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Don't take my bags mister customs man!

Illinois
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97 posts
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Don't take my bags mister customs man!

Just a few suggestions for people taking things the the schools or orphanages. After several trips taking a few things to the schools in Negril, (Happy Hearts in Negril and Torrington in Sav)this trip we had a big fundraiser at home to do building projects at the schools and in the process got tons of school supplies, toys and shoes. So we ended up taking 14 peices of luggage, over 600 lbs of donations. We thought we had are act together, making arrangements with the airlines and with customs. When we arrived, we did not have the correct papers from the government and they kept 8 suitcases of our donations. It took two days, a trip the the schools, some government office and then back to Mobay to get them released,another 5 hour ordeal.

It seems you can take some things in your standard luggage but if you bring a lot of things, they take it and it is a pain getting it back. Too bad that the Jamaican goverment can't be a help in getting these donations to the schools instead of a beuracratic pain in the ****( ya mon, no problem does not apply at Jamaican customs). Not to let a few customs police hamper our efforts, next time we will have our act together and bring even more. It was so cool to see the kids with there love, there smiles, and there new school shoes. The kids love shoes (black or brown for school), toy cars for the boys, logo clothing, and dolls for the girls. Teachers need any school supplies you can get together.

Trance

southern, illinois
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1,191 posts
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11. Re: Don't take my bags mister customs man!

Nice Arlo reference, here's a gil scott Heron one "If they don't get you in the wash they'll catch you in the rinse".

Good work, peace

Illinois
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97 posts
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12. Re: Don't take my bags mister customs man!

Annie

Hell they took used clothing and shoes from me and were going to charge me duty.. and THEY determin the value unless you have a reciept. To answer your question, I have many times brought items like you have and recieved no hassle. However since more seem to be getting stopped and things detained. I would not have a seperate bag for the orphanage and your clothing and personal stuff in the other. Mix them up, so it does not look like you have a load for the orphanage unless you have a signed waiver.

I have not had a problem in the past with several trips, but this time it was a major hassle. I would think with just two bags you will probably walk right through.

Trance

Springfield...
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5,046 posts
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13. Re: Don't take my bags mister customs man!

Annie,

The customs agent asks how many bags you have. I'm not sure how many they think would be reasonable per person but if you have more than they think is reasonable then you get sent to the spot check. One couple that went with us to the school were also there for a wedding. They had six bags total (including carryon) for 9 days and were sent over. One was full of school things but the guy let them go on. Again, it was a male agent that let them through in the spot check area. They had 6 bags because they were limited from their original point coming on a seaplane. Then when they got to their 2nd home in Florida they only had smaller cases so they had to use those.

Do as Trance suggested and mix the things in with your own. You shouldn't have any trouble but to be safe have receipts. If you know someone that owns a business have them make up a receipt with very little value. Not sure how customs values things as they claimed different things have different values but we ended up paying 50% of the value we claimed. I thought that was really extreme as all the clothes were used, in fact everything except the school supplies and underwear were used.

Jackson, Michigan
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14. Re: Don't take my bags mister customs man!

tedboy,

You'll be best off not telling them anything and standing in the nothing to declare line. I know honesty is supposed to be the best policy but it doesn't seem that way in Jamaican customs & immigration. If they don't specifically ask then don't tell them. Just say you're on a vacation and have your arrival & departure dates ready.

Kingston, Jamaica
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1,253 posts
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15. Re: Don't take my bags mister customs man!

Someone meantioned to go to the male agents. Funny enough I think you are absolutely right!!! The female customs agents are very difficult to deal with.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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16. Re: Don't take my bags mister customs man!

I was wondering if someone could tell me where to go to get the waivers I read about here? We are going to be arriving Feb 1st and are taking probably small suitcase worth of stuff for one of he schools.

I had thought about checking with my friend's church for a letter of donation. Anyone know if that helps?

Any advice on these ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Lynn

Illinois
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97 posts
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17. Re: Don't take my bags mister customs man!

Lynn,

The school that you are taking things too can get the waiver. I believe it comes from the minister of education. Most schools are aware of it and they can check with the right office. Its the school in Jamaica that must get the waiver, not a US organization. Hoever, for one or two suicases, you should have no problem just going right through customs. It's when you hve many bags of supplies that they hassle you. I would however mix up the supplies with our normal clothes and personal things to get through customs. I have taken school supplies many times and never been stopped. It just when you have many bags that they want to search and question and detain(We had 14 bags)

Trance

Springfield...
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18. Re: Don't take my bags mister customs man!

bump