Bermuda Customs Duties
We have been to Bermuda many times as visitors and also know of many expatriates who have been living in Bermuda on work permits.
When it comes to customs clearances at the Bermuda Airport or at the cruise ports, unless you are well prepared with all the required documentation and understand duty & the tariff implications, you can be in for a big shock.
While visitors have some leeway with the personal belongings they bring in, the case with returning residents or expats is quite different.
Everyone arriving in Bermuda (as a visitor or with a job) needs to complete a Customs Traveler Declaration (Customs Form 98-p). You must declare all goods including gifts, that will be left in Bermuda. Duty is payable on all imported goods not covered by the duty free allowance.
Bermuda Customs Duty for Visitors & Tourists
You are allowed to bring with you stuff of your personal use like cell phone, iPod, golf clubs, camera, laptops, used clothes, reading material, prescription drugs, software, corrective spectacle etc, and not pay duty on them. However if you bring consumable items like food, most of that will be subject to duty (i.e. customs tariff). The rate of duty is a percentage of the item's assessed value and depends on the type of item.
There are some exceptions though. Duty free food items include breakfast cereals, bulgur wheat, malt, potato flour & flakes, prepared foods for infant use (including formula), rice, sugar, wheat & cereal flours, milk & cream etc. However some milk products like spreads, cheese, yogurt, and curd attract 5% customs duty, and so does honey.
Duty free allowances include 1 liter of wine, 1 liter of spirits, 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars and 500 grams of tobacco. Beer attracts a duty of $0.9 per liter. Spirits (like whisky, rum, vodka, gin, Liqueurs etc) beyond the duty free allowances will attract duty of $9.66 per liter, wine/champagne $2.63 per liter, and cigarettes $40 per carton of 200.
As a visitor, you can bring a duty free gift for someone in Bermuda for a value of up to $30. You can bring your personal medication with you. However, it is a good practice to carry your doctors prescription which should clearly show your name and the dosage.
Meat (beef, pork, poultry products etc) and fish items attract 5% duty. But seafood like crab, lobsters, shrimps etc attract higher duty of 10%. For meat, the allowable maximum limit is 50 pounds per person which is dutiable and can be brought for personal consumption only.
Duty of most vegetables & fruits (including juices), as well tea & coffee is 5%. Sauces like tomato ketchup, mustard sauce, Soya sauce etc attract a high 15% duty.
Most food items other than the ones mentioned above attract a duty of 22.5%. All electronic & household goods (that are not for personal use and to be left behind in Bermuda) are dutiable at the rate of 25% (some items like batteries, vehicle parts have a duty of 33.5%).
If you are coming to Bermuda to get married, you can bring all goods for Bermuda Weddings
like party favors, wedding dress, wedding rings, wedding gifts etc free of duty. However, they should all be exported out of Bermuda at the end of the visit. Anything that remains in Bermuda, will attract a duty of 25%.
Bermuda Customs Duty for Immigrants & Returning Residents
Immigrants are those who are coming to Bermuda on Work Permit and intending to stay in the island for an extended period of time (like several years). Returning residents are those who are Bermuda nationals but had been to an overseas country for 6 months or more for work, study or treatment and are now returning to Bermuda.
If you are bringing used personal goods such as clothing, shoes, books, accessories etc which are for your personal use only, they are duty free. This is known as Transfer of Residence Allowance (TRA). Used stuff technically means items that are in use for 6 months or more. But it can be somewhat flexible.
However new items may attract duty depending on its type. For example, import duty rate on new clothing, jewelry, precious or semi precious stones etc is 6.5%, camera, lens, antiques etc 8.5%, footwear, watches 10%, batteries, vehicle parts, tobacco etc 33.5%, Cigarettes $40 per carton of 200. For all new items, you should carry the bills, otherwise the tax would be applied on an assessed value which may be more than your actual buying price.
Plus there is a 1.25% wharfage fee for clearance through airport and seaports (except for some goods that are exempted).
For returning residents, there is a duty free allowance which includes 1 liter of wine, 1 liter of spirits, 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars and 500 grams of tobacco, and all other goods up to a value of $200.
While all efforts are made to keep the information up to date, you should check with Bermuda Customs & Immigration Departments for any latest updates and changes.
Update September 30, 2011
In view of the prevailing economic conditions, the key emergency measures that have been declared by the premier are:
1. Only one person per family will be able to claim the duty free allowances in case of returning residents.
2. The duty on good for returning residents will be 35% instead of 25%. This is likely to take effect from November 4th, 2011.
