PICA Corner: Obtaining Jamaican citizenship for child of missing father
Q: I am interested in applying for Jamaican citizenship by descent. My father is Jamaican and the application form is requesting a copy of his birth certificate or passport. However, my father has been missing for more than 10 years and I do not have copies of these. I do have his name and it is on my birth certificate. How do I proceed to apply?
A: Thankfully you have your father's name on your birth certificate which would make the process a lot easier. Nevertheless, you still need to prove your Jamaican lineage. This you would do, by presenting a copy of your father's birth certificate and passport with your application if, you are a minor (below 18 years of age). If you are an adult, you would present a copy of his birth certificate only. This is a requirement even for persons who have access to these documents.
I am presuming that your mother is not Jamaican as you did not mention her. You therefore have no choice but to apply for citizenship based on your father's Jamaican nationality. As you do not have a copy of either of his document, you would need to visit the Registrar General's Department and apply for his birth certificate.
Upon obtaining your father's birth certificate, you can apply for Jamaican citizenship on the basis of descent. To do so, you need to submit a request in writing or complete a request form obtainable at PICA offices or on its website at www.pica.gov.jm or through the nearest Jamaican Missions in an overseas territory. The letter should state your name and address as well as the date and place of your birth.
The letter of request or form should be submitted to the offices of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency in Kingston or Montego Bay or at the nearest Jamaica Mission who will then forward the application to Kingston for processing.
You must also submit the following original supporting documents:
- Your birth certificate;
• A government issued photograph identification (such as a passport);
• Your father's birth certificate;
• Two (2) passport-sized photographs; one of which should be certified by a justice of the peace or notary public.
The cost for obtaining Citizenship by Descent is J$10,000.00 or US$100.00 and once your supporting documents are in order your application will be processed within 30 working days of receipt at the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency.