IMPORTATION OF MOTOR VEHICLES

Legislation regarding the importation of motor vehicles has been undergoing amendment since June 1991 resulting in significant liberalization of the Motor Vehicle Import Policy.

There no distinction made between local Jamaican Residents and Returning Jamaican Residents in the importation of motor vehicles. Currently any Jamaican over 18 years old can import two motor vehicles (one light commercial vehicle and one motor car) in any three year period. These can be new or used vehicles, but used vehicles should not be more than four (4) years old in the case of motor cars, or five (5) years old in the case of light commercial vehicles, at the time of importation.

Other considerations are as follows:

All prospective importers of Classic/Antique/Limited Edition Motor Vehicles MUST obtain an import permit prior to the importation of the Vehicle. Each application must be supported by the Jamaica Classic Car Club, together with documentary proof that the unit falls into definition and categories as specified by the Motor Vehicle Import Policy.
   
All prospective importers of vehicles for agricultural use who seek duty concessions, MUST FIRST obtain approval through the Rural Agricultural Development Agency (RADA) Parish offices in the locale of the farming activity prior to importation. The Trade Board requires evidence of any duty concession granted at the time the relevant Motor Vehicle Import Licence application is submitted for approval.
   
A Certificate of Fitness will only be required for motor vehicles to be imported from a country where it is a statutory requirement that vehicles be examined and certified prior to shipment.
   
An Import Licence is NOT required for the importation of oversized vehicles (heavy-duty Trucks, Tractors and Trailers - three (3) tons and over unladen weight). However, importers MUST FIRST obtain written permission from the Island Traffic Authority, BEFORE importing such units.
   
All persons seeking to import vehicles with six (6) seats and over, with the exception of Jeep, Pajeros, Pathfinders and similar type vehicles, MUST FIRST obtain the approval of the Ministry of Commerce & Technology.
   
All vehicles originating in countries where they drive on the right MUST: - where applicable modify their units for passengers to enter/exit on the curbside of the road; - modify the beam of the headlamps to reflect down on the left horizontal plane or up and down on the vertical plane.
   
Vehicular air-conditioning equipment containing chloroflourocarbons (cfcs) are prohibited from importation into Jamaica.
   
Import Licences issued by the Trade Board Limited are valid for the duration of the Financial Year in which they are granted, i.e the period April 1st to March 31st of any given year or remaining portion thereof.
   
All Import Licences (except for approved Motor Vehicle Dealers) will be claused against sale or transfer of the unit (vehicle) for a period of one (1) year after its arrival.

Please note that revisions to the law have also greatly facilitated the acquisition of new or used vehicles through an approved motor dealer or a certified used car dealer in Jamaica, either from stock or by special order. Most makes/models of vehicles are now available in Jamaica thereby providing an OPTION for consideration when decisions are being taken about personal importation of vehicles and the attendant shipping and clearance arrangements.

IMPORT LICENCE APPLICATION

The Motor Vehicle Importation Policy is primarily administered by the Trade Board Limited, which is the Government Agency responsible for granting the Order and Clearance Permit or Import Licence you will require to bring a motor vehicle into Jamaica. Contact may be made with this authority on any questions regarding the importation of vehicles at the addresses provided in the Information Pack Directory.

An importer must apply to the Trade Board for an Import Licence, and obtain approval BEFORE shipping the vehicle. You must also secure the services of a Licensed Customs Broker to clear the vehicle on arrival - an individual is not permitted to do this.

The procedures to be carried out in making an application for a Motor Vehicle Import Licence are as follows:

The importer must first obtain an Import Licence Application Form from the Trade Board. Sets of forms (in triplicate) are available for a fee of J$35. A sample of this form (The Order and Clearance Permit) is included in the Information Pack.

The application should be completed in triplicate and returned to the Trade Board for processing accompanied by the following items:

If the vehicle is new, you should get a pro-forma invoice from the dealer, detailing model, accessories, and c.i.f. value, etc.
   
If you already own the vehicle you should provide a certificate of title or registration document
   
You should provide certified copies of two (2) valid forms of identification which may be any of the following:
- Passport ( Jamaican - Pages 1-5; non-Jamaican - pages up to expiry date) - Driver's Licence (both sides)
- National Voter's Identification Card
   
A *Taxpayers Registration Number (TRN) is also required (photocopy of both sides of the card should be attached)

(*For information on how to obtain a TRN see Information Pack Directory for address of the Taxpayer Registration Centre, contact the nearest overseas Diplomatic / Consular Mission, or the Jamaicans Overseas Department).

If you are applying from overseas , supplies of Import Licence Application Forms are available for a fee of US$1, CDN$1 or 1 per set, as appropriate, at Jamaican Diplomatic and Consular Missions overseas. Completed application forms should be mailed directly to the Trade Board at either of the two locations listed in this Information Pack, along with the supporting documentation (ownership documents) and the certified copies of your identification . Copies of your identification may be certified by a Justice of the Peace/Notary Public or by a Consular Officer at any Jamaican mission overseas.

