Emergency Alert
September 17, 2017
Hurricanes Irma and Jose
Emergency Alert
October 2, 2017
Hurricane Maria

Consular Notification and Access

English

Contact Info for Foreign Embassies & Consulates

Jamaica

Country Information

Jamaica
Jamaica
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Must be valid at the time of entry and exit.

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page required for a Jamaican entry stamp.

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Only for a stay exceeding 90 days.

VACCINATIONS:

None required

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

$10,000 USD 

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

None

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Kingston

142 Old Hope Road
Kingston 6
Jamaica, West Indies

Telephone: +(876) 702-6000

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(876) 702-6000

Fax: +(876) 702-6018

Consulates

U.S. Consular Agent - Montego Bay
Whitter Village, Ironshore
Unit EU-1 (across from Burger King)
Montego Bay, Jamaica

Telephone: +(876) 953-0620

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica: +(876) 702-6000

Fax: +(876) 953-3898

Public Hours are M-F, from 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet for Jamaica for information on U.S. - Jamaica relations. 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Generally, all U.S. citizens are required to present a valid U.S. passport when traveling to Jamaica, as well as proof of anticipated departure from Jamaica. Those traveling to Jamaica on a cruise may use another Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant document. However, we strongly recommend visitors obtain a passport before travel in case of an unforeseen emergency that requires a cruise passenger to disembark and return by air. U.S. travelers coming for tourism will not need a visa for travel up to 90 days.  All other travelers will need a visa and/or work permit.

Exit Information:

Your departure tax is regularly included in the airfare. You won’t be charged an exit tax on your way out.

Further Information:

Up-to-date information on Jamaican visas: Visit the Passport, Immigration, & Citizenship Agency of Jamaica website or the Embassy of Jamaica website.

HIV/AIDS restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Jamaica.

Dual nationality, international child abduction issues: See links on our website dual nationality, and prevention of international child abduction

Customs Information: See link on our website, customs information page.

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Safety and Security

CRIME: Violent crime is a serious problem throughout Jamaica, particularly in Kingston and Montego Bay. Violence and shootings occur regularly in certain areas of Kingston and Montego Bay. The Regional Security Office of the U.S. Embassy restricts travel by U.S. government personnel to certain urban areas of Jamaica, including but not limited to:

  • Kingston – Downtown Kingston, including Mountain View, Trench Town, Tivoli Gardens, and Arnett Gardens;  Standpipe, Grants Pen, and Cassava Piece.
  • Montego Bay - Flankers, Canterbury, Norwood, Rose Heights, Clavers Street, and Hart Street.
  • Spanish Town

Notes for your safety:

  • Sudden demonstrations are rare but can occur, during which demonstrators often construct roadblocks or otherwise block streets.
  • Nightclubs and other places of entertainment often are not compliant with U.S. fire safety regulations.
  • Gated resorts are generally safe, but even within resorts visitors have been robbed inside their rooms while they slept.
  • Sexual assaults occur with alarming frequency, including at all-inclusive resorts. (See further notes below.)
  • Jamaica’s police force is understaffed and has limited resources. Tourist police are on duty in some resort towns and can be identified by their white hats, white shirts, and black trousers. 

Best Practices:

  • Avoid inner-city areas of Kingston and other urban centers, especially after dark. 
  • Do not accept rides from unknown individuals, including operators of unmarked taxis, as this is often a pretext for attempted robbery and/or sexual assault.
  • Avoid public buses.
  • Avoid walking alone, and exercise special care after dark. 
  • If staying in a villa or small establishment, ask if they have met Jamaica Tourist Board certification standards for safety and security.
  • See the State Department publication, “traveling safely abroad,” for additional useful advice on security while traveling.

Sexual Assault: The U.S. Embassy received more than a dozen reports of sexual assaults against American visitors to Jamaica in a twelve-month period. Most of these took place at all-inclusive resorts; most were allegedly perpetrated by resort staff.  

Notes for your safety:

  • Resort staff members are prohibited against fraternization and intimacy with guests. Any employee behavior contradicting this policy should be rebuffed and reported to hotel management and to the U.S. Embassy.
  • There have been reports of use of date rape drugs at private parties and resorts.
  • If you are victim of a sexual assault, contact the police and the Embassy as soon as possible. In a hotel, management should assist you with these communications.
  • While we have seen a recent effort by Jamaican officials to improve their response to sexual assault cases, sexual assault victims in Jamaica should not expect the totality of assistance routinely offered in the United States. Law enforcement shortcomings exist in collection of evidence. Rape kits sometimes are not available. Hotel management and police may project a prosecutorial/interrogation position in questioning victims. Counseling is unlikely to be offered to victims. 
  • Victims often have to ask for medication to avoid transmission of STDs and to reduce the chances of pregnancy.
  • Prosecution of a rape case moves forward very slowly, and defense attorneys press aggressively for dismissal. Jamaican law may require the victim to return to Jamaica at some stages of the judicial process. The government of Jamaica should finance such witness travel, but often such support is slow or unavailable.

Best Practices:

  • In a resort, avoid secluded places or situations. Try to always be accompanied by someone you know, even on visits to the rest room.
  • Many guests drink to excess in all-inclusive resorts, sometimes leading to unpredictable behavior. 
  • Security outside of the resort area is unpredictable, especially at night. Do not leave resort property with someone you have just met.
  • Shout for help immediately if you feel threatened or encounter individuals who make you feel uncomfortable. 
  • Report any suspicious activity, including excessive friendliness by hotel employees, to hotel management, the U.S. Embassy, and, as appropriate, local police.

Drugs: Marijuana use is widespread in Jamaica. Recent legislation has made its possession a civil offense rather than a criminal one.   

  • While its use is widely tolerated, possession of two ounces or less of marijuana is still illegal, and may result in a fine (not an arrest).
  • Possession of more than two ounces of marijuana or possession or use of any amount of other illicit drugs remains illegal in Jamaica and may lead to arrest and prosecution.
  • Any attempt to carry marijuana out of the country may lead to a serious charge of drug trafficking. 

Financial Scams: Serious financial scams originate in Jamaica, often targeting U.S. citizens. The State Department and the FBI maintain webpages with details about the extent of the problem – connect to Department of State and the FBI pages for more information.

The most notorious Jamaican scam is referred to as the “Lotto Scam,” sometimes called “Advance Fee Fraud.” The victim is led to believe that a Jamaican lottery prize will be released after payment of “fees.”

Notes for your safety:

  • You did NOT win a lottery that you do not recall having entered. The person on the telephone is lying. Just hang up.
  • Never send money to someone who calls to inform you that you have won the lottery in Jamaica.
  • Do not travel to Jamaica to “collect a prize.” Victims have been subjected to kidnapping, extortion, or robbery.

Other scams:

  • Be very cautious about sending money to help a traveler claiming to be in trouble. When in doubt, contact your local police department for advice and assistance.
  • Be wary of promises to protect a loved one from harm, or to help the loved one out of trouble, in exchange for money. That’s extortion – contact your local police department.
  • Romantic interest is often feigned to attract money from a would-be lover, especially via internet communication. When in doubt, contact your local police department.

If you are being targeted for financial scams, you will need to file a report with your local police department.

General notes for victims of crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault and violent crime should first contact the police and then the U.S. Embassy for assistance. 

Report crimes to the local police at 119 (the local equivalent of “911” in the U.S.) and contact the U.S. Embassy at +1-876-702-6000.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and rosecuting the crime. The Embassy can assist you in the following ways:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to Jamaican laws while you are here. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

Furthermore, some crimes are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.


Arrest Notification:
  If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Common reasons for arrest include:

  • Drug smuggling.
  • Carrying ammunition and firearms into Jamaica. (Even a single bullet inadvertently loose in a carry-on bag will lead to arrest.)
  • Carrying mace, pepper spray and knives into Jamaica without authorization.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants.
  • Possession of more than two ounces of marijuana or any quantity of other illicit drugs.

Prison conditions in Jamaica differ greatly from prison conditions in the United States.

  • Prisons provide only basic meals.
  • Prisons do not supply clothing, personal care items, or bedding.
  • Packages shipped to prisoners are subject to Jamaican import taxes and are undeliverable when the recipient cannot pay the duties.

Firearms: You are strictly forbidden to import or possess firearms in Jamaica without the prior authorization of the Firearms Licensing Authority of Jamaica.

