What every Returning residents to Jamaica should know.

Are you moving to Jamaica as a Returning Resident?

It has always been the norm that no matter where Jamaicans roam ,they always return home,  and with good reason, notwithstanding some of the difficulties faced , Jamaica still remains a beautiful place to live.

But there are a few things you need to do before, during and after your decision to move back to Jamaica.

It could mean the difference between an extremely harrowing experience and a smooth transition.

Criteria for Returning residents to Jamaica

  1. be a student (at least18 years old )born in Jamaica and has studied abroad for at least one year but not exceeding three consecutive years
  2. be a  Jamaican who has renounced his/her foreign citizenship, can prove that previous status, and wants to move to Jamaica to live.
  3. Be a Non-Jamaican whose is married to a Jamaican Returning Resident.
  4. A Deportee who has lived abroad for the most recent 3 consecutive years

its important to note that a couple – husband and wife- will get only one concession if they return together or within three years of each other.

Ok, so now that you have decided that you fit one or more of the criteria above, here is what you need to do to follow through with the process:

If you want to claim your benefits under the Jamaican returning residents program, you must ensure that you get the “yellow” returning resident concession form at the airport immigration or customs station. Once you have that form, you need to visit the Jamaica Customs Agency Returning Residents Unit located at Myers’ Wharf, Newport East, Kingston 15, and submit the following:

    • Valid Jamaican or foreign passport with the unconditional landing endorsement stamp
    • Validated Bill of Lading or Airway Bill for the items being imported (you would get this from the shipping company or  freight forwarder who is handling your shipment)
    • Jamaican Taxpayers Registration Number (TRN)
    • Proof of foreign of 3 or more consecutive years.
    • Returning Students will need a transcript, student’s I-20, letter of attendance from last institution of study and the institution’s identification card.
    • Deportees will need their Deportation Order and case file.

    It is important to know that you may receive Returning Resident concession ONLY ONCE.

If for any reason you find that you must leave Jamaica to reside abroad, after you have already benefited from the Jamaican returning resident concessions, you may not receive the concession upon your return.

There are very few exceptions and these require very detailed records and reports, such as:

  • You are consistently being relocated in the service of your country
  • You have very specific diplomatic immunity
  • Your job requires you to travel and spend extended time (years) abroad

If you will be taking your personal effects and returning with them, you should ensure that this is documented on all of you shipping documents before they are shipped out of the country. Take care to keep your copies of the documents, as you will be required to produce them when the items are being re-imported.

If you are requesting special exemptions from import taxes or duties, you must write to the Ministry of Finance or Ministry of Foreign Affairs, depending on the reason for the request.

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Returning Residents to Jamaica Entitlements

You are generally entitled to at least one or one set of standard household items.

The table below gives an overview of some of your entitlements under the Jamaica customs Act

Television set 2
Video Recorders 2
Component Set
including compact disc player set
Refridgerator set 1
Microwave Oven 1
Stove 1
Dishwasher 1
Washing Machine 1
Dryer 1
Air Conditioning Unit 1
King Sized or
Queen sized bed

The list above is not complete but merely an outline of the Jamaican Resident Entitlement.
For the full list Click here for Entitlement

Personal motor vehiclesThe age limit on personal motor vehicles for import is five years. There are, however, some concessions for returning residents. For more information, click Trade Board Limited, which is responsible for granting Import Licenses for motor vehicle importation

.Pets and Plants
Before importing your pet(s) and/or plant(s), you will need to get an Import Permit from the Veterinary Services Division and/or the Plant Quarantine Division of the Ministry Of Agriculture.You may also visit Jamaica Customs website www.jacustoms.gov.jm for additional information

Finding a  house or buying a lot in Jamaica

Coming home means having somewhere to live right?well while some returning residents seek to buy a house many choose the route of building one, that way one can build something which suits their taste and often times it is much cheaper to build than to purchase a house.

There are many  challenges associated with doing that so it is not for the faint of heart . it also helps if you have some knowledge of the construction process because if you dont you stand the risk of spending much more than you should (contractors are not known for honesty).

Indeed  a friend once remarked “you can remove the word thief from the dictionary and replace it with the word contractor and nobody would know the difference”.


