. You must also be returning to the island permanently.

The great thing is that as a returning resident, you are exempted from paying duties and taxes on certain “categories of household effects and tools, machinery, instruments or equipment in relation to your trade.”

The reminder to you here is that the items which are exempt from taxes and Customs duties under the Second Schedule of the Customs Act, must not be imported into Jamaica for sale or commercial exchange.

They must be for personal use and as a rule, must be imported up to six (6) months before or after the Returning Resident has returned to Jamaica. However, whether the items are new or used they may still be imported.

The timeline of 6 months may be extended by the CEO/Commissioner of Customs.

Are you wondering if you qualify to be a returning resident? Or do you wish to become a returning resident but are unsure how to go about it? Visit the JCA’s website and complete the relevant online application.

For those who are worried about the status of their spouses, you can relax. The provisions afforded to you are extended to your spouse as well. Spouses of Returning Residents, who arrive in Jamaica at the same time or within three years of each other, actually receive only one exemption. There is no need for a separate exemption.

Who Else is Eligible?

You may also be considered a returning resident, and benefit from the concession afforded to returning residents if you fit into any one of these categories:

  1. Be a Jamaican student who has attained the age of 18 years and who has studied abroad for more than one year but fewer than 3 consecutive years
  2. Be a Non-Jamaican whose spouse is a Jamaican Returning Resident.
  3. A Deportee who has been residing overseas for the last 3 consecutive years

There is one thing I need to make clear here: A couple (husband and wife) is going to be counted as one family if returned together, and will only get one concession. Spouses not returning together, but within three years of each other, are treated as one family and will also get only one concession.

The JCA has reiterated that Returning Residents are a valued stakeholder group and they are continuing their commitment this is why they continuously improve their business processes.

They also explained that the new procedures that they have implemented are intended to make the application and approval process more efficient. However, to smooth the process Returning Residents are being asked to provide the JCA with all the relevant documentation as may be required by the agency.

Documents Required

Returning Residents must visit the Jamaica Customs Agency Returning Residents Unit and submit the following:

  • Valid Jamaican Passport or foreign passport that is endorsed with the unconditional landing stamp
  • Validated Bill of Lading or Airway Bill
  • Taxpayers Registration Number (TRN)
  • Documentary evidence that will substantiate residency outside of Jamaica for 3 or more consecutive years.
  • Returning Students should present a transcript, student’s I-20, confirmation letter of attendance from the last institution of study and identification card issued by the institution
  • Deportees should present their Deportation Order and case file.

A Further Word on Entitlements

A specified amount of personal and household effects can be imported free of customs duty.

Returning Residents may import their tools of trade free of customs duty

Returning Students are entitled to import a reasonable quantity of used household effects, musical instruments, and one of each type of electronic equipment (new or used)

Deported persons will receive entitlement similar to that of returning residents.

It may have been said before in another way but remember qualified applicants can benefit only ONCE from the concessions mentioned here.

Well, my friend, I can see your heart is set on returning to Jamaica so I’ll tell you what you can do. Reach out to the JCA by telephone:

  • Toll-free: 1-888-287-8667,
  • Phone: +1 (876) 922-5140-8, +1 (876) 922-8770-3, +1 (876)948-7849
  • Email at:,

This YouTube video from Jamaica Customs might also prove useful: 

Watch Video! Jamaica Customs Agency | Returning Residents Application 

If you would love some more insight on what returning to Jamaica will be like from first hand experience then our friends Cheri and Maura share their journey and give much needed advice on what its like.

Other good sources of information as well are: 

Watch Video! How To Live In Jamaica For Six Months | Maura Watson

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References & Sources For Returning Residents Application

  1. 2022. Jamaica Customs Agency Website | Country Above Self. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 August 2022].

Returning Residents Application | Written: August 27th, 2022

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