  • A Conceal Carry Permit in the state you reside does not allow you to bring a firearm or ammunition into Jamaica.
  • If you travel with one or more firearms, firearm components & parts and/or ammunition to Jamaica you will be arrested and referred to the local courts for prosecution which will result in a substantial fine and/or incarceration for an unspecified amount of time.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI Travelers: Negative attitudes towards LGBTI issues are widespread in Jamaica. Many Jamaicans see homosexuality as contrary to their religious beliefs. Although there is increasing public discourse about LGBTI rights, there are continuous reports of serious human rights abuses against LGBTI individuals, including the following:

  • Assault
  •  “Corrective rape” of women accused of being lesbians
  • Arbitrary detention
  • Mob attacks
  • Stabbings
  • Harassment of LGBTI patients by hospital and prison staff.
  • Blackmail 

Jamaican law contains specific prohibitions on “acts of gross indecency” – generally interpreted as any kind of physical intimacy – between persons of the same sex, in public or in private, and provides punishment of up to 10 years in prison. There is also an “anti-buggery” law that specifically prohibits even consensual same-sex sexual conduct between men.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights Report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: While some of the country’s all-inclusive resorts meet U.S. standards, most transportation, entertainment, and even medical facility options are not designed to accommodate visitors who are physically challenged. You may wish to consult websites and blogs that focus on accessible travel for practical information and first-hand accounts of traveling in Jamaica.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Travelers: As noted elsewhere, sexual assaults against female tourists occur with alarming frequency at resorts in Jamaica. See our “Best Practices” on ways to avoid sexual assault in the Safety and Security section of this publication. You should also see the State Department’s travel tips for Women Travelers.

Special Circumstances: You cannot bring fresh fruits, vegetables, or uncooked meats into or out of Jamaica. Such items may be confiscated by customs officials. You may not bring a pet into Jamaica from the United States, regardless of its inoculation history.

Jamaica, like all Caribbean countries, can be affected by hurricanes. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 each year. General information on hurricane preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency.  

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Health

Quality medical care is limited in Jamaica and neither public nor private facilities offer the health standards maintained in the United States.  Comprehensive but basic emergency medical services are located only in Kingston and Montego Bay, and smaller public hospitals are located in each parish.

Prescription Drugs: The availability of prescription drugs is very limited in outlying parishes. Epi-Pens are not sold anywhere on the island.

Ambulances and Emergency Care: Ambulance service is limited both in the provision of emergency care and in the availability of vehicles. Ambulance services in the cities can be slow due to traffic congestion and the general state of roads, and ambulance services are rare in rural areas. 

Public Health Facilities: Public health facilities do not meet United States standards. They are required by law to provide medical assistance in emergency situations, but specialized tests and treatment are offered only on a fee-for-service basis. Hospitals are not equipped to handle multiple patients with ventilators.

Private Health Facilities: Private hospitals generally appear more modern than public facilities. They are also far more expensive and U.S. citizens have reported that they have been subject to the following practices:

  • Payment is required up front for care, even in emergency situations, and patients have been turned away for lack of ability to pay.
  • Without proof of acceptable insurance or cash sufficient to pay expected fees, a patient will be turned away from a private facility.
  • Fees are often exorbitant. Health-care facilities near beach resorts in particular have been known to extend care only after collecting a sizeable cash deposit.

The Embassy’s website contains information on medical services and air-ambulance companies. Please alert the American Citizen Services Unit to such cases by calling (876) 702-6000.

The Embassy cannot and will not pay your medical bills. As noted above, U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We STRONGLY recommend travelers insurance (see our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.

You should carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.

The following are health concerns in Jamaica:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dengue, Zika, and other mosquito-borne illnesses (See U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for current precautions.)
  • H1NI – We encourage you to have your flu shot before coming to Jamaica.
  • Ciguatera Poisoning
  • Marine hazards including jellyfish, coral and sea urchins.
  • HIV/AIDS

Zika Virus: Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby as well as through sexual contact. The CDC has concluded that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects in some fetuses and babies born to infected mothers. For additional information about Zika, including travel advisories, visit the CDC website

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

For information on suggested immunizations for Jamaica, please refer to the CDC’s website for travelers to Jamaica.

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Cars are driven on the left side of the road in Jamaica. Here are some notes for your safety:

  • Night time driving is extremely hazardous due to poor lighting and unpredictable pavement.
  • Heavy rains can make roads impassable and dangerous.
  • Many roads suffer from ill repair, inadequate signage, large potholes and poor traffic markings. There is a lack of pedestrian crosswalks.
  • Pedestrians and animals share the roadways with vehicles.
  • There have been reports of carjackings, including of rental cars.
  • Only two highways are comparable to U.S. standards, T1 which connects Spanish Town (near Kingston) to May Pen and Highway 2000 which connects Spanish Town to Mammee Bay.
  • Driving habits range from aggressive speeding and sudden stops by taxis in the middle of the road to over-polite drivers who suddenly stop to allow a car to pull in front of them. All can lead to accidents.
  • Official emergency response can be slow. In practice, assistance given in emergency situations is generally by fellow motorists.

