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I am traveling to Jamaica for my honeymoon on Monday of next week. This article says that visitors to Jamaica may need to pay duty tax on certain items, and to follow these steps to avoid doing so:

STEP 1 - 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.

...

STEP 4 -q Show your Certificate of Registration when you declare your camera, laptop or other expensive, registered items., and that to avoid this a free form can be filed with US Customs and Border Patrol proving ownership of items upon arrival in Jamaica.

I believe the form being referenced is this form but the form in the link says it is expired as of 2/29/2016.

Of course, this conflicts with other sources I have read (mostly anecdotal) that have said that no one is normally checked or taxed for these types of items, so I don't know what to think or if I need to prepare.

This information I found on the Jamaican Customs FAQ:

Q) Is it customary to charge duty on my personal items e.g. cameras and cellular phones, which I take with me on my trips abroad?

A) Customs can charge duty on these items if they exceed your duty free allowance, and there is no proof that these items were in your possession on your outbound journey. One way of providing this proof is by declaring these items to Customs Duty office at the airport proir to departure of your flight.

But this FAQ answer is clearly referring to Jamaican citizens traveling abroad, not visitors traveling to Jamaica.

To sum up, might I have to pay duty taxes on my laptop and/or camera, and how can I avoid paying these duty taxes on my personal items when traveling between Jamaica and the United States? Anecdotal experience is acceptable as long as it can be backed up by specific experiences in dealing with Jamaican Customs.

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    You're reading information applicable to the reverse journey, someone who travels from Jamaica to the US and back to Jamaica. – Michael Hampton May 24 '16 at 4:07
  • @MichaelHampton That makes sense, considering the FAQ seems aimed at Jamaican citizens who travel abroad, not foreigners traveling to Jamaica. I just found the article I read earlier which referenced form 4457, I'll update the answer with the link. – LegendaryDude May 24 '16 at 4:14
  • Form 4457 is a US government form that can be used to prove that you already owned certain items, especially high-value equipment. The idea is that you have it signed by a CBP official before you leave, then when you come back to the US, they know that you didn't buy those items abroad and the US government won't charge you duty. You'd have to go to a Customs office to get it signed, which can be somewhat of a pain. As a practical matter, large numbers of tourists visit Jamaica every year with their cell phones and consumer cameras without incident. – Zach Lipton May 24 '16 at 4:39
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    @ZachLipton Care to turn that comment into an answer? – LegendaryDude May 24 '16 at 12:16
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    @LegendaryDude I've never been to Jamaica and don't really have the knowledge to give a good answer, so I'd rather let someone else do it if possible. I just wanted to give some background on Form 4457 and its use. – Zach Lipton May 24 '16 at 21:13
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+100

According to Jamaica Observer allowances are:

All passengers 18 years and older are allowed the following:

  • US$500 duty-free

on household and personal effects;

  • 170 ml bottle of perfume

  • 340 ml bottle of eau de toilette

  • 2 litres of alcoholic beverages

  • 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 230 grams of processed tobacco

** Red line vs green lines**

If you have not exceeded your allowances then you would proceed to the GREEN LINE or the NOTHING TO DECLARE line.

However, if you have exceeded your allowances or have unaccompanied baggage (meaning you have shipped items to arrive after you have landed) you MUST proceed to the RED LINE.

If you have shipped items (barrels, boxes, crates, pallets, etc) please remember to ask the customer service representative at the Information Desk for a C27 or yellow form. After completing this form, present it along with your C5 form and passport to the Customs officer at the top of the RED LINE.

Be reminded that even if you have nothing to declare in your luggage, as long as you have "unaccompanied luggage" you must proceed to the red line.

When you go to the sea port/wharf/air cargo to clear your "unaccompanied luggage" remember to bring the C27 (yellow form) as proof that you travelled. If you have not utilised your US$500.00 allowance in your accompanied luggage, your duty-free allowance will be transferred to the items you have shipped.

If you have "unaccompanied luggage" and did not complete a yellow form and cleared Customs through the GREEN LINE, when you go to clear your "unaccompanied items" your allowances will NOT be considered. This is because by going through the Green Line you claimed you had "nothing to declare".

After being processed by the Customs officer, passengers should exit the Customs Hall in a timely manner.

When "Clearing Customs" at the airport, passengers should remember that making a FALSE DECLARATION or declaring COMMERCIAL ITEMS as PERSONAL EFFECTS will result in a breach of Section 209 & 210 of the Customs Act and penalties will be levied and possible forfeiture of goods.

Feel free to ask our Customer Service Representatives stationed at the Information Desk in the Customs Hall for assistance.

For more information, visit the Jamaica Customs Department website, www.jacustoms.gov.jm, where you can access live help by clicking on the 'Live Help' link or contact us through our 24-hour Quick Response Team at quick.response@jacustoms.gov.jm or 1-888-CUSTOMS.

It is not an official government site but more informative in this case than others that are. So no tax if what you import by way of personal effects is worth up to US$500. If worth more than that and you plan to export the items after the wedding you my want to make contact as advised above to check what paperwork is required to avoid paying duty on entry (perhaps a CPD), or to recover it on exit.

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