Customs Guide for Personal Effects Shipping to the Cayman Islands

Customs information and essential documentation for international removals to the Cayman Islands

Moving overseas comes with lots of boxes to tick and documents to complete, and can be a stressful process. Along with moving yourself, you may have household goods and personal effects that you would also like to take with you to your new home. Whenever you make a booking with 1st Move International Limited, we will advise you of the documentation required to not only ship from the UK, but also to enable you to import your household goods and personal effects into your country of destination.

Here we present to you a quick reference guide on the documentation that you may be required to complete and produce to Customs to import your goods into the Cayman Islands, along with some details regarding what you can and can’t bring along.

Table of contents

What are Personal Effects – Legal Definition

The Cayman Islands Customs and Border Control Service (CBC) allows gives some concession from Customs Duty on unaccompanied personal and household effects (UPEs) for a person who meets permanent residency requirements. The goods must be their personal property, be suitable and intended for their own use in the Cayman Islands, and been personally owned and used overseas for no less than 6 months before departure for the Cayman Islands.

What Documents are Required to Import Personal Effects into the Cayman Islands?

Documentation Authorising Permission to Reside in the Cayman Islands

This can be a Cayman Islands passport if you are a returning resident, or a Residence Permit or Work Permit which can be obtained from the Department of Immigration of the Cayman Islands.

If you are moving to the Cayman Islands for work purposes, you will also need to provide a letter from your employer which should attest to your contract of employment.

CBC Form C5

The Cayman Islands Customs and Border Control Service (CBC) Form C5 must be completed by anyone who is taking up residence in the Cayman Islands and has additional personal effects that are not arriving with them as baggage.

When you make your booking with 1st Move International, we will provide you with a copy CBC Form C5 to complete. We will then provide a completed copy to the agent in the Cayman Islands to ensure that they are pre-advised of the details of your shipment.

Valued Packing Inventory

This is a list, description and value of the goods that are being shipped. This will need to cover all items that are being shipped as Unaccompanied Personal and Household Effects. Not to worry though, we will provide you with a blank valued inventory to complete once you have made your booking with us.

You will need to present this to Customs in the Cayman Islands for them to review before they release your personal effects shipment for delivery to your home.

Bill of Lading

Once your goods have shipped from the UK, the shipping line will confirm the sailing date and estimated arrival date. They will also provide us with the Bill of Lading, which is the transport document specific to your shipment.

This document includes the name of the owner of the goods as well as the addresses in the UK and the Cayman Islands. We will issue an “Express Bill of Lading” which means that an original document isn’t required, and you can claim your shipment with the shipping agent in the Cayman Islands using a copy only, which we will provide to you. For the Cayman Islands the Bill of Lading must show the total freight cost for Customs purposes.


Whether you have a UK or Cayman Islands passport, or one issued elsewhere, we still require a good quality picture of the photo page. This must be in the same name as your shipping documents and be valid at the time of shipping.

You may be required to present your original passport upon arrival in the Cayman Islands which will then include your entry stamp and/or immigration permit.

Power of Attorney

Before an agent can arrange Customs Clearance on your behalf, you will need to complete a Power of Attorney form. We have used the same Customs agent in the Cayman Islands for many years, and will send all documentation that we have once your shipment has departed from the UK.

When it is close to arrival date, the agent will contact you to ensure that they have the correct Power of Attorney in place as well as making sure that they have all documentation required to clear your goods through Customs.

What Items Are Prohibited to be Imported into the Cayman Islands?

There are items that you are not allowed to bring into the Cayman Islands, and a list of these Prohibited Imports includes;

  • Narcotics/illegal drugs and paraphernalia
  • Firearms, replica firearms other weapons and ammunition
  • Explosives and fireworks
  • Flammable/Corrosive materials
  • Gambling paraphernalia

There is a list of prohibited items on CBC Customs Form C5. Please ensure that your valued inventory is sent to us as soon as possible after booking, so that we can check that there aren’t any items that may cause issues for Customs clearance in the Cayman Islands.

What Items Are Restricted to be Imported into the Cayman Islands?

As well as some items that are completely prohibited to import into the Cayman Islands, there are some restricted goods that are allowed to enter under certain circumstances or conditions, some of which will need to have duty paid before they are released. These must be declared on the CBC Customs Form C5;

  • Goods for Commercial Purposes
  • Gifts intended for other persons
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Tobacco Products

Sending your valued inventory to us as soon as possible after booking allows us to check your items for potential issues.

Am I Able to Bring New / Unused Items to the Cayman Islands as Personal Effects?

Any new items that you are importing into the Cayman Islands will need to be noted on the CBC Customs Form C5 and these will attract import duty which will need to be paid before your shipment is released by Customs. There is also a provision on the form to advise of any furniture, household goods and personal items that you have owned for less than 6 months.

Importing any of these items may result in an additional cost, but could also result in a delay in Customs Clearance, so please ensure that any details are checked with us before we collect from you.

Can I Take a Motor Vehicle with Me to The Cayman Islands?

If you wish to import a motor vehicle, motorcycle or boat into the Cayman Islands you will need to pay import duty, even if it is a vehicle owned by you before your move overseas. The import duty is calculated on what is known as the CIF value, which is calculated as the value of the vehicle, plus the cost of the marine insurance premium, plus the cost of the freight.

The duty rate ranges from 29.5% to 42% of the CIF value of the vehicle, with concessions for Electric or Hybrid Vehicles from 0% to 17%.

If you are shipping a vehicle to the Cayman Islands, then you will need to enlist the help of a specialist car shipping company. Take a look at the Autoshippers website where you can find details of different car shipping services and can ask for a quotation.

Is There Anything Else I should Know?

You do not need to clear your items yourself, but if someone is clearing on your behalf will need to have a letter of authorisation from you, and will need to present a copy of their passport and relevant residency documentation or Visa.

Your shipment might be subject to an inspection by the CBC, which you or your import agent will need to arrange. This may be at your premises (before the shipment is unsealed) or a designated Customs Inspection area. You will need to ensure that any keys and/or combination codes needed to open any items are available to Customs when the inspection is taking place.

Any bequeathed items are NOT liable for concessions on import duty when being imported into the Cayman Islands.

As part of the CBC Customs Form C5 declaration, you must confirm that you are intending to remain in the Cayman Islands for more than one year, and if you leave before this time the import of your personal effects will be subject to import duties.

Shipping Furniture and Household Effects to the Cayman Islands

1st Move International have been shipping household goods and personal effects to Cayman Islands for more than 25 years. On receipt of your booking, we will send you instructions on all of the information and documentation that we require to enable us to ship your shipment through Customs in the UK and the Cayman Islands. We have a local agent in the Cayman Islands which we have been working with for many years you will be a part of the process and will assist you in Customs Clearance.

Our team of international removals experts are on hand to help with any questions that you have, and to help make international removals to Cayman Islands as easy as possible.

For a quotation, please complete the form on this page, giving us as much information as possible. Alternatively, you can call us on +44 117 982 8123 / 0800 389 0784 during UK office hours or e-mail on

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