When returning to the Cayman Islands from overseas, the Department of Customs and Border Control give local residents a duty (free) allowance of CI$500 per person. If the resident is over the age of 18 then in that dollar allowance they can also include 200 cigarettes and up 1 litre of spirits, or 4 litres of wine or 1 case of beer (cannot exceed 8 litres). If the resident's overseas purchases do not exceed CI$500 per person then they do not need to declare their goods to Customs on arrival. If they have spent over CI$500 then they must bungle all their receipts up and show this to the Customs Officer in the 'Goods To Declare' line at the airport. You will then be charged 22% duty on all purchases over CI$500.
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If a resident has bought something for a business then this is not duty free and 22% will need to be paid on it. All Visitors are expected to declare anything new they are bringing in with them, including gifts to family, and will be expected to pay 22% on the items. Please make sure you travel with your receipts to make this process easier! The Cayman Islands derives a significant portion of their revenue from the collection of duties and people are expected to be completely honest when they declare their overseas purchases. Without duties the alternative may well be income tax, and that would be a far worse burden to bear!
If you are entering Cayman to take up employment or residency for a period in excess of 12 months, your personal and household effects are admitted duty-free, although they must be imported within six months of arrival. The six-month period starts the moment you arrive in the Cayman Islands, rather than the date your work permit is approved. For the import of used personal effects, you must complete two forms; the ‘Declaration For Unaccompanied Baggage’ form and the Customs Import Entry form and produce proof of residency by way of a work permit or other means.
If you cannot import your household items within the six month window, it is possible to ask the Collector of Customs for an extension. You will need to write a letter to PO Box 898, Grand Cayman KY1-1103 or try calling: Tel: (345) 949 4579.
Most mail-order items will be charged 22% duty and any gifts sent by family and friends are also subject to duty. Common duty charges can range from 7% to 27%. Below is a list of common items and their duty rate. A full list can be found on https://online.gov.ky/cols/faces/colshtc.
Common Import Duty Rates
|Alcohol||$1.95 - $15.98 per litre|
|Antiques (over 100 years)||Free|
|Cameras & Binoculars||Free|
|Cars||Free - 42%|
|Cigarettes||$42 per carton|
|Clothing & Footwear||22%|
|Laptops & Tablets||22%|
|Spirits||$11.55 per litre|
|Toys & Games||22%|
|Wedding Dresses||22% (for residents getting married in Cayman)|