The application should also be accompanied by an Initial Deposit Fee of US$5, CDN $5, or 5 payable either by cheque, money order or postal order to the Trade Board Limited. This fee is not refundable.

IMPORT LICENCE COLLECTION

Once an application is received at the Trade Board, it is generally processed within twenty-four (24) hours and is available for collection at the Trade Board location to which it was directed for processing in Kingston or in Montego Bay. If you are unable to collect the Import Licence in person, please note that: the Trade Board will facilitate delivery to a Licensed Customs Broker acting on the importer's behalf, upon presentation of proper identification; or, to an individual with a letter of authorization from the importer and proper identification.

On approval and collection of an Order and Clearance Permit submitted by an overseas resident, a non-refundable processing fee is payable as follows:

US$25, CDN$25 or 25 - for a Permit for a vehicle valued over US$500 but less than US$10,000.
   
US$50, CDN$50 or 50 - for a Permit for a vehicle valued at US$10,000 and up to US$100,000.
   
US$100, CDN$100 or 100 - for a Permit for a vehicle valued at US$100,000 or more.

Once this document has been collected, the importer can complete his shipping and clearance activities within a reasonable period. Vehicles may be shipped to any port of entry.

Anyone who imports any motor vehicle without first obtaining a valid Import Permit will be liable to a fine equivalent to three times the value of the motor vehicle, plus seizure of the motor vehicle.

DOCUMENTATION AND PROCEDURE FOR CLEARANCE


Your Licensed Customs Broker will be responsible for the clearance of the vehicle from the port of entry and will advise you of the procedure to be followed, the information required, and the costs involved for the services to be provided.

For a new motor vehicle, you can estimate the amount of Customs Duty payable on your vehicle by applying the relevant Aggregate Customs Duty rate to the value on the supplier's pro-forma invoice. A Schedule of Aggregate Motor Vehicle Duty Rates is attached at Appendix B-2 of this Information Pack.

In the case of used vehicles, the depreciated value applicable to the age and mileage of the vehicle can be referenced from the Glass's Guide - for vehicles being shipped from the U.K. and Europe, and the N.A.D.A. Book - for vehicles being shipped from North America, i.e ., the United States and Canada. (For further information on the duty assessment process contact the Jamaica Customs (Motor Vehicle Unit) at the address listed in this Information Pack or contact the Jamaicans Overseas Department).

After the vehicle is landed, the necessary documentation should be given to a Licensed Customs Broker who will interact with the Customs Department on behalf of the importer. When the documents have been processed by the Customs Department and found to be correct, the licensed customs broker will make payment of all duties, taxes, etc. on your behalf. The broker may then proceed to the clearance point (e.g. wharf, airport, etc.) and effect clearance of the vehicle.

Apart from the Import Licence issued by the Trade Board, which authorizes the importation of the motor vehicle, the following are required:

Title/Registration Certificate Title/ Ownership documents which help to classify Registration the motor vehicle for valuation purposes and Certificate is provided by the owner.
   
Invoice Invoice For a new motor vehicle (under 3000 miles) an invoice is needed from the supplier.
   
Bill of Lading Bill of Provides information about the particulars Lading of the vehicle, the date it landed in the island, and at which port of entry. This is obtained from the Shipping Agent.
   
Bill of Sight This is a document on which details of the motor vehicle being imported are recorded. This is obtained from a Licensed Customs Broker.
   
Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN) Taxpayer A unique nine digit identification number Registration required for the transaction of business Number (TRN) at Government Revenue Departments. This is obtained from the Revenue Board.
   
Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC) A document issued as proof that payments Certificate of tax liabilities and wage-related statutory (TCC) deductions are up-to-date. This is obtained from the Revenue Board.
   
C78/Import Entry This is the primary import document on Entry which all particulars of the motor vehicle, the importer, shipping information, etc. are recorded. This is prepared and submitted to Customs by a Licensed Customs Broker.

PUTTING THE VEHICLE ON THE ROAD

Before driving on the public road, prior to removing the motor vehicle from the wharf, you should obtain motor insurance coverage through an insurance agency or broker. On clearing the vehicle, and having paid the relevant fee at the nearest Revenue Service Centre or Tax Collectorate, a Certificate of Fitness should be obtained from a Motor Vehicle Examination Depot to indicate that the vehicle complies with Jamaican standards, for example, in the case of vehicles imported from North America and other territories where one drives on the right side of the road, it would be necessary to adjust the vehicle's headlights prior to presenting it for examination.

Finally, the insurance cover note or certificate, the Certificate of Fitness, and the Import Entry documentation should be taken to the Revenue Service Centre/Tax Collectorate so that the vehicle can be registered, registration plates purchased, and an application made for a Title of Ownership of the vehicle. Each of these items attracts a fee.

Drivers should note that if you do not already have a valid Jamaican driver's licence, you can drive in Jamaica on a valid overseas licence for one (1) year only or until the overseas licence expires, whichever comes first, before it is necessary to secure a Jamaican licence.



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