Mon | Sep 25, 2017

I want to extend my stay in Jamaica

Published:Wednesday | January 20, 2016 | 1:00 AM

My student visa expired last year due to the fact that my passport itself expired. I'm a Barbadian student studying at the University of the West Indies and I plan to go home for Easter, so I have a few questions. Do I have to pay the $60,000? How long will it take? Do I only have to walk with my passport, money and a status letter? And last, what time does the Half-Way Tree branch close?

Thanks for your query. I believe you may be referring to the extension-of-stay stamp that you received in your passport rather than a student visa - as travellers from Barbados do not need a visa to come to Jamaica, including persons who are visiting for the purpose of study. This arrangement is also applicable to travellers from other Commonwealth territories, except for a few cases such as Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. Travellers from non-Commonwealth countries would, however, need a visa to come here.

 

EXTENSION-OF-STAY STAMP

 

The extension-of-stay stamp is an authorisation granted by PICA and allows the recipient to stay for a specified period of time, which typically extends beyond the regular time granted to visitors. In the case of students, this is granted for a period covering the duration of their programme of study or up to the expiration date of their passport.

Typically, to extend your stay, you must complete an extension-of-stay form obtainable on our website at www.pica.gov.jm. You would then submit the form at our office along with a fee of $10,000. A regular extension-of-stay service takes three days to complete.

However, you asked if you should pay a fee of $60,000, which could indicate that you may have overstayed your time in Jamaica, which would have been granted up to the date of expiration of your passport. According to you, your passport expired last year. Be reminded that to overstay your time in Jamaica is a breach of our immigration laws. You need to come into our office to discuss this matter, and you may be required to pay a fine of no less than $50,000. This must be done in order for you to be granted any more time in Jamaica to complete your studies. You would still need to pay the $10,000 extension fee. Please ensure that you take steps to renew your passport as well, as no extension would be granted on an expired passport.

When you visit our office, please take along a letter from your institution stating that you are still a student there.

Our Visa and Extension of Stay Unit in Kingston is open to the public from Monday to Thursday between 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and on Fridays between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

- For further information, please visit our website at www.pica.gov.jm. You may also email queries to info@pica.gov.jm.