October 6, 2022

Cayman Islands Customs enacts policy change

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The Cayman Islands Customs Department has implemented a policy change with respect to the use of the Customs Declaration Form for inbound passengers at all airports and seaports, which will take effect 30th June, 2018. This includes our Customs operations on the Sister Islands, but, cruise passengers are specifically excluded from the policy change and will continue to be processed as they are today.

Effective Saturday 30th June, 2018 inbound passengers who have not exceeded their CI$350 allowance or other established allowances for alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco will not be required to complete and sign a Customs Declaration Form and will be directed through the ‘green channel’ inside the Customs arrivals hall UNLESS the Customs Officer on duty is of the opinion that a particular passenger is not being honest about being within his/her permitted allowances, in which case the passenger will be referred to secondary for a more thorough examination. Before conducting a secondary examination on a passenger, he or she will be given a final opportunity to make an honest declaration and will be required to complete and sign a Customs Declaration Form.

It is important to note that this policy change does not apply to passengers who have exceeded their permitted allowances and therefore have goods to declare. Those passengers will still be required to complete the Customs Declaration Form and proceed through the normal and established ‘red channel’ process that Customs currently has in place. Passengers who are bringing with them CI$15,000 or more in cash (or its equivalent) are required under the Customs (Money Declarations and Disclosures) Regulations (as amended) to declare this to Customs. Additionally, passengers who are bringing with them agricultural products such as fruits, vegetables, meats, plants, plant products, cut flowers, live animals, animal products, and aggregate materials must continue to declare these items to Customs as they are subject to inspection by officers from the Department of Agriculture. This policy change cannot and does not affect these legal requirements.

The Department acknowledges that the majority of passengers arriving on most flights do not warrant the same level of scrutiny as those few who are in breach of the law or who are intent on committing criminal offences. Collector of Customs Charles Clifford said, “This policy change represents another step in our transition from the traditional gatekeepers approach to the more effective, intelligence-led risk management approach at our borders. It is also indicative of our increased focus on the more serious national security threats at our borders.”

Deputy Collector of Customs Jeff Jackson said, “We want to underscore the fact that the onus is on the passenger to make an honest declaration. Once this policy change is in effect, if we discover that a passenger has not made an honest declaration then we will strictly enforce our powers under the Customs Law to impose administrative procedural fines and penalties which can amount to THREE times the amount of duty that a passenger would have paid had they been honest about their declarations.” Mr. Jackson continued, “Furthermore, passengers must understand that failure to make an honest declaration will result in significant delays at our Customs controls and they could also face arrest and prosecution for criminal offenses, including evading or attempting to evade Customs duty. “

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