Jamaica Visa Requirements by C. Holness, Associate Writer
Every year Jamaica welcomes visitors from all over the world to its sunny shores, some arrive by air and others by cruise ship.
People from commonwealth and many other countries only require a passport in order to visit the island, while others will need to obtain a visa, either prior to arrival or at the point of entry, depending on their country of citizenship.
Upon arrival, the immigration officer will advise each person as to how long they are able to stay in Jamaica as a visitor, because those wishing to extend their stay past this point may eventually need to apply for a visa to be able to do so, whether one was required for their initial entry or not.
Before you book your Jamaican holiday, be sure you are fully aware of the visa requirements for your country, so you can make sure this important detail is taken care of.
The country that has issued your passport, is the one on which your visa requirements will be based.
Generally they are divided into four groups: commonwealth countries who don't need a visa, non-commonwealth countries who are also exempt, and those who must obtain a visa when they arrive, or apply for it before landing.
This information is subject to change periodically, so it's important to always ensure that it is up to date. A list of visa requirements can be found at: http://www.ucc.edu.jm/uploads/Jamaican%20Visa%20Requirements.pdf
Visas come in more than one type, the kind you need will depend on the nature of your stay in Jamaica. Each type of visa attracts a fee, and certain supporting documents must be presented when applying for it. The basic classifications of Jamaican visas are:
This type of visa is issued to anyone who wishes to stay on the island for the purposes of either an extended vacation, or to visit friends and family.
A maximum stay of six months may be granted at the discretion of the immigration officer processing the application.
Besides the fee, applicants must present a valid passport that does not expire for six months or more, a return ticket to their country of origin, a photograph, evidence of having a means of supporting oneself, and possibly a travel itinerary.
Some visitors will need to apply ahead of time for such a visa, while others will do so upon arrival.
Those who do not require a visa, namely North American and commonwealth citizens, will need to apply for one if they desire to stay in Jamaica longer than the length of time initially allotted to them.
Anyone who is visiting Jamaica for the purpose of carrying out any form of short-term business, may do so with a visitor's visa, however they may not stay on the island for longer than 30 days at one time, and if they plan to return at a later date, the total amount of time must not be more than 180 days.
In addition to the requirements that must be met for the basic visitor's visa, they may also need to have a letter from their place of business stating the nature of their planned activities during their stay in Jamaica.
People who wish to work on the island for an indefinite period of time, will need to obtain a work permit, which is applied for through their prospective employer and issued by the Ministry of Labour.
If someone wants to attend any post-secondary educational institution in Jamaica, it will be necessary to apply for a student visa.
The requirements for this kind of visa are the same as the others, although the applicant will also need a letter of admission to studies from the facility he or she plans on attending.
Students are normally allowed to stay in Jamaica for the duration of their studies, but are expected to return to their country of citizenship once their studies are finished.
Employment is not permitted with a student visa, so those who also wish to work during their education will also need to obtain a work permit.
Non-Jamaicans who wish to live on the island for an indefinite period of time or perhaps permanently, may be eligible to apply for a permanent resident status which would enable them to do so.
Retired people who want to spend their golden years in the tropical climate of Jamaica, as well as those who are married to a Jamaican citizen or resident are examples of individuals who are good candidates for a long-term stay.
Similar documentation to the other visa types, and proof of financial status, are generally required, and in some cases a medical certificate and police clearance letter may also be needed for the application process.
With the exception of “Point of Entry” visas, most of them can be applied for through any Jamaican Embassy, High Commission, or Consulate in any country, or through the Jamiacan Passport, Immigration, and Citizenship Agency (PICA).
To learn more please visit http://www.pica.gov.jm
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