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How to apply for permanent residence for common-law spouse

Published:Wednesday | March 23, 2016 | 12:02 AM

Q: My partner of 15 years will be returning to Jamaica to reside permanently in 2017. He was born in Jamaica so he will be a retired returning resident. We aren't married so please clarify on what basis/conditions can I get permanent residency. Is it possible for him to be a guarantor for me? (Of course, I am not Jamaican). I will not be requiring a working visa.


A: Congratulations to both of you on your decision to settle in Jamaica and for your partner's pending retirement.

You asked about the possibility of gaining permanent residence status in Jamaica. Please note that permanent resident status may be conferred on foreign nationals who are retired, married to Jamaicans or descendants of Jamaicans. Minors who have no claim to Jamaican nationality (i.e., are not of Jamaican heritage), but who have resided in the island for a period exceeding two years are also qualified.

Others include persons living and working in Jamaica for a minimum of three years continuously and who have not been out of the island for more than three months cumulatively within each year of their employment. (Such persons must be in possession of a valid work permit).




As you can see from the long list of requirements, the regulations do not take into account persons in common-law relationships. You did not indicate whether you will be retiring. However, if you are retiring then it is possible for you to apply for permanent residence on that basis without having to satisfy any residential requirement. That is, you do not need to be living here for any specified period of time.

Note that retired persons who apply for permanent residence should be in receipt of a pension or own their own company overseas, such that they receive a steady income with no intention of being employed in Jamaica or they may be persons who acquire a great fortune and can afford not to work again. The point of these stipulations is to ensure that persons who apply on the basis that they are retired are in fact retired and are not gainfully employed.

To apply for permanent resident status you would need to visit the Extension of Stay Unit at the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) at 25c Constant Spring Road, Kingston 10, and complete an application form. You may also obtain the form from our website at:

Please ensure that you have the following documents/information prior to your visit:

- A valid passport (at least six months prior to expiration);

- Evidence of financial status (for example, pension, bank account, investments, etc. This is not required of persons married to or are descendants of Jamaicans);

- Birth certificate;

- Marriage certificate (where applicable);

- Particulars of spouse and other dependents;

- Medical certificate;

- Police certificate from the country from which you are migrating (This is required for persons not currently living in Jamaica);

- Two passport-sized photographs;

- A letter stating the reason for wanting to live in Jamaica (The letter must be addressed to the Chief Executive Officer, Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency, 25c Constant Spring Road, Kingston 10); and

- Letter of recommendation from two reputable references. References should not be related to the applicant.

You queried whether your partner can be your guarantor. Remember, as a common-law spouse you are not qualified for permanent residence; however, if you are retired you do not need a guarantor for this process.

The process of obtaining permanent residence takes approximately three months for completion and attracts a non-refundable processing fee of JA$100,000.

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