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 Bermuda International Airport or at the cruise ports, unless you are well prepared with all the required documentation and understand duties applicable for different items you bring in to the island, you can be in for a shock. Remember, in an isolated island like Bermuda where sources of government earnings are limited, customs duty plays a significant role of contributing to government revenues. 
Both visitors and islanders get Duty Free Allowances while entering the island. This allowance is a limit up to which duties are not charged on items you bring in. Custom duties are charged when the quantity or value of an item exceeds this limit. The allowances and the duties vary depending on the item while some items are free of duty altogether (i.e. irrespective of quantity you import). 
I have noticed that Bermuda Customs officers are actually not too strict or rigid. If you make a slight or acceptable variation, they usually give it a blind eye and let you go without making you pay for extra duty. However if you exceed the limit too much then be prepared to pay full duty for all your excess. And this not only means extra cost, but spending a lot of extra time at the airport as the officers would check all your bags and items and assess their value. 
Everyone arriving in Bermuda (a visitor, returning resident or a foreigner on job) needs to complete a Customs Traveler Declaration form (Customs Form 98-p). You must declare all goods you are bringing to Bermuda including gifts. Duty is payable on all imported goods which exceed the limit of duty free allowance or are not covered under the allowance. 
There are 5 kinds of duty free allowances in Bermuda 
  • Passenger duty free allowances... Discussed in detail in the next section
  • Crew member duty free allowance... Accompanied personal goods of crew members arriving by air/sea are entitled to this allowance. 
  • Transfer of residence allowance (TRA). 
  • A first time resident may be entitled to this allowance on personal, professional and household effects. TRA covers most personal and professional goods including clothing, furniture, household appliances, personal computers and portable tools of trade that have been in use for minimum 6 months. More on this under the Immigrants and Returning Residents section
  • Awards allowance... Importing goods awarded overseas for achievements/conduct may be entitled to this allowance. 
  • Inherited effects allowance... If importing inherited personal effects, you may be entitled to this allowance on the goods that have been inherited. 

    Visitors and Tourists

    (Update: Rates effective 2019) 
    Duty free allowances for visitors include 1 liter of wine, 1 liter of spirit, 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars and 500 grams of tobacco. Beer has no duty free allowance and attracts a duty of $0.99 per liter. Spirits (like whisky, rum, vodka, gin, Liqueurs etc) beyond the duty free allowances will attract duty of $10.63 per liter, wine/champagne $2.89 per liter, and cigarettes $44 per carton of 200. 
    As a visitor, you can bring a duty free gift for someone in Bermuda for a value of up to $50. You can bring your personal medication with you without paying any duty. However, it is a good practice to carry your doctors prescription which should clearly show your name and the dosage. 
    You are allowed to bring items 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 and flakes, prepared foods for infant use (including formula), rice, normal sugar, wheat and cereal flours, milk and cream etc and there is no duty on these. However some milk products like spreads, cheese, yogurt, and curd attract 5% customs duty, and so does honey. 
    Meat (beef, pork, lamb, chicken and other poultry products - fresh, prepared, chilled or frozen), fish (fresh, prepared, chilled, frozen, dried or salted), eggs (preserved or boiled), sausages, edible oil attract 5% duty. For meat, the allowable maximum limit is 20 pounds per person which is all dutiable and can be brought for personal consumption only. However with a meat inspection certificate, you can bring more amount of meat. Seafood like crab, lobsters, shrimps, prawns, scallops, mussels (fresh or chilled) attract higher duty of 12.5%. 
    Duty of most vegetables, fruits (including juices) and nuts, as well as tea and coffee is 5%. Sauces like tomato ketchup, mustard sauce, Soya sauce etc attract a high 15% duty. 
    Import of some dairy products like raw milk, pasteurized milk, ultra-pasteurized milk, ultra heat treated milk and manufactured milk are prohibited unless you take prior approval from ministry of agriculture of Bermuda. 
    All electronic and 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%). Most other items have a duty of 22.25%. 
    If you plan to bring your pet with you, check out Importing Pets to Bermuda
    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%. 

    Immigrants and Returning Residents

    (Update: Rates effective 2019) 
    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 months or 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. 
    The duty free allowance includes 1 liter of wine, 1 liter of spirits, 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars and 500 grams of tobacco, and other goods up to a value of $200 per person. 
    For the first time residents, used (and not new) personal and household goods such as clothing, shoes, books, accessories and other used stuff (meant for personal use only) are eligible to be duty free. This is known as Transfer of Residence Allowance (TRA). Even pets qualify in TRA. 
    Used stuff technically means items that are in use for 6 months or more. So you need to prove that such goods have been in your possession for more than 6 months in order to get this allowance. This proof will usually consist of the sales invoice, receipt of purchase or other similar document. You may also be requested to produce other evidence (i.e. evidence of maintenance and use of the goods). 
    However items like vehicles, motor bikes, private yachts etc do not qualify for TRA and you will need to pay full duty on them. You should carry invoices (bills) as evidence of date of purchase. 
    Belongings can also be sent before or after your arrival to the island. However, it must not be more than 90 days before or after the day you take up residence, respectively. Proper instructions to the clearing agent along with a refundable monetary security for duty should be given. 
    If you are shipping the materials by air or ocean cargo, then you should apply for the TRA within 3 days of importation, otherwise on your arrival in Bermuda. 
    However new items (less than 6 months in use) may attract duty beyond the duty free allowances and applicable duty depends on the type of items. For example, import duty rate on new clothing, jewelry, precious or semi precious stones, leather goods like handbags, clothing etc is 6.5%, camera, lens, antiques etc 8.5%, most perfumes 10%, make up items 22.25%, footwear, watches 10%, toys, games and sports items (including parts) attract a duty of 22.25%. 
    While ceramic tableware and kitchen wares are duty free, ornamental ceramics attract a duty of 6.5%. Batteries, generators, air conditioners are dutiable @33.5%. 
    Small ornamental or decorative glass wares attract 6.5% duty while most other heavy glass ware items have a duty of 22.25%. Printed books and brochures, software etc are free of duty in general. Original artwork 8.5%, food products including dietary supplements 15%, spirits $11.69 per liter, wine/champagne $3.18 per liter, cigarettes $44 per carton of 200, smoking tobacco, cigars, cheroots etc 33.5%. Most other items attract a duty of 22.25%. 
    For all new items, you should carry the bills (invoices) or receipts of purchase, otherwise the tax would be applied on an assessed value which may be more than your actual buying price. 
    NOTE: Effective May 2014, 1.25% wharfage fee for clearance through airport and seaports has been removed. 

    Contact Details of Bermuda Customs

    Custom House, 40 Front Street, Hamilton HM 12, Bermuda 
    Phone: (441) 295-4816, Email: [email protected] 
    Tariff Classification Officer: 
    Email: [email protected], Phone: (441) 278-7422 or 278-7423 
    Valuation Officer: 
    Email: [email protected], Phone: (441) 278-7422 or 278-7423 
    Yacht Reporting Center: 
    Phone: 441/297-1226 
    While all efforts are made to keep the information up to date, you should check with Bermuda Customs and Immigration Departments for any latest updates and changes.
    Raj BhattacharyaBy Raj Bhattacharya 
    Raj, a seasoned travel writer and Bermuda destination expert, has extensive global travel experience. This website reflects his profound insights, garnered over nearly two decades of dedicated findings and research on the island. Raj has assisted countless Bermuda-bound visitors by providing direct, personalized responses to their queries and imparting his wealth of knowledge through this platform. This site serves as an indispensable guide for those seeking informed and reliable insights into Bermuda's treasures. 
    Know more about Raj Bhattacharya 

    Related Articles

    5) Check out Bermuda Travel Guide for lot more information about Bermuda. 

