Tue | Sep 19, 2017

Calls renewed for Jamaica to waive visa requirement for regional students

Published:Monday | July 11, 2016 | 7:53 AM
A woman displays a Jamaican passport with the CARICOM logo on it.

The guild of students at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) is renewing calls for the Jamaican government to remove requirements for regional students to obtain visas to study in the country.

President of the guild, Mikiela Gonzales, says the visa removal requirement is important to make education accessible while encouraging regional integration.

She was speaking at a UWI town hall meeting involving Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland and UWI Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles. 

In 2013, former guild president, Terron Dewar, led discussions with then education minister, Ronald Thwaites to have the visa requirements removed. 

The issue was not resolved before Thwaites left office in 2016 and there had been no further discussions on the matter.

Upon arriving in Jamaica to study, regional students are initially granted a six-month visa, after which they have to pay to clear immigration requirements.

Students are granted the visa for the duration of their studies, after providing a letter verifying their status as students.

However, if the passport expires before the time is up, another sum of money is required to have the visa placed in a new travel document.