Outline of the system
St. Kitts and Nevis operates two licensing systems. One of which is the import license regime
for general goods whereby applicants are required to complete an application form and to pay an
EC$1.00 postage stamp fee. The application form must be completed in duplicate, whereby the
administrative division of the Government Supply Office would retain a copy and the other delivered
to the party requesting the import license. In relation to plant and plant products, an import license
must be obtained to ensure that the exporting country and the products do not appear on the schedule of restricted or prohibited goods.
There is a separate regime for the importation of meat and meat products and live animals. An
application form is submitted by the importer to the Veterinary division of the Agriculture
Department for consideration. In addition the exporting country must provide a health certificate for
the goods being imported. If the goods meet the necessary health standards then the application is
signed and the import permit is issued.
The second license system applies to the exportation of local produce and local animals &
animal products. In the case of animals and animal products, the applicants are required to apply for a special license from the Agriculture Department which is the competent authority for certifying local products for exportation.
For the importation of meat products and live animals, there are basically two systems.
(a) Countries where diseases of a particular species are endemic, a license would be denied
(b) Countries where rabies are endemic, a license would be denied
Nature of licensing
If Automatic, administrative purpose
If Non-Automatic, description of the notified Non-Automatic Licensing regime
Products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
The import license system is designed to control the quantities of specific imported goods. Additionally, it assists in reducing the importation of trans-boundary diseases into the Federation. The system also provides statistical data on the importation of specific imported goods.
Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
The system applies to products originating from which country?
In relation to meat and meat products, the countries of origin are primarily South American
countries where the above diseases are endemic.
Expected duration of licensing procedure
Is the licensing statutorily required?
All imports under the ‘Importation of Restricted Goods Licensing Regime’ in St.Kitts and
Nevis are provided for under Statutory Rules & Orders Number 19 of 1975 and Number 31 of 1976.
Section Eleven (11) of the External Trade Order Chapter 338 and Statutory Rule and Order Number
14 of 1992.
Does the legislation leave designation of products to be subject to licensing to administrative discretion?
There is no provision for administrative discretion with regard to the list of good that appear in the different schedules. Any amendments or repeal of the different instruments must be legislated.
Is it possible for the government to abolish the system without legislative approval?
Eligibility of applicants
Is there a system of registration of persons or firms permitted to engage in importation?
What persons or firms are eligible to apply for a licence?
Is there a registration fee?
Is there a published list of authorized importers?
There is no specific published list of authorized importers. However, commercial importers are required to have the relevant business license which is separate from the import license.
Contact point for information on eligibility
Submission of an application
Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application
What information is required in applications?
The application process in St.Kitts and Nevis is a simple one. It calls for the Description of
the goods, Country of Origin, Quantity of the imported goods, CIF Value and Retail Price if the goods
are intended for retail sale.
What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?
The applicant would be required to submit the completed application form in duplicate copy
along with copies of the invoices. For the importation of meat and meat products.
Window of submission of an application
How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?
At least one (1) month prior to the importation of the goods.
Are there any limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence can be made? If so, explain
Issuing the license
Can a licence be granted immediately on request?
Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence
Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?
Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?
Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?
Fees and other administrative charges
Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?
What is the amount of the fee or charge?
An EC$1.00 stamp fee is collected as an administrative charge. There is also an EC$50.00 administrative fee for meat and meat products.
Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?
Amount or rate?
Is it refundable?
What is the period of retention?
What is the purpose of this requirement?
Refusal of an application
Under what circumstances may an application for a licence be refused other than failure to meet the ordinary criteria?
Whenever there is an abundance of local fresh produce, import restrictions are put in place and import licenses may be refused by the competent authority. For meat and meat products the restriction would take effect whenever there is a disease outbreak of an exotic nature.
Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?
Refusals for licenses are communicated to the applicants.
Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?
If so, to what bodies and under what procedures?
Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?
What documents are required upon actual importation?
