Hydrogen isotope retention and chemical state for the tiles exposed to plasma in the JET–ITER-like wall (ILW) during two campaigns in 2011–2012 (first campaign, ILW-1) and 2015–2016 (third campaign, ILW-3) were studied and compared by means of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and thermal desorption spectroscopy. In both campaigns the upper part of the inner divertor tiles was the deposition-dominated area, while erosion was observed on the outer divertor tiles. Therefore, higher deuterium retention was found on the inner divertor tiles. The major D desorption peak for the inner divertor tiles from ILW-3 was located at the temperature range of 470°C to 520°C, which was higher than measured after ILW-1: 370°C to 430°C. The XPS analyses showed the formation of a BeO layer on the ILW-3 inner divertor tiles, while after ILW-1 the layers also contained a significant amount of carbon. Deuterium retention was reduced toward the outer divertor tiles. The differences could be related to the difference in the power level in the two campaigns.