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.
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.