Taxes and Customs
Once you pass through Immigration and collect your baggage, there may be long lines of visitors waiting to clear the Customs Department, especially when several flights arrive at similar times or when crowds of Bermudians are carting back suitcases full of foreign purchases. Make sure you have completed your Customs declaration form. A uniformed officer will either give you the all-clear and wave you through to the exit and ground-transportation stands, or will direct you to the baggage inspection desk.
Residents and visitors are equal under Bermuda’s Passenger Tax Act, 1972. Passenger taxes are $35 for all air travelers (included in the airfare) and up to a maximum of $60 for cruise ship passengers (collected in advance by cruise lines). Children under the age of two are exempt in both cases.
Visitors are allowed to enter the island with personal clothes and belongings, including sports equipment, cameras, golf bags, 50 cigars, 200 cigarettes, 0.5 kilogram of tobacco, one liter of liquor, one liter wine, and $30 worth of gifts. Duty of 25 percent will be levied on up to 50 pounds of meat and other foodstuffs brought into the island. There are strict rules governing the importation of plants, fruits, and vegetables, and these require an import permit. Live marine animals are not permitted, but fresh, frozen, or cooked fish or shellfish may be brought in, as long as it contains no algae or seaweed. For more information, visit www.customs.gov.bm.
Animals require proper documentation or they will be returned to their point of origin, since there are no quarantine facilities on the island. They must be accompanied by an import permit issued in advance by the Department of Environmental Protection, as well as a health certificate issued within 10 days of the visit by a licensed vet in the animal’s home country. For more details on document requirements, contact the department at tel. 441/236-4201, fax 441/232-0046, www.animals.gov.bm.
Bermuda visitors are allowed to take home duty-free merchandise purchased on the island. U.S. Customs has a pre-clearance facility at L. F. Wade International Airport, so declaration forms must be filled out in Bermuda before your journey home. Forms are available at airlines and travel agencies. U.S. citizens (www.cbp.goc/xp/cgov/travel) are permitted $800 goods allowance after 48 hours, including 200 cigarettes and 100 non-Cuban cigars. The allowance is good every 30 days.
Different countries have varying rates of duty on goods carried back above the duty-free limits. Plants should not be taken back without permission from your own country.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition