Tue | Jan 18, 2022

Immigration Corner | Jamaica-born US citizen wants to return home

Published:Monday | January 7, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Dahlia Walker-Huntington

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I am a Jamaican national, born in Kingston, who later became a US citizen. I have a few questions about returning to Jamaica to live and work for a few years. I read a few of your articles in the 'Gleaner' responding to similar questions.

My question is, what is the process of moving back to Jamaica like? Would I have to sign any forms prior to or after my move? Would I have to connect and provide any information to any Jamaican government agencies prior to or after move? Any help is appreciated, thank you for your time.


Dear AA,

As a citizen of Jamaica, you did not lose your Jamaican citizenship when you became an American citizen. You therefore hold dual citizenship and are entitled to hold two passports - one for Jamaica and one for the United States.

It is strongly suggested that you obtain a Jamaican passport if yours has expired. When you return to Jamaica, you would use your Jamaican passport to land in the country and you would then be authorised to remain for as long as you wish and to work in Jamaica. The passport is the best indication of your Jamaican citizenship. Even if you are a Jamaican citizen, if you use a US passport to land in Jamaica, you will be treated as an American and not a Jamaican.

If you did not have a Tax Registration Number (TRN) before leaving Jamaica, you should obtain one before returning to the island. Go to www.jamaicatax.gov.jm for instructions on applying from overseas. A TRN is similar to a US Social Security Number for tax-payment purposes, but Jamaica also has a National Insurance Scheme (NIS), which is a contributory tax programme that pays you back in old age. Check with the Ministry of Labour & Social Security to register for your NIS number. Jamaicans are also required to register as contributors to the National Housing Trust.

As a citizen of the United States, you can live anywhere in the world and remain outside the United States for as long as you wish and not jeopardise your US citizenship, unlike a person with a green card. If they remain outside the US for an extended period, they can lose their US residency.

You are not required to notify the United States that you will be living outside the country, but it is recommended that you register with the US Embassy as an American citizen living in Jamaica. One requirement that you must abide by is that you must file your US income tax return every year on or before April 15 on your worldwide income.

- Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington, Esq, is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States, and family, criminal and international law in Florida. She is a mediator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida. info@walkerhuntington.com