Traffic Laws:

  • Traffic circles (“roundabouts”) are often poorly marked and require traffic to move in a clockwise direction. Motorists entering a roundabout must yield to those already in it. 
  • Drivers and front-seat passengers are required to wear seat belts.
  • Motorcycle riders are required to wear helmets.

Public Transportation: U.S. government personnel are prohibited from using public buses.

  • Official public transportation vehicles have red license plates. 
  • Private vehicles, NOT licensed for public transportation, have white license plates with blue letters/numbers.
  • Public buses are often overcrowded, and are frequently a venue for crime. There are reports of private buses, acting as public transport, driving erratically leading to injury and death for both riders and pedestrians.
  • You should only use licensed taxicabs having red-and-white PP license plates or taxis recommended by your hotel.
  • Do not accept rides from strangers.

See our Road Safety page for more information. We also suggest that you visit the website of Jamaica’s national tourist office.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Jamaica’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of air carrier operations in Jamaica. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Kingston

142 Old Hope Road
Kingston 6
Jamaica, West Indies

Telephone: +(876) 702-6000

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(876) 702-6000

Fax: +(876) 702-6018

Consulates

U.S. Consular Agent - Montego Bay
Whitter Village, Ironshore
Unit EU-1 (across from Burger King)
Montego Bay, Jamaica

Telephone: +(876) 953-0620

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica: +(876) 702-6000

Fax: +(876) 953-3898

Public Hours are M-F, from 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

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General Information

For information concerning travel to Jamaica, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Jamaica.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

On 24 February 2017 Jamaica became a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention). The treaty entered into force for Jamaica on May 1, 2017. The U.S. and Jamaica are not partners under the Hague Abduction Convention nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Jamaica and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

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Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  The government of Jamaica maintains information about custody, visitation, and family law on the Internet at: Child Development Agency and the Ministry of Justice’s site

Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Jamaica and who can provide legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax:  202-485-6221
Website: travel.state.gov  

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information.

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Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Jamaica and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.  Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Jamaica for information and possible assistance.

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Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Jamaica are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica posts list of attorneys,including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms.  Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

The Jamaica family court system provides government-sponsored mediation at no cost with all matters relating to divorce and child custody.  Mediation services may be available privately through the Dispute Resolution Foundation, for a fee paid for by the parties involved in the dispute. 

DISPUTE RESOLUTION FOUNDATION
Peace Centre & Corporate Head Office
5 Camp Road
Kingston 4 Jamaica
Telephone: (876) 906-2456; 908-3657
Fax: (876) 754-9769
Email: drf@drfja.org

This information is provided as a courtesy and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual or organization.  The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the mediators and/or their organizations.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country.  It is important for parents to understand that, although a left behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.   For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney when planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Jamaica is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).  Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section  204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).

There are two types of adoptions in Jamaica - Adoption Licenses and Adoption Orders.  An Adoption License allows a Jamaican citizen child to be taken to a "scheduled country" (in this case, the United States) and to be adopted in that country (in this case, the United States).  Under Jamaican law, U.S. citizens residing in the United States who are not adopting a relative will only qualify for an Adoption License.  An Adoption Order signifies the full and final adoption under Jamaican law and is only available to prospective adoptive parents who are Jamaican citizens or who reside in Jamaica.  An Order legally replaces an original birth certificate, as it shows date of birth, (new) parentage, and (new) name.  The child's Jamaican passport information may also be changed based on the new parentage and name.

U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Jamaica, you must meet eligibility and suitability requirements.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines who can adopt under U.S. immigration law.

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States on an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, you must also meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Jamaica:

  • Residency:  Prospective adoptive parents seeking an Adoption License can generally expect to travel to Jamaica at least twice, once to meet with the Child Development Agency (CDA) and again to apply for a visa.  However, they are not required to reside in Jamaica, nor are they required to attend the court hearing, though the judge can request their presence.  Prospective adoptive parents seeking an Adoption Order are required by Jamaican law to reside with the child under the supervision of a local social worker for at least three months before the court will approve the full adoption.  The court may waive the pre-adoption placement requirement if the prospective adoptive parents are Jamaican nationals adopting a relative.
  • Age of Adopting Parents:  Prospective adoptive parents who are not related to the potential adopted child must be 25 years of age or older.  If the child is a brother, sister, niece, or nephew of the prospective adoptive parent(s), at least one parent must be 18 years of age or older.  There are no laws establishing a required age difference between the adoptee and the prospective adoptive parent when they are related.
  • Marriage:  Both single individuals and married couples can adopt, though Jamaica does not recognize same-sex marriage.  As such, a Jamaican court may not issue an Adoption Order or License to a same-sex couple.
  • Income:  While there are no specific income requirements, prospective adoptive parents will have to provide documents relaying their financial status.
  • Other:  Each potential adoption is evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the CDA and the Jamaican Adoption Board.  Under Jamaican law, the CDA and the Jamaican Adoption Board have the authority to take prospective adoptive parents’ medical conditions into consideration when evaluating their eligibility to adopt.  In practice, however, it is extremely rare for a prospective parent to be denied eligibility due to an existing medical condition.
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Who Can Be Adopted

