Travelers advised to register electronics

Passengers carrying iPads, laptops and any other electronic devices when they travel who have not registered the devices with customs prior to leaving the island could risk paying duty on them when they re-enter. 

That’s according to a customs policy that has been in place for more than 30 years. 

Collector of Customs Samantha Bennett said the process, which involves filling out a form and submitting it to customs before traveling off island, is one of verification and not for tracking or recording purposes. 

“Customs has always encouraged the completion of this form for passengers upon return to the island for a smoother transition of clearing customs upon return,” Ms. Bennett said. “Otherwise, the customer could be subject to be paying duties on an item.” 

She added, “It is the passenger’s responsibility to satisfy the officer that duties are not applicable when bringing the item back into the country.” 

Import duty is charged at 22 percent for electronics. 

While customs officials advise travelers to complete a “Registration for Articles Taken Abroad” form, in practice, the form is rarely requested when residents return to Cayman. 

Registration form  

A Cayman Compass reporter who made an overseas trip recently filled out the registration form, with the serial or model number of the devices she planned to carry with her, along with her name, contact details, how the item was packed, the value of the device, and the reason for export.  

The completed form was then signed and stamped by a customs officer. When the reporter returned to Cayman, she was not asked to produce the completed form.  

Ms. Bennett said the policy is enforced unless travelers can prove they bought an item on island or have already paid duty on it.  

“We often publish the process not only on our website, but we have reminded the public several times this year already of the process through the media,” she said. 

The policy includes all electronic goods, regardless of value. 

Residents planning to travel from Cayman can download the form from the customs website and submit it to a customs officer on the day of, or prior to departure to have the item’s serial number recorded. 

Form:  Registration for Articles Taken Abroad 



  1. This sounds like a fun thing to do.

    If there is a way to spend even more time in the comfortable, relaxing ambience of the airport, I am all for it!

    In fact, bureaucratic form handing-in on this island is so much fun, I cannot believe I had never thought of filling these forms in before!

    Until recently the customs declaration on entry to the island spoke about declaring plants and pant based items. Clowns.

    I think one reason many people don’t declare things that are above their allowance, isn’t so much to avoid the duty – it is probably to avoid the waiting time, as some jobsworth takes forever to look up a long winded import duty code, then takes even longer to actually complete the transaction. I’d rather gamble and try to exit the airport ASAP.

  2. I had a look on their website, I don’t see the form they refer to here:,6675081&_dad=portal_schema=PORTAL

    Registration for Articles Taken Abroad ?

    Maybe you can put the link in your article. Also – where do you go to register these items? Can’t they make it electronic registration.

    ***Editor’s note: The link to the Customs form is***

  3. Actually, if you go online to there is a large link on the home page labelled Forms that you can click on.

    UNFORTUNATELY, the Forms used at Airports are not available–despite the airport customs agents directing people to download the forms online at the website.

    Can someone at Customs, PLEASE make those forms available online. PLEASE??

  4. Where do you actually take the form? Maybe you could put that in the article?

    ***Editor’s note: Collector of Customs Samantha Bennett told the Compass, "Take the completed form and items to any Customs location, Airport, Collections, etc., on the day or days before travel and have the serial/Model numbers verified of the electronics signed off by a Customs Officer."***

  5. Thank you, Compass Editor, for providing the link for the Registration for Articles Taken Abroad form. Can you please also supply the links for the Aircraft Arrival / Departure Clearance and the Passengers Customs Declaration forms.

    (Why in the world are those links dead on the Customs website???)

    ***Editor’s note: The Customs website appears to indicate that the airport forms can be picked up from Customs officers at the airport. "All forms listed above can be picked up at the respective Customs offices."***

  6. Thinking further on this, where do you go? Do I take all my electronics down there? The form says reason for export – I’m going on holiday, I’m taking my phone – what’s the reason – so I can use it?

    Let’s face it, someone from customs could provide more useful info if you want everyone on the green isle of Cayman to register every electronic item they own and are carrying. Does this include my wireless mouse and my grand dad’s pace maker?

  7. This is an absolutely awful policy. First, there are no customs officers are the departure side of the airport, so not sure where you can actually do this at the airport. I’ve done this before, and what they actually want you to do is go into the customs office the day before, with the item, so they can verify the serial number.

    Whenever I travel, I bring a laptop, an ipad and two cell phones (personal iphone and work blackberry). I don’t think this is unusual, and in today’s modern world is the way people travel. Other people bring more — wireless mouse, portable gaming device, etc.

    Do they really expect people to take time off during work (since they are only open government hours) to go to customs, wait in line and get these forms completed for items that are completely standard to travel with?

    I often stand up for government and the need for regulations, but this is a prime example of government not catching up with the times, and making people’s lives difficult instead of easier.

    At the very least, put a procedure in place so you can register an item once, rather than needing to do it every time you travel (as the current system requires).

  8. Them having to verify the Serial number is just stupid. Why would anyone put the wrong serial number down for a device when it may get checked on the way back. There should be a way to just go online and register your devices with serial numbers or photos and a workstation at the customs line that could review the file if needed. Next thing you will have to claim every piece of clothing you take with you, I mean if someone gets off the plane with a new fancy 300 pair of sneakers do they get hassled at customs if they don’t have a receipt.

  9. They do need a way to track devices, but it does not have to be complicated. In the departure lounge there could be a station where you get a tamper proof bar code label attached to your device…on the back of tablets and phones and in the battery compartment of laptops. In the arrivals lounge each Customs agent would have a bar code scanner that confirms that the label is genuine and that the device was in fact previously on the island. No need for names or any other data. Of course, such a system which is technically possible, will require an expensive consultant to be brought in, a lengthy period of public consultation, a delay of implementation until after the next election, then another consultant because too much time passed since the last report was produced. We’ll then end up with a system that costs about 10 times as much per year to install and maintain as the duty they would have collected on said devices.

  10. Ridiculous. How many countries check your electronics upon entry? How about Bridal gowns? Stop annoying travelers/residents and start welcoming them. Make the arrival and departure experience pleasurable instead of dreadful!

  11. I say ridiculous also, I would accept that the majority of people are honest, and inconveniencing them because someone may attempt to avoid custom duty is not good business. I don’t know what is happening to my beautiful peaceful island where trust is no longer expected. Did you ever thought you would see the day, where you go a store and before you leave security guards have to check your bag. All the money in the world would not make me want what is happening here on our island. What good all the money in the world and lose your everything that is worth anything.

  12. In this day and age, when everyone travels with their electronic devices, could there be any more nonsense involved? I continue to carry the receipt for the laptop I purchased and paid duty on 7 years ago for the same reason! The very inconvenience of going to the Customs Office at the airport is enough to make a person really annoyed! First find a place to park! Then try to get inside where the officers are, depends on if a flight is arriving or not, whether that will be successful! Please Ms. Bennett, we know you are going to be a great enforcer of all the archaic rules, but remember also, to try to make some of the new/old processes a little more user friendly! Station an officer on the departure side to do all this recording of model numbers etc. Would take a few minutes and be a lot less inconvenient! Once the device is recorded, a sticker of some kind that is not easily removed (or tamper proof) and we won’t have to do this again when next we are going to travel. This doesn’t need a consultant! Simple bar code machine and mylar labels will work, record the name, the item serial numbers, the owner of said devices! Bingo! Done! Passenger free to go, no more cluttering up the already cluttered airport lines!

  13. Let me see if I’ve got this right – I need to fill out a form EVERY time I leave the island with electronics.

    In Bermuda you fill out one form, once, for your electronics. It then goes into a database they can just look up. But that would make too much sense and not kill enough trees with paperwork.

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