Mon | Feb 20, 2017

Applying for a passport as a non-legal guardian

Published:Wednesday | April 13, 2011 | 12:00 AM

I have been the guardian for my niece since she was one year and three months old. She is now 10 years old. Can I apply for her passport in my capacity as guardian? (There are no legal documents to say I am her guardian.) Her parents are still alive and keep in contact.

The law stipulates that no child under the age of 18 years shall be granted a passport without the written consent of the father or mother, or by the court, as in the case of a child who is a ward of court. The law further indicates that proper identification is required by the parent or guardian giving the consent. If the parents are in Jamaica, one of them is required to come in with the child. (In the case of the father, his name must appear on the child's birth certificate). In a case where the parents are overseas, they may give permission for a guardian to apply for the passport on their behalf. The parent giving consent from overseas would need to send a notarised letter along with a copy of his/her identification. An application can, therefore, be submitted, providing that sections C (Consent for a Minor) and E of the passport application form is completed by you, the applicant (guardian).

proper identification

As mentioned earlier, the parent giving consent must provide proper identification. This may be in the form of a Jamaican or non-Jamaican valid passport, Jamaican electoral identification card or driver's licence. You (the guardian) must also present your photo ID as the person completing the application form.

Children three years and over are required to appear in person with their parent/guardian when applying for a passport. They may do so at the head office of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) at 25C Constant Spring Road or at PICA's branch office at Overton Plaza, 49 Union Street, Montego Bay, or to an immigration officer situated in the Police Divisional Headquarters in each parish.

Ensure that passport application forms and at least one of the photographs are certified by persons authorised to do so. A listing of such persons is noted on the application form. The application form and photographs are valid up to six months after the date of certification. A fee of $2,700 for children must be paid on the day the application is submitted. Expedited services are available at an additional cost.

When collecting the document, you must take along the receipt as proof of payment as well as your ID. If anyone other than the person who applied is collecting the passport, then the applicant must send their ID and a letter authorising the bearer to collect the document. The bearer must also present an ID.

We (me, my husband and three children) are planning to visit Jamaica in April 2012. My children's US passports expire in May 2012 (my husband's and my passport do not expire until 2015) I am wondering if there will be any issue with my children's passports since they will expire while we are there.

Your children's passports must be valid for the duration of their stay in Jamaica. If you have discovered that their passport will expire while in Jamaica, then you should endeavour to renew the documents before going on the trip. If the passports expire before your intended period of stay on the island, then the immigration officer will not permit stay beyond the validity of the document, thereby putting a damper on your vacation plans.

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