All visitors, including those from the U.S. and the British Commonwealth countries, must have a valid return or ongoing plane ticket. All individuals 12 years of age or older are charged a departure tax of CI$20. This tax is included in the cost of airfare.
All U.S. citizens traveling to the Cayman Islands must carry a valid passport. Canadian and U.K. citizens are not required to carry a passport but need to provide proof of citizenship, such as an original birth certificate with a raised seal or a notarized copy of a birth certificate, in addition to a valid government-issued photo ID. Citizens of all other nations need a passport for entry into the Cayman Islands. Travelers carrying passports must ensure their passport is valid for up to 6 months after the scheduled date of return to the home country.
Remember, if you are not a U.S. citizen and you are stopping in or traveling through the U.S., or a U.S. territory (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) before arriving in the Cayman Islands, you will need a passport and possibly a U.S. visa. For the most up-to-date information on obtaining transit visas for the U.S., consult www.travel.state.gov.
For information on how to obtain a passport, contact the following agencies.
For Residents of Australia -- Contact the Australian Passport Information Service at tel. 131-232, or visit the government website at www.passports.gov.au.
For Residents of Canada -- Contact the central Passport Office, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ottawa, ON K1A 0G3 (tel. 800/567-6868; www.ppt.gc.ca).
For Residents of Ireland -- Contact the Passport Office, Setanta Centre, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 (tel. 01/671-1633; www.foreignaffairs.gov.ie).
For Residents of New Zealand -- Contact the Passports Office (tel. 0800/225-050 in New Zealand or 04/474-8100; www.passports.govt.nz).
For Residents of the United Kingdom -- Visit your nearest passport office, major post office, or travel agency; or contact the United Kingdom Passport Service (tel. 0870/521-0410; www.homeoffice.gov.uk/agencies-public-bodies/ips).
For Residents of the United States -- To find your regional passport office, either check the U.S. State Department website or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free number (tel. 877/487-2778) for automated information.
For a country-by-country listing of passport requirements around the world, go to the "International Travel" Web page of the U.S. State Department at www.travel.state.gov.
Visas for the Cayman Islands are not required for U.S., Canadian, U.K., or E.U. citizens, nor for citizens of several countries in South America and the Middle East. Consult www.caymanislands.ky, or your nearest Cayman Islands tourist office, for a full list of nationalities that require a visa for entry. To apply for a visa for the Cayman Islands, you must contact your nearest British Consulate or High Commission Office.
For answers to complicated questions about what you can and cannot bring into the Cayman Islands, contact Cayman Islands Customs (tel. 345/949-4579; www.customs.gov.ky).
What You Can Bring into the Cayman Islands -- Like all Caribbean islands, the Caymans restrict what visitors can bring. There's a ban on raw fruit and vegetables. Also on their official list for exclusion are "firearms of any kind, pole spears, Hawaiian slings, and spear guns." So as not to upset the delicate ecology of these islands, live plants or plant cuttings are also forbidden. Visitors age 18 or over are allowed to bring in -- duty-free -- 4 liters of wine or one case of beer; 1 liter of alcohol; and 200 cigarettes, 25 cigars, or 250 grams of tobacco.
What You Can Take Home from the Cayman Islands -- If you are thinking of bringing home sea turtle products (sunglasses, boxes, jewelry, and other accessories), first consult the website of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (www.cites.org). The convention strictly prohibits the importation of sea turtle products into the countries that have signed the agreement. The U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are among the 171 countries that adhere to this convention. In addition, U.S. Customs prohibits the transshipment of turtle products through the United States, and any products discovered will be confiscated.
U.S. Citizens: Returning U.S. citizens who have been away for at least 48 hours are allowed to bring back, once every 30 days, US$800 worth of merchandise duty-free. You'll be charged a flat rate of 4% duty on the next US$1,000 worth of purchases. Be sure to have your receipts handy. On mailed gifts, the duty-free limit is US$200. With some exceptions, you cannot bring fresh fruit and vegetables into the United States.
For specifics on what you can bring back, download the invaluable free pamphlet Know Before You Go online at www.cbp.gov (click on "Travel," and then on "Know Before You Go"), or contact U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20229 (tel. 877/287-8667; www.cbp.gov), and request the pamphlet.
Canadian Citizens: Canada allows its citizens a C$750 exemption, and you're allowed to bring back duty-free one carton of cigarettes, one can of tobacco, 40 imperial ounces of liquor, and 50 cigars if you meet the minimum age requirements set by the province or territory through which you enter Canada. In addition, you're allowed to mail gifts to Canada valued at less than C$60 each day, provided they're unsolicited and don't contain alcohol or tobacco (write on the package "Unsolicited gift, under C$60 value"). All valuables should be declared on the Y-38 form before departure from Canada, including serial numbers of valuables you already own, such as expensive foreign cameras. Note: The C$750 exemption can be used only once a year and only after an absence of 7 days. For a clear summary of Canadian rules, write for the booklet I Declare, issued by the Canada Border Services Agency (tel. 800/461-9999 in Canada or 204/983-3500; www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca).
U.K. Citizens: U.K. citizens have a Customs allowance of 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 250 grams of smoking tobacco; 4 liters of still table wine; 1 liter of spirits or strong liqueurs (over 22% volume) or 2 liters of fortified wine, sparkling wine, or other liqueurs; 60 cubic centimeters (mL) of perfume; 250 cubic centimeters (mL) of toilet water; and £145 worth of all other goods, including gifts and souvenirs. Individuals 17 and under cannot have the tobacco or alcohol allowance. For more information, contact HM Customs & Excise (tel. 0845/010-9000 in the U.K. or 020/8929-0152; www.hmrc.gov.uk).
Australian Citizens: The duty-free allowance for Australia is A$900 or, for those under 18, A$450. Citizens over age 18 can bring back 250 cigarettes or 250 grams of loose tobacco, and 2.25 liters of alcohol. If you're returning with valuables you already own, such as foreign-made cameras, you should file form B263. A helpful brochure available from Australian consulates or Customs offices is Know Before You Go. For more information, contact the Australian Customs Service (tel. 1300/363-263; www.customs.gov.au).
New Zealand Citizens: The duty-free allowance for New Zealand is NZ$700. Citizens over 17 can bring back 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 250 grams of tobacco (or a combination of all three if their combined weight doesn't exceed 250g); plus 4.5 liters of wine and beer, or 1.125 liters of liquor. New Zealand currency does not carry import or export restrictions. Fill out a certificate of export, listing the valuables you are taking out of the country; that way, you can bring them back without paying duty. Most questions are answered in a free pamphlet available at New Zealand consulates and Customs offices: New Zealand Customs Guide for Travellers, Notice No. 4. For more information, contact New Zealand Customs, The Customhouse, 17-21 Whitmore St., Box 2218, Wellington (tel. 04/473-6099 or 0800/428-786; www.customs.govt.nz).
Unless you're arriving from an area known to be suffering from an epidemic (particularly cholera or yellow fever), inoculations or vaccinations are not required for entry into the Cayman Islands.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.