Business Barbados

Temporary Importations

Temporary importations must be covered by Bonds. Approval is normally given for a period of three (3) months. Extensions may be allowed under certain circumstances for subsequent periods of three (3) months but not exceeding twelve (12) months. Applications for extensions must be submitted for approval.

Barbados is not a signatory to the ATA Carnet Convention.

Exempt Companies

Companies operating under special legislation are exempted from import taxes and environment levy on equipment and raw materials required for the operation of the business. The various departments and institutions, international bodies and organisations listed in Part II-B of the Customs Tariff are exempt from the payment of customs duty. Specific goods (e.g.: computers), also mentioned in Part II-B, are exempt from customs duty.

  • Hotels and Guest Houses – Under the Tourism Development Act 2002-2007 special concessions are allowed for some types of furniture to be imported free of taxes and duties for Hotels and Guest Houses only.
  • Manufacturers and Agriculturists – All manufacturing entities and agriculturists, including persons involved in fishing and horticulture are exempt from the payment of duty on items (including packaging materials, machinery, equipment and spares) imported for use in their businesses.

Offshore Companies

Under the International Business Companies Act, offshore companies are eligible for exemption from all taxes and duties on items that will be used exclusively for their operations. The Company must first be registered in Barbados and assigned a Corporation Tax Account Number by the BRA. A letter to the Commissioner formally requesting exemption status can then be processed.

Diplomatic Shipments

Diplomatic shipments are usually exempt from customs duties and taxes. However; there are some procedures that must be carried out to facilitate this status. An original Bill of Lading and inventory are required prior to arrival of the shipment so that diplomatic agencies can apply for the exemption certificate required for customs clearance. Approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes about four (4) working days. Clearance can then be done as soon as one (1) day after the documents are returned from the ministry.

Personal Effects

The following documents are required by the Barbados Customs & Excise Department for persons shipping items as personal effects into Barbados:

  1. Valid Passport
  2. Full Inventory of incoming items
  3. Original Bill of Lading, Express Release, Sea Waybill of Lading or Air Waybill
  4. Import License for Motor Vehicles or Boats

Used personal effects and household goods are allowed into Barbados free of duties if the items have been in the owner’s (consignee’s) possession and used for a period of at least one year.

New items will attract import duties ranging between five and sixty percent (5% – 60%) plus an additional one percent (1 %) Environmental Levy and seventeen and a half percent Value Added Tax (17.5 % VAT).

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • All Vehicles – Importers are required to apply for an import license before shipping a vehicle.
  • If used – The owner’s logbook and insurance policy for the period of ownership plus any other supporting documents which provide proof of period of ownership.
  • If new – A commercial invoice is required for all new vehicles.

Restrictions & Requirements

  • If client is not a diplomat or returning national – Vehicles must be four (4) years or under with an odometer reading of 50, 000 km or less.
  • If client is a returning national – There are no restrictions on age or mileage provided the candidate meets all other requirements outlined in the Returning National Guidelines. The vehicle is free of all normally applicable import duties and taxes.
  • If client is a diplomat – No restrictions apply in this case and the vehicle is free of all normally applicable import duties and taxes.

Rates of Duty on Vehicles

  1. Import duty is 45% on all vehicles.
  2. Environmental Levy is Bds$1,500.00 per vehicle
  3. Value Added Tax (V.A.T.) is 17.5%
  4. Port FAS charge
  5. Excise Tax


An import license must be obtained from the Price Control Division of the Ministry of Commerce, Consumer Affairs & Business Development, before boats of any kind can be brought into the island.

Firearms & Ammunition

No firearms or ammunition are allowed into the island for any purpose unless strict guidelines are followed. Both police and Government permits are required before importation of these items can be facilitated. An import license must also be obtained.

Live Animals & Pets

It is a requirement that all live animals meet specific permit requirements issued by the Veterinary Services Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries & Water Resource Management.


All cats and dogs must be quarantined in the United Kingdom for a period of six (6) months except from the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Great Britain
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • St. Kitts & Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent & The Grenadines
  • New Zealand

Once cleared, they can be delivered on the same day as they arrive.


Meat requires a health certificate and must be inspected by the Port Health Authority.


All live plants must be inspected by the Plant Quarantine Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries & Water Resource Management before being allowed into Barbados.