The Caribbean island of Jamaica is very popular as a tourist destination. Tourism and hospitality are the country’s principal industries. It also holds appeal for adventurous expats looking for employment. If you are planning on visiting or working in Jamaica, you may need to apply for a visa. Read on to learn more about this process.
Will I need a visa?
You may need a visa to visit Jamaica, depending on your nationality, the reason for your trip and how long you are planning to stay there. The Jamaican government website lists the visa requirements for nationals of each country.
Nationals of many countries do not need a visa for a stay of up to 30 days in Jamaica, so long as you have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date and a round-trip or onward ticket.
If you are a British national, you don’t need a visa to visit Jamaica, and you will usually be granted entry for up to 90 days. The date by which you must leave Jamaica will be stamped in your passport. If you wish to extend your stay beyond this date, you will need to apply to the Jamaican immigration authorities, but the government says that Commonwealth citizens can be granted a period of up to a year.
If you are a US national, you will not need a visa for your first six months on the island, and you can apply for an extension to the immigration authorities.
If you are visiting the island as part of a cruise, you will not need a visa, although you should bring your passport / travel documents with you.
How do I apply for an entry visa?
Visas for entry into Jamaica are issued by your local Jamaican embassy, high commission, consulate general or consulate.
You can only apply for a long-stay visa if you have also applied for a residence permit. For this kind of visa, you will need to submit your application in person. Children under the age of 18 must also apply in person.
To apply for a Jamaican visa, you will need to submit the following documentation:
• One photograph
• Your passport (with the relevant validity)
• Your return ticket / itinerary, with a re-entry visa (for those who are not nationals of their present country of residence), or onward ticket with a visa for another destination
• Your most recent bank statement (proving that sufficient funds are available for your visit)
• Your hotel booking confirmation (if staying in a hotel), or proof that adequate arrangements have been made for accommodation and maintenance during your visit
How much does it cost?
From the UK, your visa will cost £25, plus an additional £7 for return post. This should be payable in cash if you are applying in-person, or via postal orders. Personal cheques and card payments are not currently accepted.
The fee at entry, for if you come without a visa and you need one, is US$100.00.
There may be a penalty charge of US$350.00 for individuals who arrive at a port of entry without the requisite visa.
The cost if you want to extend your stay beyond the visa exemption period is JM$50,000 (US$357).
How long does it take?
For applications delivered in person, you should allow at least three business days for processing. If the visa application has been referred to the Jamaican authorities for approval or has been submitted by post, please allow two to three weeks for processing.
What will I need to apply for a work visa?
You cannot work legally in Jamaica without a work permit, and you will need to have an offer of employment before you can apply for one via the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS). Note that if you are a Commonwealth citizen, you will be able to apply for a permit once you have arrived in the country. If you are a citizen of the United States, you need to ensure that you obtain a work permit before you apply for a work visa at either a Jamaican embassy or consulate.
The requirements means that your employer will do the bulk of the application for you, but you will still need to supply:
• A work permit application (you will need to fill out the first part of this, and your employer must do the rest)
• A letter from your employer detailing the nature of the job and the reason why a Jamaican applicant could not be hired
• Your CV/resume
• Your qualifications (you will need to get any certificates or diplomas apostilled)
• An up-to-date police clearance check
• Two photographs
• Two copies of your passport
• A completed application for taxpayer registration, in the form of a Tax Compliance Certificate
You will need to pay an application fee, the amount of which will depend on your profession. You can check this with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS).
If you are self-employed, you can apply for a work permit yourself via the MLSS. You will need the following documentation:
• Description of the nature and duration of your work
• Certified copies of your qualifications
• Two passport photographs
• Your CV/resume
• An up-to-date police clearance record
You will need to pay a non-refundable processing fee of JMD$14,400 (US$109), as well as a fee for the permit itself, the cost of which depends on how long the permit lasts for.
You will need an entrance visa in addition to a work permit. Some countries have reciprocal visa arrangements with Jamaica, and you will be permitted to stay on the island for a limited time before you need to formalise your own arrangements.
Bringing a pet into Jamaica
If you intend to bring your cat or dog into the country, you will need to do the following:
• Complete a preliminary application form
• Obtain a veterinary import permit
• Complete all tests, treatments and vaccination requirements
• Obtain an official veterinary export health certificate
• Complete and submit an animal landing notification form
• Complete and submit a confirmation of animal arrival form