One of the advantages of shopping in the Turks and Caicos Islands is that you’re able to purchase expensive luxury items and not pay any tax, either locally in the Turks and Caicos, or when you return home (up to a limit). This is known as duty-free shopping. Duty-free shops can be found at the Providenciales airport and at many of the larger resorts.
Duty-free Allowances - Bringing Goods into the Turks and Caicos Islands
Each arriving visitor and resident over the age of 17 is allowed to bring the following into the Turks and Caicos without incurring duty:
- 1 liter (33.8 US fluid ounces) of spirits OR 2 liters (67.6 US fluid ounces) of wine (less than 42% alcohol by volume).
- 200 cigarettes OR 100 cigarillos OR 50 cigars OR 125 grams (4.4 ounces) of tobacco.
- 50 grams (1.7 ounces) of perfume or 0.25 liters (8.4 ounces) of eau de toilette.
- $1,000 of gifts or items that will remain in the Turks and Caicos (for non-commercial use).
- 'Reasonable' amount of personal goods.
Any goods over your allowance will be charged at normal duty rates (typically 30%). Some goods, such as basic food products and books, are exempt.
If the duty-free allowance ($1000 of goods which will remain in the islands) is exceeded, the head of each family will be required to complete a customs form. Unrelated friends traveling together (different surnames) will each need to complete their own customs declaration form, if they exceed the allowance. If the duty-free allowance is not exceeded, the customs form does not have to be completed.
The customs forms are no longer provided by your airline, as they are only required if you exceed your allowance. Should you exceed your allowance, simply enter the Goods to Declare line and notify the customs officer. They will provide you with a form to complete.
A separate immigration form will need to be completed for every arriving person.
The Turks and Caicos has certain restrictions on importing food, plant products, and animal products, especially pertaining to fresh, unprocessed, and unpackaged items.
Prohibited Items and Drugs
You may face fines and/or incarceration if you bring in any of the following without prior approval:
- Banned weapons (including firearms, firearm parts, ammunition, and ‘Hawaiian slings').
- Controlled drugs and narcotics, including (but not limited to) marijuana.
- Pornography and ‘obscene publications’.
Any prescription drugs must be accompanied by a doctor’s prescription. It is advised to keep all medication in original packaging to avoid confusion and questioning at ports of entry. Note that medical marijuana is illegal in the Turks and Caicos, regardless of whether a person holds a prescription or not.
Cannabis is a Class A (highest) controlled substance in the Turks and Caicos. It is illegal to import cannabis (marijuana) in any form. Products containing its derivatives (including anything containing CBD or THC) are also prohibited (including products such as CBD oil products or THC gummies).
There is no exemption for medical marijuana products (either with or without a doctor’s prescription).
Persons who attempt to import drugs, including cannabis and marijuana, are subject to a 5-year sentence and a fine of up to $75,000.
Conchs, Shells, and Corals
A limit of three mature conch shells may be exported from the Turks and Caicos by visitors returning home. Arts and crafts made from conch shells and purchased locally may also be exported, as well as conch pearls. Other shells, depending on the species and quantity, may require a permit. Corals of any sort cannot be exported legally.
Be aware when returning home that many countries have restrictions on importing conch shells or conch products, and are signatories of the international CITES Treaty, which oversees the protection of endangered plants and animals. When clearing customs at some destinations, it may be necessary to have a CITES permit to legally import the conch products. This permit can be obtained from the Department of Environment and Coastal Affairs (DECR) on Providenciales.
Returning to Your Home Country
Residents are allowed to bring the following back to their home country without incurring duty. Please note there are exceptions in some circumstances for stays less than 48 hours.
US Customs and Border Protection allows (for a trip of at least 48 hours, every 30 days):
UK Border Agency allows residents to bring the following duty-free:
Canada Border Services Agency allows the following (after a visit of 48 hours):