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by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer
Who doesn’t dream of travelling? Very few, I assume. Just as many visitors are visiting the island yearly to explore, conduct business and much more, as there are Jamaicans leaving the island to do the same.
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So, there is an organisation in place to help our citizens go through the process of making this possible. PICA isn’t just for citizens, it does also regulate the policies relating to those coming into the island.
The Passport, Immigration, and Citizenship Agency (PICA), a self-financing, performance-based, and service-oriented organisation, was founded as an executive agency on June 1, 2007.
Following modernisation efforts beginning in 2005, the Agency replaced the former Immigration, Citizenship and Passport Services Division of the Ministry of National Security. Since then, PICA has been making changes to become a top-tier organisation.
The functions of PICA are essential to the country's border security system. The Agency supervises the island's immigration procedures, accepts and processes passport applications, and deals with issues relating to renunciation of and applications for Jamaican citizenship. The goal is to give its customers effective, high-quality service by employing qualified, highly motivated people.
The organisation must meet specific performance indicators as an Executive Agency to be considered effective and successful. Some of these are:
to process passengers at ports in no more than two minutes.
Another is to complete passport applications sent to the Kingston offices within seven days, and those from Montego Bay offices within fourteen.
Additionally, local applications for citizenship by descent from Jamaica are handled in 30 days.
The new Agency has made ongoing training a policy, and there are plans to implement a Performance-Based Management System for ongoing staff evaluation and development. These measures are in place to assure staff productivity and performance at their highest levels.
Immigration screening of all travellers arriving in and departing from Jamaica by land, air, and sea; granting tourists and residents from outside Jamaica visas, entry permits, and other documentation; processing applications for permanent residency managing issues connected to refugees arriving on the island, as well as the deportation and repatriation of individuals not eligible to remain in Jamaica.
Processing of citizenship, renunciation, and citizenship reinstatement applications.
At the headquarters in Kingston, Montego Bay, Mandeville, May Pen, St. Ann's Bay, and Jamaican diplomatic missions abroad, we receive passport applications;
a centralised facility at the Constant Spring Road Headquarters issues passports to Jamaicans living in the country and abroad;
Investigation of any infractions committed in PICA-regulated locations. Our investigation division handles this task.
What is the CARICOM Passport?
An official travel document that can be used for both domestic and international travel within the countries that are members of the Caribbean Communities.
Does Jamaica recognise dual nationality?
Yes, Jamaica recognises dual citizenship.
What is the length of time for obtaining Jamaican citizenship?
The type of application will determine how quickly your citizenship application is processed:
How long does the process of extension of stay take and how does one apply?
Applications submitted to their office at Overton Plaza, 49 Union Street in Montego Bay take seven (7) working days to process, whilst applications submitted to PICA's Kingston office at 25 Constant Spring Road take three (3) working days.
Do commonwealth nationals require visas for entry into Jamaica? No, although citizens of Nigeria, the Cayman Islands, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the British Virgin Islands will need a visa.
Thanks to PICA, travelling to and from Jamaica is hassle-free.
PICA’S HEAD OFFICE:
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