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If you intend to import a motor vehicle or motor cycle you must first apply to the Trade Board for an Import Licence and receive it before making arrangements for the shipping of the vehicle to Jamaica. Anyone who imports a motor vehicle or a part thereof which requires an import licence without first obtaining a valid import permit will be liable to a fine in accordance with Section 210 of the Customs Act. The role of the Trade Board in the approval of import permits is facilitatory, and hence the Trade Board is not responsible for any misrepresentation to consumer.
18 years old Jamaicans can legally import a maximum of two motor vehicles in any three year period, regardless of whether said vehicles are new or used. One motor car and one light commercial vehicle or two light commercial vehicles; or one light commercial vehicle and a regular commercial vehicle. In the case of a used vehicles, it can be no more than four years old in the case of motor cars, or five years old in the case of light commercial vehicles. Individuals residing in Jamaica are allowed to access this facility once every three years. A one year restrictive clause prohibiting the unauthorized disposal/sale or pledging of vehicles as collateral will be incorporated in import permits approved for the importation of motor vehicles by individuals. Please note that the Inland Revenue Department will not facilitate request for the transfer of locally pre-owned motor vehicles unless the requesting entity is duly certified by the Trade Board.
An individual importer is required to complete and submit in triplicate manually or online at www.tradeboard.gov.jm an order and clearance permit application to the Trade Board along with the prescribed fee of USD $35.00 for approval, prior to the vehicle being shipped. Please note that effective July 1, 2014 the Trade Board will no longer accept cheques and cash payment at their office except for point of sale transactions. The application should be supported by the following documents:
A pro-forma invoice if the car is new, or if used a certificate of title or registration;
Certified copies of two forms of identification such as Passport, Driver's License or National Identification Card;
Photocopy of both sides of the Tax Payer Registration Card.
The application is generally processed in 24 hours after which it can be collected and the applicant can complete shipping and clearance activities.
In addition to the Import Licence issued by the Trade Board, the following needs to be submitted to the Customs Department:
Bill of Lading
Bill of Sight
Tax Compliance Certificate
Once these are submitted for a new motor vehicle, an estimate of Customs Duty payable on your vehicle can be done by applying the relevant Aggregate Customs Duty rate to the value on the pro-forma invoice. 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.
The importation of motor vehicles that are considered to be in a damaged or salvaged state is prohibited regardless of the extent of the structural damage, and whether or not the damage was caused through natural disaster or in transit.
Due to the rising cost of fuel on the local market, most people are looking for vehicles with good fuel efficiency. The poor road conditions have forced many to purchase SUVs, however many have chosen diesel vehicles to help offset the effect of the high gas prices. Many SUV owners are now using Low Sulphur Diesel which cost a little more but lasts longer and generally improves the performance of the vehicle.
The gasoline in Jamaica ranges from 99.00JMD to 140.40JMD depending on the type of vehicle and location of gas station. Many Jamaicans use this as a determining factor when importing vehicles.
There are a total of five ports in Jamaica. They are Port of Montego Bay, the second major international port. Its operations include both cargo and cruise ship activities. The third being The Port of Ocho Rios which consists of two facilities - Reynolds Bauxite Pier and a cruise ship pier. The Falmouth Pier is another major port but this is restricted to cruise ship arrivals. This pier is capable of accommodating the new class of mega cruise vessels recently introduced to the industry. Port Antonio has two separate facilities; one is dedicated to cruise ship passengers - Ken Wright Pier, and the other handles cargo - Boundbrook Wharf.
Motor vehicles can only be shipped to the major port in Jamaica, The Kingston Container Terminal situated in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica. Their opening hours are Monday through Friday 8:00-4:00. Motor vehicles require a storage fee daily and any vehicle not collected within a maximum allotted period will be sold by auction to the highest bidder. The Port Authority of Jamaica owns The Kingston Container Terminal (KCT), which is operated by Kingston Container Terminal Services Ltd., a subsidiary of the Port Authority of Jamaica. Kingston Container Terminal is one of the region's leading container transshipment ports and consists of three terminals - the North, South and West Terminals.