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Jamaica: Visa and Admin Issues

Moving to Jamaica has long been a popular option for pensioners interested in spending their retirement in the Caribbean. But the country has a lot more to offer for expats of any age — check out our InterNations Expat Guide on moving to Jamaica for more insight.
While chances are slim that you will live right at the beach, there are many attractive housing options in Jamaica.

How to Enter Jamaica

Many expats looking to go on a fact-finding mission to Jamaica before relocating there will not require a visa, as the country has abolished visa requirements for citizens from a number of countries — check out the Jamaican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade for a helpful overview.  

If your country of origin means you need a visa before entering Jamaica, or if you would like to stay for longer than the permitted duration of your visit (which ranges from two weeks to six months, depending on your nationality), you have to apply for a visa at the nearest Jamaican mission. If there is none in your country, contact the nearest one to find out whether other missions, most commonly the British ones, handle visa matters for Jamaica in your area.

Please note that while a Jamaican entry visa is also sufficient for short business trips, provided you have a letter from your employer stating the purpose of your visit, expats who relocate to Jamaica and take up gainful employment need a work permit as well.

To obtain a visa, you usually need to produce the following:

  • application form, a pdf of which can be found on the pages of the Jamaican High Commission:
  • a passport-sized photograph
  • your passport, valid for at least six months after your application
  • your travel itinerary or a return ticket
  • recent bank statement as proof of funds
  • proof of accommodation arrangements
  • (for business purposes) a letter from your employer
  • application fees: these vary from one nationality to the other, see this list on the website of the Jamaican mission in New York

Processing times may range from a few business days to two or three weeks.

Retrieving Your Work Permit

As previously stated, obtaining a work permit is crucial for any foreign national who would like to take up employment anywhere on the island — the sole exception being if you are married to a Jamaican national. Check out our article on working in Jamaica for a closer look at the application process.

Remember that you will not be able to enter Jamaica with your work permit alone — you need to apply for a work visa as well. The requirements are very similar to those listed above for the entry visa. However, you generally need to include an original letter from your future employer in Jamaica confirming the job offer, and your original work permit approval.

Becoming a Permanent Resident

Expats who have worked in Jamaica for an uninterrupted period of three or more years can apply for permanent residency in the country. The same applies to spouses of Jamaican nationals or retirees with sufficient funds. Check out the Jamaican Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) website for a helpful overview of the application process.


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