    Viewers' Reviews and Comments

    Sandy(March 2023) 
    Hello - My family and I are flying to Bermuda this weekend and renting a house (7 adults).  Can we bring some spices in little baggies for cooking some dinners?  Mostly 1 or 2 tablespoons of each for our recipes. Do we have to declare or just keep in luggage? Do not want to have to buy full jars at store. Thank you 
    Raj ( March 2023 
    Hi, you can bring spices for personal consumption, however, all fruits, vegetables, and plant products including spices, seeds, etc must be declared on arrival. 
    Mano (February 2020) 
    Hello Raj. Is there any duty applicable on the gold that I'll be wearing at that time. And the cosmetics makeup stuff and moisturiser creams I'm gonna take. Also I have a new tablet for my baby which Ill be using on the plane is there any duty applicable on these items? 
    Raj ( February 2020 
    Hello, for visitors items of personal use such as cosmetics, ornaments, or a tab/laptop etc are not dutiable. 
    Marylou Lufkin (July 2018) 
    Hi Raj. I just found your site and think it is the best Bermuda tourism website! We visit Bermuda often. It is our favorite place for vacation. I've seen comments about bringing sand, shells and sea glass from Bermuda through customs and into the States. I wonder if it is possible to bring ocean water back? My friends and I like to fill spritzer bottles with ocean water and I'd like to bring 10-20 bottles back with me from Bermuda. If I check this as luggage do you think it would be allowed? I assume I should declare it as well? Thanks for any info you can provide. 
    Raj ( July 2018 
    Hi, haven't heard of any restrictions on bringing back ocean water. However for 10-20 bottles, you should declare at the customs. I also suggest that you write to Bermuda Department of Immigration to get an official clarity on the matter. 
    Al (March 2018) 
    Hi Raj, If, for example, i bring an iPhone $1,000 @ 25% and $1,000 of shoes @ 6%, how do Customs apportion the $200 allowance?  I would assume it would be against the value of the items attracting the lowest duty rates (i.e. 6% of $800 / 25% of $1,000) but would be interested to know for sure.  Thanks. 
    Raj ( March 2018 
    Hi, if Bermuda Customs decides to valuate your imported goods, then they will first compute the total duty for all dutiable goods by using respective duty percentages. From the total duty figure they will subtract $200 duty free allowance to arrive at the net payable duty. Be ready with invoices of all dutiable goods so that they can work on the right prices, else they will use their own price list. 
    Steve (January 2018) 
    Hi Raj, I am coming over to work on a permit... If I bring my bicycle over its more than 5 year old and I bought it second hand for does the duty get worked out at the Airport? Don't want a last minute surprise or financial penalty. I will need my cycle to get around. I have added loads of things to the bike over the years including a battery for hill assistance so it feels unique and irreplaceable. Will I be ok through customs? 
    Raj (January 2018) 
    Hi, customs duty on a usual bicycle is 22.25% on the purchase value (bill/receipt required), however it can increase to 33.5% with auxiliary motor fitted to it. 
    Steve (January 2018) 
    Hi Raj, It was second hand... So should I just get a receipt from the person I bought it from? 
    Raj (January 2018) 
    Hi Steve, Most used (second hand) items other than few essentials like used clothes, laptop etc are dutiable. You should carry an invoice/ receipt from the seller, otherwise the customs will use an assessment value from their own chart which may be much higher than the actual purchase price. I suggest you also write to Bermuda Immigration to get an official response on the matter. You can find contact details on my webpage. 
    Nina Radovic (November 2017) 
    Hello Raj, We're travelling for the end of year holidays to Bermuda. With regards to ground coffee and tea bags from abroad, I need to carry the bill/receipts? Thank you for you time. 
    Raj (November 2017) 
    Hi, although 5% duty is applicable on coffee and tea, if you carry small quantity for personal use, they wont likely impose any duty. 
    Dyer (July 2017) 
    I am bringing a friend a gift of kitchen items (dish set, decorative kitchen towels), in addition to bringing some past and spices that I will consume while I stay.  All equal less than $30 - do I mention what I have and show receipts or do I not have to say anything?  Also, I was going to wrap the gifts in wrapping paper but wasn't sure if I'm going to have to open things so maybe I'll just bring the wrapping paper and wrap there? 
    Raj (July 2017) 