Update February 2012: Good news!! The Premier of Bermuda Ms. Paula Cox in her budget statement mentioned that the import duty at the airport will be rolled back to 25%, and all goods imported through shipping will be harmonized to 25%. The exemption limit on duty for the returning residents will be raised to $200 instead of $100.
Contact Details of Bermuda Customs
Custom House, 40 Front Street, Hamilton HM 12, Bermuda
Phone: (441) 295-4816, Email: email@example.com
Tariff Classification Officer:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: (441) 278-7422 or 278-7423
Email: email@example.com, Phone: (441) 278-7422 or 278-7423
Yacht Reporting Center:
Viewers' Reviews & Comments
Betty Hoyt (March 2013)
When travelling, we like to take along a few snacks and our favourite cereal. Is it permissible to bring through Bermuda Customs a box of breakfast cereal, a package of granola bars, a package of nuts, a few candy bars? Thanks
Raj (March 2013) bermuda-attractions.com
Hi, You can bring all the items you mentioned through Bermuda Customs, but some would attract duties. Breakfast cereals are duty free in general. But fruits & nuts have a duty of 5% on the assessed value. So carry your bills to show the purchase price. I see no problems with candy bars etc if brought in limited quantity.
Doreen Cotter (February 2013)
Thank you for the fantastic knowledgeable website. We will be visiting in March and were thinking of bringing in our baggage, (A) wine (a quantity after the 1 liter duty free allowance/person). On your "Bermuda Customs Duties" it reads, "and wine/champagne $2.63 per liter"- Is this $2.63/liter applicable regardless of the make of the wine-I am confused-In the Bermuda Customs Regulations it is stated that the duty for wine (in excess of the duty free allowance of 1 liter), is 25% of the value. How does one arrive at "the assessed value". We would be bringing this wine purchased in Canada? Thanks for letting us know about the new Arrivals Duty Free Store (B) Re meat: "attracts 5% duty". I am not sure if that would be 5% of what the total charge we paid for the meat when purchased here in Canada or do we have to convert that cost to Bermuda currency or again, how does one arrive at the "assessed value". I am trying to decide whether or not it is worthwhile bringing the wine or the meat in our luggage. Thanks for your help. much appreciated.
Raj (February 2013) bermuda-attractions.com
Hello, The duty rate for wine (as published by Bermuda Customs effective April 2012) over & above the duty free allowance is $2.63 per Liter. It seems to be uniformly applicable for all makes. I do not know which customs regulations document says 25% duty for wine... it might be a dated one. 25% duty rate is applicable for other items like clothes, jewelry etc.
You should carry your purchase bill which is normally used as the assessed value. They will use current currency conversion ratios to convert to Bermuda Dollar (same as US dollar) while computing the rates. If you don't have the bills, they will use some standard chart to get to an assessed value which can be often inflated. Again for meat, the process is same with applicable duty of 5%. Carry your bill or they will use some standard rates. Unless there is real need, I would not carry items excess of the duty free allowances. Virtually everything is available in Bermuda, although it would be a bit pricey. Regards,
Narmeen Navrozally (February 2013)
Hi, I will be shifting to Bermuda in the next 2 months. I was reading through the Custom Regulations and claiming of TRA (Transfer of Residence Allowance). Is it necessary to have receipts to prove that your belongings are 6 months old or more? I am relocating on a standard work permit and have all my belongings including clothes and home items mostly but since I purchased them a longtime back, I may not have any receipts for the same. Also, in case I buy a few new things, is partial TRA claimable?
Raj (February 2013) bermuda-attractions.com
Hi, if you are bringing used stuff for your personal use while on work permit (like clothes, books, accessories etc), they are not dutiable. Although the regulation is not quite clear on how to assess an item if used or not, as far as possible bring receipts to be safe. The questions may arise only when the items look brand new. Otherwise I would assume they would be flexible. If you bring any new stuff, declare that separately and do get your receipts. Most of such items will attract duties.
Robin (January 2013)
We are coming to Bermuda and would like to bring a small gift as a thank you to the owner where we will be staying at... What would be a proper gift. And are the people of Bermuda really "friendly". I want to go to a country where saying hello and goodnight , thank you is not looked down on because we are Americans
Raj (January 2013) bermuda-attractions.com
Hi, Bermudians are in general very friendly. You can bring in any gift that you may think appropriate, like a small souvenir or so of your own country, and a Bermudian would appreciate that. However note that gift items that you plan to bring for an islander would be duty free for a value of up to $30. Beyond that, duty will be charged by Bermuda Customs Department. The rate of such duty may vary depending on the item and can be as high as 25% of the estimated purchase price. Regards,