Shipping to Cayman & Duty Costs
In this section we describe the process of shipping things to the Cayman Islands. We recommend Cayman based movers and freight forwarders that can assist you and we explain the various options of shipping by air or by sea including the companies that can actually ship your possessions or overseas purchases to Cayman. We then explain how you can import your goods duty free and process of clearing them through Cayman Customs.
When it comes to shipping your possessions you basically have three main options to get your things from point A to point B. You can either do most of the work yourself – packing, arranging the shipping and picking up in Cayman or you can arrange for a freight forwarder to assist with the shipping once you are finished packing. As a third option, you can also hire an outside company that will pack, ship and clear your goods once they arrive. Read on to learn more about all three processes, which method may be best for you and which way may be the easiest on your wallet.
Freight forwarders facilitate the entire shipping process between Miami and Grand Cayman and vice versa. When shipping to or from Miami there are three options you can consider, depending on how much you have to ship. All companies charge by cubic feet, rather than by weight.
The companies listed in this section offer a full international moving service that takes all the stress out of moving. They will tend to the whole process for you from professionally packing up your house (whether you’re in the UK, Canada, US or elsewhere), organising for your belongings to be shipped to Cayman, sorting out the relevant paperwork, paying duty to the port authority and finally, delivering the goods to your new home in the Cayman Islands.
The personal and household effects of a person entering Cayman (for work or residency) for a period in excess of 12 months are admitted duty free, although they must be imported within six months of arrival, otherwise duty will be applied. The six month period starts the moment you arrive in the Cayman Islands, rather than the date your work permit is approved.
If you have the time, clearing your household effects through Customs yourself is possible, but it can be quite complex, so we recommend that you do it through a customs broker. They are reasonably priced and know the process inside out. The cost is usually CI$75-CI$150.
If you’d prefer to handle the process yourself, here is an overview of what you need to do:
All local and Miami based freight forwarders will ship by air, as does Cayman Airways. Cayman Airways Cargo shipment services can prove to be a cost-effective shipping option if you need to ship possessions/overseas purchases from the US. You need to deliver the items packed for shipping to the cargo area at the airport. Once they are delivered in Cayman you will need to either arrange collection yourself or use a customs broker.
Transit time from Florida to Cayman is usually two to three days. All companies accept dry or refrigerated containers and they will also ship vehicles, boats and other rolling stock. You can ship your personal items through a shipping company (click link below for listings) or a freight forwarder. Upon arrival in Cayman you or your freight forwarder of choice will be required to clear the shipment through Cayman Customs and the Port Authority and then arrange delivery to your home or office.
If you are only bringing your personal effects with you, other options to consider are using your airline’s excess baggage allowance.
Cayman Airways now charges a fee of US$20 on the first and second bag for economy class passengers travelling to or from Miami, Tampa, Jamaica, Honduras and Cuba. Passengers travelling to or from New York or Chicago will be charged US$25 for the first bag and US$35 for the second bag. If your bags exceed the weight limit of 55lbs you will be charged, however, more bags can be checked for a fee. For overweight and oversized baggage costs, please refer to the Cayman Airways baggage policy at www.caymanairways.com/baggage-policy.
Southwest airlines, who fly direct to and from Fort Lauderdale, accept the first two checked bags for free, as long as they are under 50lbs. The free baggage allowance on British Airways varies depending on the destination of travel and ticket class purchased. Fees for extra bags are less if you pay for them in advance online. Prior to your departure, consult your air carrier’s website to clarify their baggage fees, excess baggage allowances and restricted items.