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Restricted and prohibited items

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Q: Is there a difference between prohibited and restricted items? Also, can you give me a list of such items?

A: Prohibited items refer to articles that are banned from entering the island while restricted items are goods that require permits/licences to enter the island.

The list of prohibited items includes (but not limited to):

* Counterfeit money, whether coin-based or otherwise, from any country.

* All publications of de Laurence Scott and Company and Red Star Publishing Company from Chicago, United States, relating to divination, magic, cultism, or supernatural arts.

* Camouflage clothing (which are only used in the Jamaica Defence Force).

* Indecent and obscene prints, such as child pornography.

* Black Mosquito Destroyer and any other items that are not approved by Jamaica's health authorities.

Meanwhile, restricted items that are imported without the requisite permits/licence will be confiscated by the Customs Department and destroyed. The importers will also be faced with penalties based on provisions of the Customs Act.

The most popular items on the restricted list include (but are not limited to):

* Meat, animals, red peas, fruits, vegetables, plants/plant products, ground provisions, milk-based products which all require a Permit or Phyto Sanitary Certificate from the Ministry of Agriculture.

* Pharmaceuticals, chemicals and herbal teas require a Pharmaceutical Services Division Certificate from the Ministry of Health.

* All firearms and accessories, explosives, fireworks, firecrackers, toy guns, radar detectors, pepper spray, swords, spear guns, and tasers require permit and licence from the Ministry of National Security and the Trade Board.

* All coconut derivatives, oil-producing seeds and edible oils require a permit from the Coconut Industry Board. Also, alcohol in bulk requires a Spirit Pool Permit from the Spirit Pool Association.

* When importing human remains, the importer must obtain a permit from the Ministry of Health.

* The importation of two-way radios requires approval and licence from the Spectrum Management Authority.

* All motor vehicles and motorcycles over 700 CC require an import licence from the Trade Board.

Please bear in mind that ignorance cannot be used as a defence when clearing customs. As such, if you are in doubt, contact the Jamaica Customs Department before you import goods to ensure that you have all the required licences, approvals and permits. This will help you to avoid unnecessary delays and breaches for which you will face penalties.

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