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Jamaica has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption.  In all cases, the CDA will assess the child’s suitability for adoption by conducting visits to the child’s place of residence, as well as interviews and counseling with the child, the birth parents, if applicable, and the prospective adoptive parents.

  • Relinquishment:  If the birth parents have not already relinquished their parental rights or had their rights separated by the state, Jamaica requires the child’s birth parents to provide consent before the adoption can be finalized.
  • Abandonment:  None.
  • Age of Adoptive Child:  Only children between the ages of six weeks and 18 years old are eligible for adoption.
  • Sibling Adoptions:  The Jamaican Adoption of Children Act does not include any provision prioritizing sibling placement in order to preserve sibling unity.  However, the CDA and the Adoption Board are concerned about child welfare and are willing to work with prospective adoptive parents to ensure that siblings are placed together.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions:  Each child must undergo a medical examination in Jamaica by a registered Jamaican medical practitioner before the Adoption Order or License can be approved.  This is separate from the medical examination the child must undergo prior to obtaining an immigrant visa.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care:  None.

Caution:  Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable.  In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when this becomes possible.  In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption.

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How to Adopt

Jamaica’s Adoption Authority
The CDA is the only entity legally authorized to provide adoption services in Jamaica and prospective parents must work with this Jamaican government agency when seeking to adopt a child in Jamaica.

The Process

The process for adopting a child from Jamaica generally includes the following steps:

  1. Apply to be found eligible to adopt;
  2. Be matched with a child;
  3. Adopt [or gain custody of] the child in Jamaica;
  4. Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status;
  5. Bring your child home.
  1. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

    In order to adopt a child from Jamaica, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Jamaica and U.S. immigration law.  You must first submit a pre-adoption application with the CDA to be found eligible to adopt in Jamaica.  The pre-adoption application asks for detailed information on the prospective adoptive parents, which the CDA uses to assess the parents’ suitability to adopt under Jamaican law.

    Prospective adoptive parents residing in the United States must also submit a home study report from an approved home study provider in the United States.  The CDA verifies the contents of the prospective adoptive parents’ home study by writing to the home study agency.  This verifies home study authorship and obtains the home study agency's agreement to supervise the placement in the future.

    Some prospective adoptive parents may choose to use a licensed adoption service provider in the United States to help with the adoption.  Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate.  The Department of State provides information on selecting an adoption service provider on its website.  However, in Jamaica, the CDA is the only agency legally authorized to provide adoption services.

    To contact the CDA, obtain a downloadable pre-adoption application, and view the CDA’s guidance on adoptions in Jamaica, please visit their website.

    To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may also file an I-600A Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be found eligible and suitable to adopt.

  2. Be Matched with a Child

    Once a prospective adoptive parent is found eligible to adopt from Jamaica, the CDA and the Adoption Board will assist in locating a child suitable for adoption.  There are currently eight government child care facilities which the CDA directly manages and supports on behalf of the Government of Jamaica.  The CDA also provides oversight and financial assistance to over 40 private homes.  The CDA can assist in matching a prospective adoptive parent with a child from either a public or private home.

    If the prospective adoptive parent has already identified a child they would like to adopt, the CDA will assess the child’s suitability for adoption.  In all cases, the child must be eligible to be adopted according to Jamaica’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section.  The child must also meet the definition of orphanunder U.S. immigration law.

