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NIS Contributions In Jamaica
Can You Still Contribute If You Live Abroad?

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NIS Contributions In Jamaica | NIS Card (Sample)NIS Contributions In Jamaica | NIS Card (Sample)

by Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer

For Jamaicans or foreigners employed in Jamaica, the NIS or National Insurance Scheme contributions are the norm; most just see it as another statutory deduction from our salaries.


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But not many people know what it is for or are aware that they can and should continue to make their contributions even if they no longer live and work in Jamaica. Continuing your contributions means more financial security after you retire and can no longer work to support yourself.

What is the National Insurance Scheme?

It is the compulsory social security scheme funded by the contributions of the employed population residing in Jamaica. The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) is a compulsory contribution-funded social security scheme covering all employed persons in Jamaica, administered under the National Insurance Act.

The National Insurance Scheme is the government’s way of providing some level of protection to the workforce against a loss of income for a person and their dependents due to health, injuries on the job, retirement or death.

It actually isn’t just for those employed in Jamaica though. Self-employed people and those no longer living on the island can also make their contributions to the NIS via the avenues laid out by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

But first, how do you get your NIS number?

Documents Needed To Get Your NIS Number

To obtain your NIS number in Jamaica, you’ll need the completed application form, an original or notarised copy of your birth certificate or passport and your Tax registration number. There are two ways to get an application form. You can either download and print a copy from the website or request a copy at the branch and fill it out there.

If you can’t make it to the office, you can ask someone to act on your behalf. In addition to the documents stated above, they will need an authorisation letter stating your approval for them to act on your behalf.

Married women should bring all the documents mentioned above along with the original or notarised copy of their marriage certificate to prove their name change. However, if their passport has their new last name recorded, the marriage certificate is not a requirement.

Now that you have your NIS number, let’s get into how contributions are made.

Contributions are made based on the category you are placed in. 

  • Employed Persons - Anyone gainfully employed in a business not owned by them is considered an employee. This includes private and public sector workers; meaning whether you work in a government-run agency, privately owned company or domestic field, you would make your contributions as an employed person.

  • Self-Employed Persons - Anyone who is an independent owner of a business, regardless of the field should make contributions as a self-employed person. This category includes everyone operating their own business regardless of the scale of their business. This means everyone; doctors, lawyers, consultants, vendors, taxi drivers, fisherfolk, farmers, hairdressers and the list goes on.

  • Voluntary Contributors - Persons who are not employed or operate their own business in Jamaica are considered voluntary contributors. This category also includes those no longer liable to contribute because they have retired from full-time employment before reaching retirement age, have become unemployed or have relocated to another country (with which Jamaica does not have a Reciprocal Social Security Agreement) for an indefinite period.

Persons who fall within the final category and wish to continue making their contributions, should seek approval by completing the Voluntary Contributor Application Form and submitting it to the nearest Parish Office along with the other necessary documents. Again forms are available online or at the office.

Some criteria must be met for the NIS office to grant you voluntary contributor status. These are:

  1. You must be an insured person.
  2. You must have paid a total of at least 52 weekly contributions if you were ordinarily a resident of Jamaica. If you are not ordinarily a resident, then 156 weekly contributions must have been paid.
  3. You must not be liable for contributions
  4. You must not have attained the age of 60 (for a woman) and 65 (for males) nor must you have already retired from regular employment as you would no longer be an insured person under the scheme at this point.

If none of these applies, then you should be good to go.

But what if you are already out of the country and won’t be able to make it to the office yourself?

If you are already living overseas or, are otherwise unable to apply in person, an agent can act on your behalf. They will need to present your required documents and an authorisation form stating your approval for them to act on your behalf.

The letter of authorisation should be notarised (signed, stamped and dated) by a Notary Public or Justice of the Peace (J.P.).

All the relevant forms are on the Ministry of Labour and Social Securities' website. Simply visit the website, and search under the Social Services Division for National Insurance Scheme. If you scroll towards the end of the page, you’ll see the “Download NIS forms” button. This will take you to the various forms, which are all downloadable.

Or, just click here.

From here, print, read and follow the instructions carefully to ensure all the information is accurate. Remember your supporting documents when you or your representative visit the nearest NIS office to submit your application.

A representative will review and verify your application to ensure you are eligible for the services you wish to receive. As long as you are, your application will be approved. After approval, the necessary documents will be given to you and the services rendered.

We know these documents regrettably get lost or misplaced at times, but all is not lost. You can read how to replace them right here.

Calculating NIS Contributions In Jamaica

The contributions now stand at 6% per person. What does this look like for each category of contributors? Let’s look:

For employed persons, 3% is deducted from their salary and the other 3% must be contributed by their employer.

Self-employed persons and voluntary contributors must cover the percentage on their own. The contribution rate for Domestic Workers, Voluntary Contributors and Self-Employed persons is now $250 per week.

I hope this clears up the need for NIS Contributions in Jamaica and how they should be made. For more information, you can visit the Ministry of Social Services website or contact them using the information below.

Contact Information

National Insurance Scheme

  • Address: 14 National Heroes Circle, Kingston 4, Jamaica
  • Phone: 876-922-8000/888-991-2089
  • Email: nisandyou@mlss.gov.jm

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References & Sources For NIS Contributions In Jamaica

  1. National Insurance Scheme, https://www.mlss.gov.jm/departments/national-insurance-scheme/
  2. NIS,https://www-2.nht.gov.jm/how-to/register-with-nis
  3. https://www.mlss.gov.jm/departments/national-insurance-scheme/
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