View Full Version : Is a Customs Tax Put on Personal Belongings?

07-05-2008, 04:55 AM
I have been reading on this forum that Antigua charges a customs for personal belongings upon arrival to the island. Can someone please tell me if this is true?

Please, no biased information. Please only list factual information if you have it.

07-05-2008, 06:50 AM
i've never been searched when coming through customs, just say you're a student and you usually have no problems. if you send things to the island though, more often that not it will get stuck at customs and you will have to pay.

07-05-2008, 07:49 AM
great info doc. thanks. others have said on this forum that when they get to the island, the customs officers search their suitcases and belongings and add a VAT from there.

07-05-2008, 08:22 AM
It all depends on the customs agents on. During orientation, the head inspector gives a small speech and says that custom agents have "discretion to calculate duty taxes"..which basically means that if they feel like taxing something, they will. One of my friends had a box of granola bars in his suitcase. The custom agent said he had to pay 20$ US tax on those. My friend was like "The box costs 4$ back in the states." So the agent "confiscated" the bars. (The agent was hungry). There honestly is no rhyme or reason to it..Part of it is luck.

07-05-2008, 09:20 AM
hehe. i suppose do not bring food then - or, do not arrive during breakfast, lunch or dinner. :)

07-05-2008, 09:25 AM
just don't look suspicious...i think every time i arrived in antigua, it was night time and the customs officer didn't look like he wanted to be there (maybe that's the trick?)

07-05-2008, 09:58 AM
Usually they ask you if you are first time in Antigua (say yes and that you are a student), afterwards whenever you come back next semester don't bring stuff as if you are coming on deserted island to stay here forever. if you arriving with carry on, 4 suitcases or more, and just to top it off 5 big boxes then they will "take care" to put you in a line to be searched and taxed

07-05-2008, 10:12 AM
I've never been searched and neither has my husband when he's left and come back in the middle of the semester.

07-05-2008, 10:23 AM
When I came here in May, the customs officer didn't even bother to ask me any question regarding customs...All he asked me is am I student at AUA? and he let me go....My advice is be nice to them...local people like when you treat them with proper respects....it is beneficial to you (since you dont end up paying stupid customs) and they also know that AUA generates big chunk of their economy...also when you come with food n other stuff...do not bring them in original containers...so that they don't feel like you will end up selling this in local markets....also when I came, they had 3 other flights. so they were in hurry to let all people in ...so that might help you (saturday is the best day to arrive in antigua as they have most of the flights coming on that day)....overall, my advice is be nice to them and even if you end up paying customs. Act like you dont have enough money....they always will bargain...sounds funny but thats true...I know the customs at post office does it all the time....I know one student who had shipped 3 boxes from states and they charged her random 1600 ec just for customs....she cried (fake one ..lol) and they let her go after paying 250 ec on customs...:). Hope this helps.

07-05-2008, 10:40 AM
At the airport I have never had problems. I always come with a bunch of extra luggage, so I have like two carts loaded down. I don't think that they want to spend the time, or go through the hassle of searching through 6 suitcases.

But, when I have had things sent here....aaaah....it is SUCH A PAIN!!!!

07-05-2008, 01:47 PM
I am one of the unlucky few that was actually charged, and a friend of mine who thought she would never got charged, was recently charged for a blender...They do inspect you stuff but it depends on when you come to Antigua. If you are coming with other students, or if a lot of planes arrived at that time, they will not check, but if you are arriving with a small group, they have more time to peek through your luggage. Never tell them you purchased anything, say its your house material. Wrap things (mainly electronics) in clothes. And if you buy things in boxes (like lets say a box of granola bars) take them out of the box and put them in a plastic bag. Try to do that with everything that is individually wrapped. Also, try to have a strong attitude, still smile, but be really firm about your answers. Don't be afraid though, unless you're carrying car parts, there's not much they could charge you. I'll give you a better idea about my experience. I once came with a bunch of soap, pantene proV, boxes of granola bars, kitchen supplies, and God knows what else, and the man asked me how much I payed. I told him 50$, which was a good estimate because things are freaking cheap in NY, so he told me I was lying (that jerk) and made his own estimate as 100$ and charge me about 30 US dollars, if I remember correctly. That's another thing, make sure you have cash on you because if you don't pay, they keep your luggage until you come back with the money. I think this jerk picked on me because of a previous experience I had with car parts I was carrying a semester before that and I'm pretty sure he remember me because I got really Bronx on him...lol. So maybe that's why this happened to me, but you guys don't worry about that, I'm sure they won't charge you a lot, if not at all.

Fornis J. Plebney
07-05-2008, 03:29 PM
I've traveled quite extensively and have found that eye contact, a smile, using 'Sir / Ma'am', and a friendly, "How are you doing today?" tends to work with most customs and immigration agents. I had no problem at all clearing customs in Antigua. The agent asked if I was a AUA student (I think I put that on my customs card too) and he instantly waved me through when I said 'yes'.

Also, for you newbies, after you clear immigration, you'll pick up your bags. BEFORE you go get in line at customs, make sure you have one of the customs cards filled out. This is different from the immigration card you get on the plane. Nobody on the flight told us about the 2nd card. Thus, everyone got their luggage...got in line...and had to get back out of line to fill out that card...then get back in line. The cards were against the wall opposite of the baggage carousel. Fill it out why you are waiting on your bags.

07-05-2008, 04:54 PM
everyone... thanks so much for the great replies. there are some really helpful tips here. i know what to expect and how to act, what to say, and how to look when i get there.

futuredoc 86
07-10-2008, 07:18 PM
great posts! helped alot! thanks!

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