Upon importation, applicants are required to submit a completed Customs Declaration Form along with the relevant Commercial Invoice, Bill of Laden, Certificate of Origin where applicable and
in some case the Certificate of Title.
Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?
Conditions of licensing
What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?
Licenses are valid for one (1) shipment. The license cannot be extended.
Is there any penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence?
Are licences transferable between importers? If so, are any limitations or conditions attached to such transfer?
Is foreign exchange automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported?
Is a licence required as a condition to obtaining foreign exchange?
Is foreign exchange always available to cover licences issued?
What formalities must be fulfilled for obtaining the foreign exchange?
The following questions are only for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports (whether applicable globally or to a limited number of countries or whether established bilaterally or unilaterally)
Where is information on allocation and formalities for licences published? Is the overall amount published? The amount allocated to goods from each country? The maximum amount allocated to each importer? How to request any exceptions or derogations from the licensing requirement?
Imports requiring import licenses are gazette and recorded in the Statutory Rules & Orders Number 19 of 1975 and Number 31 of 1976, and posted at the Government Supply Office. In regards to restrictions on the importation of goods produced locally, the supply office is required to notify the major importers of their allotted quotas. In relation to meat, meat products and plants the restriction is activated when there is a disease outbreak. There are no country quotas for imports originating from safe countries.
Is the size of the quota determined: on yearly, six-monthly or quarterly basis? Are there cases where the size of quota is determined on a yearly basis but licences are issued for imports on a six-monthly or quarterly basis? In the latter case, is it necessary for importers to apply for a fresh licence on a six-monthly or quarterly basis?
The overall quota is determined by the level of domestic production. However, individual quotas are allocated based on the import history of the different importers. Quotas are given on a yearly basis, while licenses are issued at least one (1) month prior to importation.
Are licences allocated for certain goods partly or only to domestic producers of like goods? What steps are taken to ensure that licences allocated are actually used for imports? Are unused allocations added to quotas for a succeeding period? Are names of importers to whom licences have been allocated made known to governments and export promotion bodies of exporting countries upon request? If not, for what reason? (Indicate products to which replies relate)
Yes, licenses are allotted for certain goods to domestic producers. Administratively the Supply Office monitors these licenses to ensure that allocated licenses are used for imports. There is no transfer of licenses for succeeding periods. The names of importers who received licenses are made available to any other government agency upon request.
From the time of announcing the opening of quotas, as indicated in I above, what is the period of time allowed for the submission of applications for licences?
Applicants are allowed at least one month to submit applications for licenses upon the announcement of the opening of quotas.
What are the minimum and maximum lengths of time for processing applications?
Applications for import licenses for general goods can be processed immediately and for plants, animals, and meat & meat products the processing time ranges from two (2) days to a month.
How much time remains, at a minimum, between the granting of licences and the date of opening of the period of importation?
Import licenses are granted at least one month prior to the importation of goods.
Is consideration of licence applications effected by a single administrative organ? Or must the application be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval? If so, which? Does the importer have to approach more than one administrative organ?
Applications for import licenses are considered by the Government Supply Office and the Veterinarian Services Division of the Department of Agriculture.
If the demand for licences cannot be fully satisfied, on what basis is the allocation to applicants made? First come, first served? Past performance? Is there a maximum amount to be allocated per applicant and if so, on what basis is it determined? What provision is made for new importers? Are applications examined simultaneously or on receipt?
Licenses would be allocated based on past performance of the requesting importers. The quotas are also determined based on past importation performance. This is not applicable for meat and meat products.
In the case of bilateral quotas or export restraint arrangements where export permits are issued by exporting countries, are import licences also required? If so, are licences issued automatically?
There are no additional requirements for licenses by exporting countries. The licensing systems are predominantly for domestic measures.
In cases where imports are allocated on the basis of export permits only, how is the importing country informed of the effect given by the exporting countries to the understanding between the two countries?
For meat and meat products only, the export country may communicate their export permit information to our regulatory authority via mail or email.
Are there products for which licences are issued on condition that goods should be exported and not sold in the domestic market?