Moving to Jamaica from Africa
Hi there, I'm South African getting married to a Jamaican. I have a son, 17 yrs whom we are planning to move with to Jamaica. How do I go about getting him study permits for Jamaica? We both have valid passports and US visas. Do I need to get him a study visa?RESPONSE: by Deon Clarke REVIEWED: by Sheree-Anita Shearer
Greetings to you all the way over there in South Africa! Thank you for stopping by the website and for your questions. Congratulations on your engagement! I am so happy to hear that you will be moving to Jamaica soon. I will try to provide you with as much information as possible regarding your concerns.
From what you have said, you will be able to apply for permanent residence status by reason of marriage to a Jamaican national as soon as you are married.
You did not indicate if you were planning to move to Jamaica before the marriage or after but it would be a good idea to wait until after the marriage as you will be eligible by reason of marriage and this should simplify the moving process.
You or your husband-to-be should also be able to apply for your son with him being a dependent. The information below regarding permanent residence will prove to be quite useful.
How to Apply for Permanent Residence in Jamaica?
Permanent Residency allows a foreign national to live and work in Jamaica without having restrictions on their stay, and without having to submit an application for a work permit or Jamaican citizenship. However, as a permanent resident, you would not be afforded the same constitutional rights as a Jamaican citizen.
The approval process requires that permanent residence applicants be interviewed by the Agency’s Investigation and Surveillance Unit.
All documents submitted with application must be the original and applications are processed within 3 to 6 months.
Permanent Residence applications can be submitted under one of the following categories:
- Marriage to a Jamaican National - foreign nationals who are married to a Jamaican national
- Employment – this is for foreign nationals who are working in the country for over 3 years
- Retirement – for foreign nationals who are retired and would like to retire in Jamaica
- Dependent - for foreign nationals who are dependent on someone with a Permanent Resident status
- Persons who previously held Unconditional Landing status as a result of being married to a Jamaican
The following documents must be submitted with an application for permanent residence:
- A Valid passport which is not less than 6 months to the expiration date
- Evidence or proof of financial status and means of support such as bank statement, particulars of pension, etc.
- Business owners must provide their certificate of registration, tax compliance certificate (TCC), proof of income tax returns and audited financial statements containing details of operations for the last full year.
- Two (2) identical passport size pictures, which must be certified by a Justice of the Peace (JP)
- Birth certificate (Original) of applicant, which should be translated if not in English
- Birth certificate (Original) or the machine readable Jamaican passport of Jamaican spouse
- Marriage certificate (Original) / decree absolute where applicable
- Birth certificate (Original) for children if applicable
- A local medical or doctor’s certificate or certificate of good health in Jamaica
- A police certificate from previous country of residence and also from Jamaica if you have been living in the country for more than 6 months
- Proof of property ownership/assets in Jamaica or overseas. This should be translated if not in English
- A letter indicating the reason for requesting permanent residence. This must be addressed to the CEO, PICA, 25 Constant Spring Road, Kingston 10.
- Letter from two (2) reputable references who must be Jamaican nationals. This must be addressed to the CEO, PICA, 25 Constant Spring Road, Kingston 10.
- Entry visa (where applicable)
With regards to your son and his studies, we will now discuss study permits and student visas.
How to Get a Student Visa for Jamaica?
A Student Visa for Jamaica allows the holder to study at an institution of higher learning in Jamaica. This visa is seen as a form of permission, or a pass for a non-citizen, to enter, transit, or remain in Jamaica. It can be a stamp, or a form which is placed in the passport of the holder when they enter, and sometimes when they leave Jamaica.
Persons who wish to pursue higher studies in Jamaica, should check their Embassy rules and regulations as individual cases vary and the stipulations can and do, very occasionally, change at short notice.
Persons are advised to check the current Jamaican visa regulations from The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in Jamaica (See http://mfaft.gov.jm/), or find the Jamaican Embassy in their country of permanent residence to obtain the visa application requirements for Jamaica. In addition, check with the educational institution which has granted acceptance as to the requirements for attendance and the procedures to follow.
Apart from making an application and paying the required processing fees, persons are generally required to submit the following documentation:
- One (1) photograph
- Valid passport of the applicant – with a least six months before expiry
- Acceptance letter from the institution
- Any other document that may be required
It is important to note that the Jamaican Embassies and Consular Offices are the only accredited Jamaican Government agencies permitted to grant Jamaican visas in a country outside of Jamaica.
Also of note is that a visa in the holder’s passport does not necessarily guarantee entry into the country. This remains the right of the immigration officials in Jamaica. As such persons advised to travel with the following:
- A valid passport
- A visa for each entry (if any)
- A return ticket
- A letter of acceptance from the school or institution which they will be attending
- Name of person who is responsible for them while at school
- Proof of Sufficient funds for self-maintenance
Upon arrival in Jamaica, students who are over 16 years old must be registered as aliens at 25 Constant Spring Road, Kingston 10 (for the Corporate Area) and at the main Police Station of rural parishes.
Students who have made the necessary arrangements with an educational institution prior to arrival may be landed for one year on each entry. Students without proper arrangements may be landed for two months. However, as soon as the necessary arrangements have been made and appropriate evidence is received, the Chief Immigration Officer may extend period to one year.
The above information provided is general information. However, your situation may be a bit different based on the circumstances as well as your son’s age. Therefore, some aspects may not be applicable. The same would go for a study permit which may or may not be applicable under the circumstances.
I would suggest that you check with the Jamaican embassy in your country or you could make contact with the South African embassy here in Jamaica for further information.
Please see contact details below:
Address: South African High Commission, 15 Hillcrest Avenue Kingston 6, Jamaica
Telephone: +1 876 620 4840 (Switchboard)
Fax: + 876 978 0339
Emails: email@example.com or Kingston.firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you again Bridgette for your questions and I wish you all the best with your endeavors.
I also recommend you read Buying Real Estate in Jamaica
Useful Tips and Strategies
- South African High Commission, http://www.dirco.gov.za/kingston/
- "Permanenet Residence", Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency(PICA), https://www.pica.gov.jm/immigration/permanent-residence
- "Student Visa for Jamaica", Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission(J-TEC), https://jis.gov.jm/pm-holness-among-40-world-leaders-invited-to-climate-summit/
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