Can I Have Dual Citizenship In The US And Jamaica?
Answered by Isreal, Associate Writer
Yes you can have dual citizenship between Jamaica and the USA.
In fact, persons can also have dual citizenship with Jamaica and Canada as well as Jamaica and the United Kingdom. This is because both Canada and United Kingdom are part of the Commonwealth and there is no law within the Canadian or British constitution prohibiting dual citizenship with Jamaica.
So yes, the leading migration places for Jamaicans, which are the USA, Canada and United Kingdom/Great Britain, does allow dual citizenship.
However, the Jamaican constitution does not use the term dual citizenship. Instead the constitution states that it does not prevent any Jamaican from having citizenship with another country. The term dual citizenship means having equal connections as in responsibilities and legal obligations with two countries (Findlaw, 2018).
Citizenship by Jamaican Conditions: (For the American to become Jamaican)
Citizenship is based on the Jamaican Nationality Act 1962 and Constitutional Amendment Act 1993. The Act states that a Jamaican is anyone which can be classified within the following categories:
- Born in Jamaica/adopted by a Jamaican
- Jamaican descent(at least one parent of Jamaican citizenship whether through marriage or birth)
- Married to a Jamaican
- Naturalized Jamaican
NB. Naturalization is achieved after accumulative five (5) years in Jamaica and twelve (12) consecutive months prior to application.
Process of applying for a dual citizenship from the USA
Although any individual of Jamaican descent or married to a Jamaican is a citizen of Jamaica, a formal application has to be made to:
Passport and Immigration, Citizens Agency
8 Waterloo Road, Kingston 10
- In the case of Jamaican parentage then the parental birth certificate has to be provided. Where the parent of the applicant is married to a Jamaican then provision of marriage certificate is needed. The processing fee for citizenship based on descent (parental rights) is 100 USD.
- In the circumstance of naturalization then the processing fee is 50,000 JMD
- If the application is through marriage to a Jamaican both the marriage certificate and Jamaican spouse’s birth certificate is needed. The processing fee is 260 USD.
The Jamaican law prohibits citizens with dual status to sit in parliament at this time.
So under the Jamaican constitution, the Jamaican cannot use its local citizenship status to prevent fulfilling duties / responsibilities of the foreign country (dual nationality in this case USA).
American Citizenship for JamaicansUnder the American constitution who is a citizen?
Notably, according to section 101(a) (22) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (US Constitution) an American national includes either an American citizen or a permanent resident of the country.Criteria for USA citizen status:
- Being born in USA including to immigrant parents (non-USA citizen parents)
- Being born outside of the USA to at least one American citizen parent
- Through naturalization process which includes first becoming a permanent resident or being married to an American
How Can an Adult Jamaican become American?
The process of becoming an American citizen includes:
- Becoming a permanent resident and residing in the USA for five (5) consecutive years prior to application
- Getting married to a USA citizen and residing in the USA for three (3) consecutive years prior to application.
However a citizen of USA with dual status is:
- Not allowed to perform duties of a foreign political officer in another country such as senator.
- Must serve in the army if selected
- Cannot leave the country on a passport other than of the United States of America passport
... Both entry and exit of the United States of America must be on an American passport. This is important as the naturalization certificate will not be sufficient for travel to and from the US.
Additionally, for individuals on permanent resident status, the green card must also be utilized when travelling from and to the USA. In the case of misplacement or other challenges please contact the USA embassy in Jamaica.
142 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6
Montego Bay US Consular Agency
Whitter Village, Ironshore
Montego Bay, St. James
(Across from Burger King)
How to lose dual citizenship with the USA?
- Serving in the army with a country which is hostile towards the USA
NB. Jamaica and USA enjoy good relations so this is usually not a consideration
- Renouncing USA citizenship in the presence of an authorized USA official
- Committing an act of treason in regards to the USA and or present government
Note also that Jamaicans who become citizens of another country do not lose their status as Jamaican unless they choose to renounce it.
- Findlaw. 2018. USA Dual Citizenship taken from https://immigration.findlaw.com/citizenship/dual-citizenship.html
- Jamaica Information Service. 2013. Applying for Jamaican Citizenship taken from https://jis.gov.jm/information/faqs/applying-for-jamaican-citizenship/
- Jamaica Observer. 2014. Dual Citizens Can’t Enter or Leave US on Jamaican Passport Daily Observer dated Tuesday August 5m 2014 taken from http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Dual-citizens-can-t-enter-or-leave-US-on-J-can-passport_17306811
- Mullings, David. 2011. Dual Citizenship/Nationality and Public Service Jamaica Sunday Observer dated Sunday November 13, 2011 taken from http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/dual-citizenship-nationality-and-public-service_10150836
- Multiple Citizenship. 2007. Jamaica and Multiple Citizenship taken from https://www.multiplecitizenship.com/wscl/ws_JAMAICA.html
- Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Association. 2018. Citizenship taken from http://www.pica.gov.jm/citizenship/category-of-citizenship/
- US Department of State-Bureau of Consular Affairs. 2018. Dual Nationality taken from https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/travel-legal-considerations/Advice-about-Possible-Loss-of-US-Nationality-Dual-Nationality/Dual-Nationality.html