  3. Adopt or Gain Legal Custody of Child in Jamaica

    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Jamaica generally includes the following:

    • Adoption Application:  To initiate an adoption in Jamaica the prospective adoptive parents submit the pre-adoption application form to the CDA.  The online application can be found on the CDA website.
    • Role of Adoption Authority:  Once the CDA conducts their assessment of the child’s suitability for adoption, the CDA report is forwarded to the independent Jamaican Adoption Board which decides whether the adoption should be approved.  The Adoption Board reviews the CDA’s report on the child as well as information on the prospective adoptive parent.
    • Role of the Court:  If the Jamaican Adoption Board approves the adoption, the case is sent to a family court which will review the relevant case facts and determine if the Adoption License or Adoption Order should be issued.  In the Kingston, St. Andrew, Westmoreland, and St. James parishes, special Family Courts exercise jurisdiction over adoptions.  In the remaining parishes, the local Resident Magistrate's Court supervises adoptions.
    • Time Frame:  Prospective adoptive parents seeking an Adoption License can usually complete an adoption in Jamaica in four months.  Those seeking an Adoption Order may need more time, as Jamaican adoption regulations require a locally placed child to be supervised by local social workers for at least three months.  However, the court may waive the pre-adoption placement requirement if the prospective adoptive parents are Jamaican nationals adopting a relative.
    • Adoption Fees:  Jamaica does not charge any fees for adoptions.  However, each child is required to have an extensive physical before the child is found eligible for adoption by the Adoption Board.  This is separate from the medical examination the child must undergo prior to obtaining an immigrant visa.  Costs for the pre-adoption medical vary by physician, but can be up to $100 USD.  Adoptive parents may have legal representation at the court proceeding, but most do not hire an attorney.  Attorney fees will vary.
    • Documents Required: The following documents are required to obtain an Adoption License:
      • Application form (available from the CDA);
      • Home Study – If the prospective adoptive parents are not resident in Jamaica, they should provide a certified original home study plus two additional copies to the Jamaican Adoption Board.  These can be sent by the home study provider or the prospective adoptive parent.  (In most cases, this can be the same home study conducted in the United States for the Form I-600A or I-600.);
      • Medical Examination (examination of both the prospective adoptive parents and the child);
      • Letter of Undertaking - The agency that conducted the home study submits a letter agreeing to supervise the placement until a full and final adoption is complete, and beyond, as determined on a case-by-case basis by the CDA;
      • Bank Statement; and
      • Letter(s) from Employer(s) - The letter(s) should indicate the prospective adoptive parents’ annual income and the nature of employment.

    The following documents are required to obtain an Adoption Order: 

    Note:  Additional documents may be requested.

  • Application form (available from the CDA);
  • Home Study – If the prospective adoptive parents are not resident in Jamaica, they should provide a certified original home study plus two additional copies to the Jamaican Adoption Board.  These can be sent by the home study provider or the prospective adoptive parent.  (In most cases, this can be the same home study conducted in the United States for the Form I-600A or I-600.);
  • Medical Examination (examination of both the prospective adoptive parents and the child);
  • Income Statement;
  • Personal References (two); and
  • Letter of Undertaking – If the prospective adoptive parents are resident in Jamaica, they should provide a letter of undertaking by the Jamaican agency that conducted the home study to supervise placement.
    • Authentication of Documents:  You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic.  If so, the Department of State, Authentications Office may be able to assist.
  1. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status

    After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Jamaica, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition oforphan under U.S. immigration law.  You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.

  2. Bring Your Child Home

    Once your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are several documents your child will require before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States:

    Birth Certificate
    If you have received a full Adoption Order from a Jamaican court, you can obtain the actual order on security paper from the Jamaican Register General’s Department (RGD).  Once an Adoption Order is issued, the child’s previous birth record is sealed and the Adoption Order issued by RGD replaces the original birth certificate.

    If you have been granted an Adoption License, the birth certificate will not be amended to include your child’s new name or your name.  Instead, you should obtain from the RGD the child’s original birth certificate, which lists the child’s birth parents.  The Adoption License will list the same name as that on the child’s original birth certificate, as will the child’s Jamaican passport.

    To obtain a Jamaican birth certificate, prospective adoptive parents apply with the Jamaican Registrar General's Department (RGD).  Parents may apply in person at any RGD office in Jamaica or by mail, including from the United States, although this is more expensive.  Prices also differ based on whether the applicant can provide the RGD with a birth record number and whether the applicant requests express service.  For the full current fee schedule, please visit the RGD website.  The main page has general contact and other information.  Questions about applying for a birth certificate should be directed to the RGD.

    Jamaican Passport
    Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Jamaica.

    The child must appear in person at the Jamaican Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) unless he or she is less than three years old.  The cost of applying for a passport is $2700 Jamaican (about $30 USD) for children up to the age of 18, and $4500 Jamaican (about $50 USD) for those over 18.  Two passport photos must be presented along with the Adoption Order or License.

