How To Become A Jamaican CitizenOnce you have decided that Jamaica is where you want to be you have to start making it official.

To do this you have to start applying for or renewing your passport. Yep go and check the expiry date on your Jamaican passport as you might not have used it for a while.

If you’re NOT a Jamaican Citizen then you will have to start applying for Citizenship. I’ll go through the steps of citizenship first for those of you who are not Jamaican with all relevant links.

HOW TO APPLY FOR JAMAICAN CITIZENSHIP

If you are of Jamaican parentage or grandparentage (if there’s such a word) you can apply for Jamaican citizenship for you, your partner and your children.

THE ADVANTAGES FOR HAVING JAMAICAN CITIZENSHIP

  • You will be entitled to and have access to services and benefits reserved for Jamaican nationals, like health, housing, pension benefits
  • You can apply for other Jamaican documents such as a Jamaican passport
  • Once you obtain Jamaican Citizenship you no longer require a work permit to work in Jamaica
  • If you are married and have obtained your Jamaican Citizenship you can also register your non-Jamaican husband or wife for Citizenship
  • Opportunity to have dual citizenship

It’s a pretty straightforward process and it can be done fairly quickly.

In this post, I will guide you through the steps you have to take, the requirements, the places you need to go and hopefully like me you can get your Jamaican citizenship.

First Step in Becoming a Jamaican Citizen

  • The first step is to find out if you are connected to Jamaica by descent, so are your parents, grandparents Jamaican?
  • Are you married or planning on getting married to a Jamaican?

Those are the two most common ways of getting Jamaican Citizenship.

We’ll go through the steps of becoming a Jamaican Citizen by descent first.

To meet the requirements of becoming a Jamaican Citizen you will need:

  • To have been born outside of Jamaica prior to Jamaican Independence of August 6th, 1962
  • Your Jamaican parents would have automatically received citizenship on Jamaican Independence August 6th, 1962 unless they were deceased before this date. (A death certificate can easily be obtained from the RGD as proof of this)
  • Your parents or grandparents are citizens of Jamaica by birth, descent or registration by marriage to a Jamaican and you were born outside of Jamaica after Jamaican Independence August 6th, 1962

What Documents Do You Need To Get Started?

  • The application form which is available online at the PICA website, physically at the PICA offices or at your local Jamaican High Commission
  • Your Birth Certificate (read How to Apply for Your Jamaican Birth Certificate)
  • One or both of your parents birth certificates (I say one or both because back in the day children were sometimes born at home and informally adopted into families without any registered documentation).
  • Your parents’ marriage certificate
  • Valid Government identification. (It’s unlikely that you would have any of these as you need citizenship first before applying for a passport)
  • 2 passport-sized photographs certified by a Justice of the Peace (JP) or Notary Public, a Lawyer or a Medical Doctor. (TIP: Jamaican School Principals usually have the position of being a registered JP)
    • Photographs must be in colour and in a matte finish
    • Photographs taken and certified must be under 6 months

From my own personal experience when getting photographs done please inform photographer what the photos are for so the right sizes, background etc are used. When I was getting my photos done at a small little independent one-man operation in a little mall right beside the PICA Head Office, I was informed that I wasn’t wearing “appropriate” attire for the photo as I had on a pale scooped necked blouse. The photographer was very helpful and lent me a jacket, powdered my face to remove the shine and took the photo. I was good to go after that to get them signed off by a JP.

TIP: When going into any government office or building here in Jamaica, there is a dress code. No sleeveless clothes are allowed. Unfortunately, bare shoulders will result in you kindly being asked to leave the premises unless someone is kind enough to lend you something to throw over your shoulders. Always thought this weird as Jamaica is a tropical country!

Becoming a Jamaican Citizen by Marriage

To become a Jamaican Citizen by marriage there are a few more steps to take as you have to prove that you are eligible to become a Jamaican Citizen. You can apply in person or from overseas by going online then sending your completed documents through a Jamaican Consular office.

  • Complete an R1 application form. The form is also available in hard copy from any Jamaican High Commission and from the PICA Head office and Duke Street office.  For some very strange reason, they only have this form available online if you are a woman married to a Jamaican man and not the other way around. I assume this is more common.
  • This form must be signed in the presence of a Justice of the Peace (JP) or Notary Public of Consular Officer.

Become a Jamaican Citizen by Marriage

What Documents Do You Need if Applying for Jamaican Citizenship by Marriage?

  • You will need your official Marriage Certificate
  • Your husband or wife’s official Birth Certificate or Jamaican Citizenship
  • Your husband or wife’s current passport
  • Decree Absolute if applicable
  • Work permit if you are currently working in Jamaica or a Marriage Exemption Certificate (this is where you have temporary residency because you are married to a Jamaican National)
  • Verification of Income, so a letter of employment, last 3 payslips or Company Financial Statements not older than 6 months
  • Bank statement not older than 6 months
  • If you own a business in Jamaica then a personal Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC)
  • A Police Certificate from where you were a resident
  • Any name change documentation such as a Deed Poll
  • And finally, 2 passport-sized photographs certified by a JP, a Notary Public or a Consular Officer

So as you can see, it’s just a few things that are required 🙂 To note. It is stated on the PICA website that the process can take up to 24 months but this is just to play it safe. The process is usually a lot quickly but please make sure that you provide all the necessary documents to avoid any delay.

Once you have applied and become a Jamaican Citizen you can then go ahead and apply for your Jamaican Passport, thus making you a dual citizen. Woohoo!

I’ll discuss the steps on how to do this in another post. But hey, you can now start to get the ball rolling for your Jamaican Citizenship.

You might also be interested in checking out 4 Questions To Ask Before Moving to Jamaica and What is the Jamaican TRN.

If you found this useful don’t forget to share it with others. Don’t keep all this great info to yourself.

The Returnee Resident