Goods subject to a single open general licensing system


Basic information


Outline of the system

Jamaica operates a single open general import licensing system.


Product coverage

The list of products is at Annex 1.

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

It is not intended to restrict the quantity or value of imports. The system is an administrative mechanism intended for monitoring the import of products which could affect the environment, health and security of Jamaica. While an alternative has not been considered in recent years, the list of designated products is reviewed periodically with the objective of removing items where justifiable.


Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports

See answers 6.1-6.11


The system applies to products originating from which country?

The system covers all countries trading with Jamaica.


Expected duration of licensing procedure


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?

All persons, firms and institutions are eligible to apply for licences under a non-restrictive system. However, for importation of motor vehicles dealers must be certified.


Is there a registration fee?

A registration fee is required.


Is there a published list of authorized importers?

A list of certified dealers is available.

Contact point for information on eligibility



The Trade Board Limited



Air Jamaica Building, 72 Harbour Street, Kingston, Jamaica






(+1-876- 948-5441 or 1-876- 948-7486)


E-mail address


Contact officer

Mr VJN Cummings, Trade Administrator/CEO

Submission of an application


Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application

Applications can be submitted through our online portal, the Trade Board Information System (TBIS) at ( to the Trade Board Limited the regulatory authority for import licensing. Otherwise applications can be manually submitted at:

The Trade Board Limited
Address: 10th Floor, Air Jamaica Building, 72 Harbour Street, Kingston, Jamaica
Telephone: (+1-876-967-0507)
Fax: (+1-876- 948-5441 or 1-876- 948-7486)
E-mail address:
Contact officer: [ X ] Mr. Name: VJN Cummings, Trade Administrator/CEO

Documentation requirements


What information is required in applications?

Applications bear the name and address of the importer, individual/company, description of goods, quantity and CIF value, and pro forma invoice or proof of ownership bearing the name of the individual or company.


What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?

Individuals importing items are also required to submit proof of identity with the application. A sample form is at Annex II . The form for firms is similar to that for individuals.

Window of submission of an application


How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?

No time period is stipulated.


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

The licence should be obtained before the product is imported.


Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?

Licence applications are primarily considered by the Trade Board.


Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?

In certain cases, the recommendation of other government Ministries/Agencies, such as the Ministry of National Security and the Bureau of Standards, is sought.


Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?

Not applicable.

Fees and other administrative charges


Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?

Yes, there are administrative charges (fees).


What is the amount of the fee or charge?

A receipting fee is required on submission of all applications and a processing fee to a maximum of J$776.00 is paid at the point of delivery.


Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?

There are no deposits or advance payments required.


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?

There are no other circumstances other than failure to meet statutory requirements.


Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?

The reasons for refusal are given to the applicant.


Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?



If so, to what bodies and under what procedures?

The applicant has the right to appeal by means of a letter to the Trade Administrator presenting any new information. In certain cases, a special committee reviews the case.



Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?



What documents are required upon actual importation?

Importers of licensable items must obtain the import licence before actual importation. Upon importation all importers must submit to the Customs Authorities the original import licence, ownership documents or receipts for items purchased along with necessary shipping documents required by Customs.


Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?

Not applicable.

Conditions of licensing


What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?

Licences are valid for the duration of the financial year - April of one year to March of the next year, or, in certain cases, for six months. Validity can be extended by written request.


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?


Foreign Exchange


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?

Jamaica's foreign exchange system has been fully liberalized. A licence is not required as a condition for 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?

Jamaica does not apply quota restrictions. Information on the licensing system, in booklet form, is published by the Trade Board outlining the supporting documentation to accompany licence applications. The information is distributed by the Trade Board and through Jamaica's Embassies/Missions overseas. Any changes in procedure are published in the newspapers.


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?

Not applicable.


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)

Not applicable.


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?

Not applicable.


What are the minimum and maximum lengths of time for processing applications?

Minimum - one day (without impediments).
Maximum - five days (where documentation is incomplete and referrals to other Ministries are required).


How much time remains, at a minimum, between the granting of licences and the date of opening of the period of importation?

Once the licence is granted, goods may be imported immediately.


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?

Licence applications are primarily considered by the Trade Board. In certain cases, the recommendation of other government Ministries/Agencies, such as the Ministry of National Security and the Bureau of Standards, is sought.


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?

Not applicable.


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?

Not applicable.


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?

Not applicable.


Are there products for which licences are issued on condition that goods should be exported and not sold in the domestic market?