Bahamas Vacation Guide

Duty-free shopping in the Bahamas

U.S. Travelers

Each U.S. resident may bring home items total retail value of $600.00 USD duty free. Free gifts or promotional items must be taken into consideration as must personal goods. Families traveling together can pool their exemptions. This means that it does not matter if there is one item or four items totaling $1,200.00 for a family of two or $1,800.00 for a family of three and so on.

Requirements: the U.S. resident must have been out of the U.S. for at least 48 hours and this exemption can only be taken every 30 days. If you do not remain outside of the U.S. for at least 48 hours or have previously used your exemption you are limited to a $25.00 duty-free exemption per person and cannot pool this exemption with family members. If you exceed your exemption you loose it and must pay duty on the total value of what you purchased.

Also, there are limits to the amount of alcoholic beverages (2 liters) or tobacco products allowed within the $600.00 limit. Also you must be at least 21 year old to bring back alcoholic beverages. Cuban cigars are not allowed.

Items produced in the Bahamas, such as straw goods, Bahamian brewed beer, conch shells, wood carvings and similar items are allowed in addition to your duty-free allowance provided they are for your personal use.

Canadian Customs

All Canadian residents (despite age) may bring in duty-free purchases of $50 CDN after 24 hours outside of the country. This does not apply to tobacco products or alcoholic beverages. If a small child brings in goods his parent or guardian can sign a declaration that the goods are for the child's use only. After 48 hours outside of Canada a resident may bring with him upon his return (must be carried on the person or within the luggage) to Canada, duty-free, $200 CDN worth of goods. This may include 2 pounds of tobacco and 40 ounces of alcoholic beverages. After a Canadian resident's departure outside of the continental North American for 7 days or more he may bring purchases up to $500.00, some of which may be shipped as long as it is declared upon arrival into Canada. The same amount of tobacco products or alcoholic beverages may be carried as for those residents outside of Canada for 48 hours.

There is no limit as to the number of times a Canadian resident may claim his duty-free allowances. However all items utilizing the duty-free allowances must be for personal use or gifts. Tobacco may not be imported by any person under 16 years of age. Alcoholic beverages may be imported if you are of legal age which is determined by the province or territory from which you enter Canada.

Please check with your local customs department for further conditions and restrictions.

United Kingdom Residents

United Kingdom residents need only be absent from the country for 24 hours to claim duty-free purchases. They may include up to 200 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco, 2 ounces of perfume 2 liters of wine and 1 liter of spirits. No one under the age of 17 may bring in alcoholic beverages. A total of one hundred and thirty six English Pounds worth of purchases may be imported in addition to the above. If a resident exceeds his duty-free allowances he will pay duty on the entire amount not just the part that exceeds the allowance. All items must be carried on the person or within the luggage to be duty-free.

Please check with your local customs for further conditions and restrictions.

Bahamas Duty and Legal Items

Please note that all items carried into the Bahamas as gifts or for resale must be declared. These items will be charged duty upon arrival and the rate can be substantial. Consider 35% a rule of thumb. Beware of carrying gifts or requested items to the Bahamas that are not for your use. You will be required to declare them and pay duty. As far as what you may carry for your use, cigarettes are very expensive and a frequent inquiry of the customs officials. You may not carry over 10 packs of cigarettes without paying duty. They prefer under 10 packs and if you are charged duty it would be cheaper to purchase the items on the islands at wholesale clubs. Imported spirits can also be high duty expenses. In light of the duty-free status given all but beer or wine we suggest you take advantage of the local offerings. You may carry meats to cook with you. In small quantities you will not be charged duty for lets say a cooler of meats. Duty on meats, upon last inquiry was one cent per pound. You may also carry grocery items such as cereal for your personal use. Many products imported to the Bahamas cost much more there. A simple product such as a raisin bran cereal can cost $7-$8 a box when you might otherwise carry it without paying duty. Most such grocery items are duty free if intended for use during your stay. You may not however, import fruit or vegetables. As in most countries there is a fear of pest or disease infestation.


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