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PICA Corner: For holders of Marriage Exempt Certificates

Published:Wednesday | March 2, 2011 | 3:00 AM

I am a citizen of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and married to a Jamaican. I will be travelling to Jamaica shortly to commence an internship. I qualify for a marriage exemption and understand the steps required to get the exemption. My question is, when I get my exemption, do I have to then request an extension of stay? Or, do I just carry on and start working?

As you

have correctly indicated, non-Jamaicans who are married to Jamaican nationals do qualify for employment in Jamaica without the need for a work permit. This is facilitated through the issuing of a Marriage Exemption Certificate (MEC) by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. Nevertheless, you are required to attend the immigration office for the necessary endorsement (extension of stay) in your passport. This will then allow you to work in Jamaica up to the expiry date of the MEC.

Please note that you must receive the endorsement before you commence working.

The documents required to obtain the endorsement (extension of stay) are:

  • The applicant's passport
  • Marriage Exemption Certificate from the Ministry of Labour
  • Marriage certificate
  • Spouse's Jamaican birth certificate or machine readable Jamaican passport
  • Completed 'extension of stay' form

  • The process attracts a non-refundable fee of $10,000.

Note also that as a resident of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) you would need to obtain a visa prior to entry in the island. The visa is obtainable at the Jamaican Consulate Office in the BVI.

If you need further clarification you may call the PICA office at: 876-754-4742 or 876-754-5092-3

I recently applied for a renewal of my passport at your head office on Constant Spring Road. I did the necessary requirements, but upon submitting my application to one of your agents, he realised that my mother's pet name was included on my birth paper and not her real name. He then referred me to the customer-service section where I spoke with one of the representatives and he advised me to remove the pet name to avoid future problems. I am now wondering, since I have to travel very soon, and obviously time is running out, if by any chance the renewal process can still proceed?

Unfortunately, we would not be able to process your passport application if there are inaccuracies on your birth certificate. Applicants with incorrect name(s) on their birth certificate, or a maiden name missing, or any other discrepancies, would have to go to Registrar General's Department to resolve the matter.

A passport is a secure travel document that is often used to show proof of one's identity as well as citizenship. It is used for international travel and must, therefore, meet the International Civil Aviation Organization standards. The mandate of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency, therefore, is to provide a document that is of the highest integrity and must be able to stand up to international scrutiny.

For further information, visit our website at www.pica.gov.jm . Queries can be sent to info@pica.gov.jm.