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Can I get a Jamaican citizenship stamp in my passport?

Published:Tuesday | June 19, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Deidre S. Powell

Dear Miss Powell,

I am a Canadian citizen. I was listening to a programme on a Jamaican radio station where it was stated that one is able to have their Jamaican citizenship stamped in a passport issued by Canada or other commonwealth countries. Please advise if this is still the case. Would I have to obtain permission from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) before taking such action? Which office in Jamaica would I attend to have this done? Thanks in advance.

- R.M.

Dear R.M.,

If you were born in Jamaica, the child of a Jamaican citizen or of Jamaican descent then you qualify for and can obtain unconditional landing status (UL) from the Passport, Immigration & Citizenship Agency (PICA) in Jamaica. PICA has offices located at 25c Constant Spring Road, Kingston and 49 Union Street in Montego Bay.

The purpose of the stamp is so that you will not need to justify your presence in the island for over six months or if you choose to remain indefinitely. With a stamp of unconditional landing status on your passport, you will be permitted to remain in Jamaica indefinitely without having to apply for permits. The UL allows you to remain in Jamaica for extended periods of time in order to visit, attend school or work.

Eligible categories

Unconditional landing status is only available to certain categories of people. This includes those who were born overseas of Jamaican parentage, Jamaicans with non-Jamaican passports, holders of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Certificates and people who have been naturalised or registered as Jamaican citizens.

This is a simple application and you will be required to complete the Application for Extension of Time Form. Be sure to select 'unconditional landing' under 'Reasons for extension of time'. You will also need to present your Canadian passport, Jamaican birth certificate, passport or certificate of citizenship. There is a non-refundable fee of JM$10, 000 for first-time applicants. If your Canadian passport subsequently expires and you would like to update the new one it will cost you JM$5,000 to transfer the stamp to the new passport.

Please note that it is not necessary for you to obtain permission from CIC or Passport Canada to apply for unconditional landing status in Jamaica.

Since you are considered to be a dual citizen another option that is available to you is to apply for a Jamaican passport. A Jamaican passport would allow you to travel to Jamaica for unrestricted periods of time. You may even return to Jamaica on an expired Jamaican passport but you would need to renew it before your return to Canada as you would not be able to use it to return to Canada. You would need to use your Canadian Passport to return to Canada.

Two-passport hassle

Some people do not like the hassles that could be associated with two passports and therefore many find the unconditional stamp very useful. You may apply for a Jamaican passport at a passport office in Kingston or Montego Bay, as well as at designated police stations across the island.

You can also apply from Canada at one of the consular offices. You will need to bring completed and notarised application form, photo identification, two notarised passport-sized photographs and your birth certificate. You will also need to present your marriage certificate, divorce decree, or adoption certificate, if these are applicable to your situation. The fee for a Jamaican passport is about JM$4,500 and the passport is valid for 10 years.

The various forms and additional information may be found on PICA's website at: http://www.pica.gov.jm.

Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with main office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, real estate, personal injury, family and administration of estates. She is on the roster of mediators for Ottawa, Toronto and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica. Email: info@deidrepowell.com. Subject line: Immigration.