    If the adoptive parents have received a full Adoption Order, they must appear with the child for the passport application.  If the adoptive parents have received an Adoption License, representatives from the CDA will assist in obtaining the child’s passport and, in most cases, will appear with the child for the passport application without the presence of the adoptive parents.

    Passports generally take seven business days to be issued, though, for additional fees, passports can be issued in three business days, or the following business day.  For additional information, please visit the PICA website.

    There are two Passport Offices able to accept applications in Jamaica:
    25 Constant Spring Road,
    Kingston 10
    Tel: 876-754-4742;

    and

    Overton Plaza,
    49 Union Street,
    Montego Bay
    Tel: 876-952-5380

    U.S. Immigrant Visa
    After you obtain your child’s new birth certificate and passport and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy Jamaica.  This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you.  As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.

    Once the U.S. Embassy Jamaica receives the approved Form I-600 from USCIS, the embassy will contact the prospective adoptive parent via phone or email to schedule the immigrant visa interview and provide instructions on obtaining the immigrant visa medical exam.  The cost of the immigrant visa medical examination is $55 USD for children under 15 years and $110 USD for applicants 15 years and older, not including the cost of any vaccine the child may need.   

    Prospective adoptive parents are encouraged to email the embassy with any questions.  The email addresses for the Immigrant Visa section are KingstonIV@state.gov and KingstonIVappointment@state.gov.  You can also find instructions for applying for an immigrant visa on the U.S. Embassy Jamaica’s website.

    Note:  After the final interview visa issuance generally takes at least 24 hours, and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview.  Please plan your travel accordingly.

    Child Citizenship Act

    For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States:  A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

    For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States:  An adoption will need to be completed following your child’s entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship.

    *Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible.  Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.

    Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

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Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport.  Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy.  The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Jamaica
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa.  A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit.  Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.  To find information about obtaining a visa for Jamaica, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip
Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country.  The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State.  Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary.  Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Jamaica, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

The CDA may, on a case-by-case basis, require the agency that conducted the home study to submit reports to the CDA on a regular basis for up to two years after an Adoption License is issued.  Post-adoption reporting is not mandated in cases that receive Adoption Orders.

We strongly urge you to comply with Jamaica’s post-adoption requirements in a timely manner.  Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process.  Your cooperation will contribute to that country’s positive experiences with U.S. citizen parents.

Post-Adoption Resources
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption.  There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin.  Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note:  Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy Jamaica
148 Old Hope Rd.
Kingston 6
Jamaica, West Indies
Tel:  875-702-6000
Email:  KingstonIV@state.gov
Internet:  jm.usembassy.gov

Mailing Address:
30 Munroe Road
Kingston, 6
Jamaica

Jamaica’s Adoption Authority
Child Development Agency (CDA)
48 Duke Street
Kingston, Jamaica
Tel:  876-948-6678
Fax:  876-924-9401
Internet:  cda.gov.jm

Embassy of Jamaica 
1520 New Hampshire Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036
Tel:  202-452-0660
Internet:  www.embassyofjamaica.org

Jamaica also has Consulates and Consulate-Generals in Chicago, Miami, and New York City.

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel:  1-888-407-4747
Email:  AskCI@state.gov
Internet:  adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures:
National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel:  1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet:  uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-600A or I-600 petition:
National Benefits Center
Tel:  1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email:  NBC.Adoptions@DHS.gov

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 60 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 None Multiple 60 Months
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Available. A certified, computer generated copy of a birth certificate, officially called a Birth Registration Form, may be obtained from any branch of the Registrar General's Department (RGD), which is headquartered in Twickenham Park, Spanish Town. Requests may also be made through the RGD's website. The full name of the subject, the exact date of birth, the name of the father (if it appears on the birth certificate) and the full name of the mother should be furnished. The current format is computer generated and printed on A4 size security paper. Older, handwritten documents, which are typically produced on paper measuring 8 x 6.5 inches or 3 x 14 inches, are no longer accepted at post.

Death Certificates

Available. Called a Death Registration Form, it is obtainable in the same manner as birth and marriage certificates.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

Available. A certified copy of a marriage certificate, officially called a Marriage Register, may be obtained from the RGD in the same manner as described for the birth certificate. Post only accepts marriage certificates printed on security paper of the type described for a birth certificate. Post no longer accepts the older, handwritten version, which typically appeared on paper measuring 3.5 x 14 inches.

While Jamaican law accords some rights to cohabitants, cohabitation does not create a marital relationship that is valid for purposes of immigration.  

Same-sex marriage is not legally recognized in Jamaica.