    As per norm you should declare all gift items and mention their $ values, although practically it may not be required if you are well within your allowable limits (now $50).... but better to declare. Carry the bills/receipts and show if asked for. Do not wrap with wrapping papers just in case you are required to open and show the items. 
    Luke Mitchell (December 2015) 
    Thanks for all the advice, the site is very useful, as are you answers to everyone's questions. I move to Bermuda in Feb and this Christmas I was given a Bike Helmet for while I'm there. It's less than 6 months old so I'm sure I'll have to pay duty but how do I guess how much? As a gift I have no clue how much it cost and don't have a receipt. Is it classed as a vehicle part or personal item? Thanks 
    Raj (December 2015) 
    Customs should treat a helmet as a personal item, it is definitely not a vehicle part. Don't think they will charge a duty for a helmet unless it's something very fancy. If they do, they will use its assessed cost (from their list of items) to calculate the duty. 
    Harley Kaufman (November 2015) 
    Can I bring fresh nuts like cashews and coconut water to Bermuda? 
    Raj (November 2015) 
    You can bring, but cashew nuts and coconuts (fresh or dried) will attract a duty of 5%. It is another matter that Customs Officers are usually lenient if you bring small quantities and let you go without paying any duty. 
    Karen Schellinck (July 2015) 
    Hi Raj, Great info, thank you. Quick question...may I bring in live or cooked lobster from Canada? Thanks! 
    Raj (July 2015) 
    Hi, You can bring in fresh or frozen lobsters and pay 10% duty on your buying price (carry the bill). 
    Ralph J Miller (May 2015) 
    Good Day Raj, If I brought in a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly for snacking would there be an tariff on them? If I brought in my protein powder and energy bars, made necessary due to a recent surgery, would they be subject to the import tariff? Thank you for your help, 
    Raj (May 2015) 
    Hi, fruit jams, jelly, marmalade, nut puree (peanut butter) etc would attract duty of 5%, Protein etc 15%. However if you bring something which is part of your prescribed medication, then carry the doctor's prescription and that should not attract any duty. 
    John Waters (February 2015) 
    My wife and I have lived in Bermuda for many years but last year bought the accommodation we had been renting and obtained a Residents Permit. We have owned a property in the UK for 15 years and now wish to bring in some rugs and other small items from that UK property to our newly acquired property in Bermuda. Some of the rugs are very good silk quality and are very expensive. We have owned them for several years but the nature of their current use as well as the quality makes them look brand new, albeit we can prove the purchase date. Will we have to pay duty, and how much on rugs? Thank you and kind regards 
    Raj (February 2015) 
    Hi, Usually importing new rugs, blankets, bed linens or carpets would attract a duty of 22.25%. However in your case you should be eligible for TRA (Transfer of Residence Allowance) where you can bring in used personal belongings free of duty except for few items like vehicles etc. You should carry the invoices as evidence that the materials have been in use for at least 6 months. 
    Leslie (January 2015) 
    I am visiting Bermuda soon and am gluten intolerant. I would like to know if duty would be charged on gluten free foods (packaged items) that I require as part of my diet. 
    Raj (January 2015) 
    Duty will depend on what food you bring in (i.e. cereals, meat, vegetables, rice etc). There is no specific customs guidelines on gluten free products. 
    Mairi Anderson (July 2014) 
    Hi. We are visiting friends in Bermuda, and wish to bring some Scottish smoked salmon ( vacuum sealed)as a gift for our hosts. Is this allowed and if so, would we have to pay duty? Thanks! 
    Raj (July 2014) 
    Hi, You can bring in smoked salmon to Bermuda, however the customs clearance can get delayed. 5% duty is applicable. 
    McGough (June 2013) 
    Can I bring into Bermuda from the US fresh fruits and vegetables in small quantities? 
    Raj (June 2013) 
    Hi, Fruits and vegetables attract 5% customs duty. But if you bring in small quantities, then they might let you go without paying duty. However, it's always a good idea to carry your food bills so that Bermuda customs can calculate the duty on purchase price. Otherwise they may use their own assessed value and charge the duty. 
    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) 
    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 and 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) 
    Hello, The duty rate for wine (as published by Bermuda Customs effective April 2012) over and 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) 
    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) 
    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,