Customs regulations for your trip to Gambia

Last modified: July 26, 2023
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Customs regulations

Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Copy of passport
  • Packing list
  • Original bill of lading (OBL) / air waybill (AWB)
  • Original detailed inventory in English
  • Invoices for new electrical and hi-fi appliances, if applicable
  • Residence permit / work permit / letter of employment
  • Non-sale certificate (must state that the owner of the goods will not sell personal items)

Specific Information

  • Original detailed inventory in English, dated, valued, and signed by the owner of the goods; for any new items bought less than 6 months before import with the original invoices
  • Used household goods are tax free with the exception of all electrical and hi-fi appliances.
  • Most removal shipments are opened and checked by Customs.
  • The duties to be paid for any shipment are generally 1.5% of the cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) value for processing fee + 0.55% ECOWAS tax.
  • For diplomatic shipments, the agent must receive required Customs documents prior to the shipment arrival in order to obtain and free entry (applies to household goods and vehicles).

 IAM Note:   ECOWAS is an acronym denoting the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Economic Community of West African States.

Local laws reflect the fact that The Gambia is an Islamic country. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

In 2020, the holy month of Ramadan started on 23 April and finished on 23 May. See Travelling during Ramadan

Identification

You must carry ID with you at all times. Carry a photocopy of your passport and keep the original locked away.

Judicial processes

It hasn’t always been possible for the British High Commission to gain early access to detained British nationals in The Gambia. If you’re living in The Gambia, you should contact the British High Commission who will be able to advise on how to contact consular staff in the event of an emergency.

Although the law stipulates that detainees can’t be held for longer than 72 hours without charge, this is regularly exceeded.

The death penalty applies for a number of crimes including arson, murder and treason. The Gambia resumed executions in 2012. In February 2018, President Barrow announced a moratorium on the death penalty.

Drugs

There is a zero tolerance towards illegal drugs. The Gambian authorities will take strong action against anyone importing, exporting or found in possession of drugs. Don’t accept packages on behalf of anyone without knowing the contents.

Sentences for those found in possession of drugs can be up to £200,000 or 15 years in prison. Westerners carrying a minimal amount of cannabis have been sentenced to ten years in prison. Cases of entrapment by Gambian authorities are not uncommon.

Criminal offences

Recent amendments to the Gambian criminal code have criminalised a range of behaviour including causing a public nuisance, which can carry a 5-year prison term and/or a fine of 250,000 Dalasi.

There are heavy penalties for any form of sexual offence against a child. There are reports of increased child sex tourism. Report any incidences to police officials.

LGBT

There is a zero tolerance towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in The Gambia. The Gambian criminal code states that any person who has or attempts to have ‘carnal knowledge’ of any person ‘against the order of nature’ is guilty of a crime and could face 14 years’ imprisonment. The criminal code was amended in October 2014 to include Section (144A) entitled Aggravated Homosexuality which sets out 7 specific categories, including being “a serial offender”, where a person is “liable on conviction to imprisonment for life”. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Gambian law criminalises the act of men dressing as women with a 5-year jail term.

Dutiable Items

Free import:

a. for passengers of 18 years or older:

  • 200 cigarettes, cigars or 250 grams of tobacco articles;
  • a bottle of liquor and a bottle of wine;

b. a bottle of eau de toilette or perfume;

c. personal effects.

Arms and Ammunition regulations:

  • A special permit from the Commissioner of the police is required before any firearms or ammunition can be legally imported into the country. Items will be kept by the police until the permit can be issued.
  • A permit from the Director of Agriculture is needed if importing plants into the country.
  • All pets will require a veterinarian’s health certificate authorised by the country of origin and will require registration by the Gambian Veterinary Department upon entry into the country.
  • Motor vehicles being imported will require an Invoice of Purchase, Certificate of Title (displaying Model, Year, Engine Number and Chassis number). Left hand drive vehicles only can be operated in Gambia.
  • Firearms, explosives and ammunitions (authorization by the Inspector General of Police required)
  • Some vegetables, including potatoes, fruit, bulbs, and seeds (authorization required)
  • The following items may be imported duty free within the limits indicated:
    • Cigarettes (200), cigars (50),  tobacco (500g)
    • Wine (1 liter), beer (1 liter), up to D1000.00 in other goods; contact agent for details

Prohibited Items

  • Unlawful drugs
  • Pornography
  • Knives and deadly weapons
  • Counterfeit money and goods
  • Illegal drugs
  • Pornographic material
  • Radio-communication equipment not approved for use at destination
  • Meat, poultry, and many other animal products
  • Plants, parts thereof, and plant produce including trees and shrubs

Miscellaneous (Pets, Motors, and others.)

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Copy of passport
  • Original registration card
  • Original invoice / letter of sale (used cars)
  • Original bill of lading / air waybill
  • Residence / work permit / letter of employment
  • Non-sale certificate

Specific Information

  • 35% revenue tax based on the CIF value
  • 18% duty based on the CIF value
  • 10% sales tax (duty and CIF value)
  • 1.5% CIF processing fee
  • 0.05% ECOWAS

Pets

Documents Required

  • Veterinary health certificate (authorization by the origin country is required)

Specific Information

  • Registration by the Gambian Veterinary Department upon entry into the country is required.

Wild Fauna and Flora:

Plants: Permit from the Director of Agriculture is required.
The import of certain endangered species of plant, live animals and their products is prohibited or restricted under CITES.

Pets:

Cats and dogs must be accompanied by a veterinarian’s health certificate issued at point of origin. The day after the arrival of the pets, they have to be registered at the Gambian Veterinary Department to obtain an import permit. Tel: 220 472727.

Baggage Clearance regulations:

Baggage is cleared at Banjul (BJL).

Exempt: baggage of transit passengers with a destination outside of Gambia.

Currency

Currency Import regulations:

Local currency (Gambia Dalasi-GMD): no restrictions.
Foreign currencies: no restrictions, but the currency from Algeria, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Tunisia will not be accepted and cannot be exchanged.

Currency Export regulations:

Local currency (Gambia Dalasi-GMD) and foreign currencies: up to the amounts imported. Maximum currency (cash): GMD 75.- or equivalent in GBP plus the equivalent of GMD 250.- in other currency.

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