Well whichever route you choose here are some tips and recommendations :

When purchasing your property make sure you use a reputable  attorney or real estate agent to act on your behalf especially if you are not present in Jamaica. many times family members arent the best option especially when money is involved  (there are many horror stories)

The real estate agent will ask you a couple of questions or ask you to fill out a questionaire so as to determine your preferences and budget

Finding the right home within your budget

Kingston suburbs tend to be more expensive than out of town or in rural areas and it is highly unlikely you will find an empty lot available.You will however find many houses for sale prices can range from JA$20m (US$153,000)  to JA$45m (US$350,000) depending on which community.

Areas like Cherry Gardens,Norbrook or Manaor Park are considered “uptown” and tends to be very expensiv However houses in areas like Meadowbrook ,Constant Spring and there oaks may be more reasonably priced.

In Portmore and the outskirts of the city, you will be able to acquire a house or lot at a much lower price. Portmore, however, is comprised of many communities. Areas such as Johnson Hill, Sandhills and Caribbean Estates, are the more upscale communities in Portmore. There are other desirable communities such as Edgewater and Cedar Grove.

houe in chrry gardens
A home In Cherry Gardens

Planning your shipment to

house in meadowbrook
Typical Home In Meadowbrook


Now that you have sorted out your living arrangements it now time to plan your shipment .this requires lots of work and attention to details so its imperative to have a  moving checklist so you dont forget anything.

Packing and preparation can be tedious, if your budget allows then you can choose a shipperr who does everything for you and get your items shipped door to door.

However if you are on a tight budget and need to save  some money by doing your own packing the this article How to save money by packing yourself is a good read

You need to do your homework so as not to choose the wrong company

Oftentimes the cheapest shipper is not the best one to choose .speak to your friends and choose the shipper with the best reputation and is recommended . This article will give some insights in choosing the right shipping company.

Jamaica returning  residents associations

It is not only  the Jamaican government who has taken time or the effort to ensure that returning residents to Jamaica are made to feel welcome .

There are various bodies which have been set up by private individuals which seek to aid and guide returning residents to jamaica  in various stages of their resettlement endeavors

This site has a list of returning residents associations by parish you can check it out.

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4 thoughts on “What every Returning residents to Jamaica should know.”

  1. Hello,

    As a returning resident, are you entitled to any tax break etc. if you are opening a business? After learning that Chinese are not subjected to paying taxes even when the receive containers I am thinking that they more than likely have something in place to encourage returning residence to come home. Any information will be appreciated!

    • Hello Allison
      I do not know specifically of any tax incentives for returning residents starting business in Jamaica I could do some detailed research into that if you need me to.What i do know though is that if you plan to engage in any of the following industries there are tax incentives which you may be able to access
      There are (1) manufacturing (2) creative industries (3) Hospitality and tourism (4)Agriculture (5) Healthcare
      Hope that helped

  2. I obtained dual citizenship . I am an American citizen and obtained my Jamaican citizenship 2 years ago. Both my parents are Jamaican born. Can I be considered a returning citizen since I am building there to visit several times a year for 3 to 4 weeks at a time for short term medical/civic missions.

    • Hi Helene
      based on what you have indicated i do not believe you would qualify as a returning resident as you indicated that you will only be visiting from time to time and not to reside permanently. This is the criteria to be considered a returning resident: “In order to be considered a Returning Resident, and to benefit from the concession afforded to Returning Residents, you must satisfy one of the following conditions:

      Be a Jamaican national who has attained the age of 18 years, and who
      has been residing overseas for the last 3 consecutive years, and
      is returning to Jamaica to reside permanently.

      Be a Jamaican who gave up your citizenship, and can provide proof of that previous status and wishes to return home.
      Be a Jamaican student who has attained the age of 18 years and who has studied abroad for more than one year but fewer than 3 consecutive years.
      Be a Non-Jamaican whose spouse is a Jamaican Returning Resident.
      A Deportee who has been residing overseas for the last 3 consecutive years”
      for more information you can copy and paste this link in the address bar of your browser https://www.jacustoms.gov.jm/service/returning-resident
      Hope that helped. Good luck.


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