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Importing Animal and Plant Products into the Turks and Caicos Islands

gourmet food product imports
Imported food products.

In 2012, new laws were introduced which makes it an offence to import controlled animal and plant products in the Turks and Caicos Islands without a permit and proper documentation. Failure to comply with the regulations may result in a fine of $50,000 and/or a 2 year jail term.

These laws are very broad and it's not always clear what constitutes an 'animal product' or a 'plant product'. Importing a pack of beef jerky or a pack of garden seeds appears to fall under the very broad definitions specified in the law.

Importing Animal Products and Meats

Animals, Meat, Poultry and Fish and other 'animal-related articles' cannot be imported into the country without an Animal Import Permit.

Importing Plant Products

Plants, Plant Products, Fruits, vegetables, seeds and other 'regulated plant articles', with the exception of 'manufactured products' (but not including 'grains'), cannot be imported into the country without a Plant Import Permit.

Conflicting Information from Other Websites

Users from sites such as TripAdvisor report no difficulties importing animal and plant products into the Turks and Caicos. Other sites state a 5 kg allowance for personal consumption.

  • The law is clear in that importing animal products requires a permit and extensive documentation.
  • References to an allowance for personal consumption is based on the previous law. The 2012 law does not have an allowance for personal consumption.
  • The law is generally not enforced. It is not feasible for local grocery stores to comply with the law, despite the fact they do import and sell meat products. The framework for enforcing the law does not exist.
  • We are not aware of any prosecutions under these laws, but you are advised that the potential penalty is a $50,000 fine and two-year sentence.

Obtaining a Plant Import Permit or Animal Import Permit

An application must be made to the Agriculture Department and the appropriate fee paid prior to import.

Permit requirements

  • Proposed date of entry
  • Port of entry
  • Country of origin and any country of transit
  • Name of the species or item to be imported and the quantity
  • Means of transport
  • Proof of ownership or custodianship of animals/plants
  • Final destination in the Islands
  • Evidence that an international phytosanitary certificate has been issued in respect of the article in the exporting country from an approved country

The responsible local authority reserves the right to request and require any other information in individual cases.