Certificate of No-Impediment to Marriage

Available. This document is required by post for all Jamaica-resident immigrant visa applicants over age 18 in categories requiring them to be unmarried. The certificate may be obtained from the RGD in the same manner as described for a birth certificate. The document appears on security paper of a different type than that for the marriage, birth, death and adoption certificates. The security paper for the Certificate of No-Impediment to Marriage is 8.5 x 11 inches in size. Post no longer accepts the older, typed version, which appeared on RGD letterhead.

 

Divorce Certificates

Available. A true copy of a divorce decree may be obtained from the Registrar of the Supreme Court, Kingston. The name of the petitioner and the name of the respondent should be furnished, as well as the date of the divorce. The form of this document may vary in accordance with the type of decree given. To be valid, it must bear the stamps "Supreme Court of Judicature of Jamaica" and "True Copy."

Adoption Certificates

Available. A certified copy of an Adoption Children Register, which indicates that the child has been adopted pursuant to an Adoption Order issued by a Jamaican court may be obtained from the RGD in the same manner as a birth certificate. An Adoption Order is available from the Family Court or Resident Magistrate's Court where the adoption took place. Post no longer accepts only the Adoption Order to demonstrate adoptions which have already taken place, but requires the Adopted Children Register.

A certified copy of an Adoption License, issued by a Family Court or Resident's Magistrate's Court is available from the court where the adoption took place or from the Child Development Agency, 2-4 King Street, Kingston 5. The Adoption License allows allows adoptive parents to take the prospective adoptive child to a "scheduled country" (the United States is one such scheduled country) for finalization of the adoption. Note that certain close relatives (such as brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and grandparents) need not obtain an Adoption License in order to take the child to a scheduled country for finalization of the adoption.

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Identity Card

Please check back for update.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Available. Residents of Jamaica should first pay for a police certificate at any Tax Office in Jamaica. They must present a passport, two passport-sized photographs, Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN), and evidence, such as a form letter of instructions to visa applicants, that the Embassy requires them to obtain police certificates for immigration purposes. There is both express and a 21-day service.

After the fee is paid, the applicant should take the receipt and documents to 34 Duke Street in downtown Kingston, where the applicant is fingerprinted. At the end of the specified period, applicants should return to 34 Duke Street to collect the police certificate.

Jamaicans living abroad and former residents of Jamaica may also obtain police certificates, but will need someone in Jamaica to act on their behalf. The applicant should furnish the person applying for the record on their behalf with fingerprints (notarized), two passport size photographs, a copy of the biographic page of their passport and a letter of consent authorizing application. If the applicant has a TRN number, then the fee can be paid at any Tax Office in Jamaica as above. If the applicant does not have a TRN number, then the fee should be paid at the Ministry of National Security, 2 Oxford Rd., Kingston 5. After the fee is paid, the documents are to be taken to 34 Duke Street in downtown Kingston for processing.

The issued certificate measures 11 x 8.5 inches with a heading of "The Jamaican Constabulary Force." A photograph of the applicant is digitally printed on the left-hand side of the document and a hologram is located on the right-hand side of the document.

Prison Records

Available. Persons may obtain copies of the indictment and information related to the individual concerned from the court before which he or she was convicted. Police certificates will reflect any time an individual has spent in prison.

Court Records

Available. Applicants may obtain copies of their court records from the court where they were sentenced.

Military Records

Available. Persons who served in the Jamaica Defense Force may obtain a copy of their Military Service Record from the Records Office, Headquarters, Camp Area, Up Park Camp, Kingston 5.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Please check back for update.

Other Records

Deed Poll

A Deed Poll provides the legal documentary evidence that a person has changed his or her name. the Island Record Office, a division of RGD, stores Deed Polls. Certified copies may be obtained by application to the RGD. Requests may also be made through the RGD's website. A certified copy of the deed poll includes a red seal. The paper is not security paper and is approximately legal size.

Visa Issuing Posts

Kingston, Jamaica (Embassy)

142 Old Hope Road
Kingston 6, Jamaica

Visa Services

All visa categories for Jamaica and the Cayman Islands

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 452-0660 (202) 452-9392

Miami, FL (305) 374-8431 (305) 374-8432 (305) 577-4970

New York, NY (212) 935-9000 (212) 935-7507

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Kingston
142 Old Hope Road
Kingston 6
Jamaica, West Indies
Telephone
+(876) 702-6000
Emergency
+(876) 702-6000
Fax
+(876) 702-6018
Jamaica Country Map

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Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.