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Jamaican Citizenship Requirements

Updated April 17, 2017

There are a number of ways for Jamaican citizenship to be granted. Citizenship entitlements and requirements are outlined in Chapter II of the Constitution of Jamaica and in the Jamaican Nationality Act. In addition to qualifying for citizenship through birth, adoption and descent, persons residing in Jamaica can apply for citizenship through naturalisation. Any person wishing to claim citizenship that is not automatically provided through adoption or birth must formally apply or register for a Certification of Jamaican Citizenship.

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Automatic Citizenship

Jamaican citizenship is automatically given to any person born in Jamaica after Aug. 5, 1962. Citizenship is also automatically granted to any person born in Jamaica prior to Aug. 5, 1962, if the person was a citizen of the United Kingdom and its colonies on that date. Jamaican citizenship is also granted to a non-Jamaican child who is legally adopted in Jamaica if either the adopted mother or father is a Jamaican citizen.

Citizenship by Descent

A person born outside Jamaica can claim citizenship by descent if they were born before Aug. 6, 1962, was a citizen of the United Kingdom and its colonies on Aug. 5, 1962, and the applicant's father was a citizen of Jamaica, or would have qualified if not for death, as of Aug. 6, 1962. A person can also apply if born outside Jamaica after Aug. 5, 1962 to a father who was a citizen by birth, registration or naturalisation when the applicant was born. To apply, birth certificates of the applicant's parents, a marriage certificate of the parents, if applicable, and evidence of the parents' citizenship must be provided with an application form and fee.

Citizenship by Naturalization

Applicants for citizenship through naturalisation must have legally resided in Jamaica for a minimum of five years. Applicants must demonstrate that they are of good character and be financially solvent by providing references, evidence of community involvement and a tax compliance certificate. A naturalisation form and application fee must be submitted, as well as the applicant's birth certificate, work permit or exception certificate, and passport. Before submitting the application, a notice of the intention to apply for naturalisation must appear in a daily newspaper.

Citizenship Through Marriage

Non-Jamaicans can obtain citizenship after marrying a Jamaican. In addition to an application form and written request for citizenship to the Ministry of National Security, applicants must submit certified copies of the birth certificates and passports of the Jamaican national and his or her spouse. A certified copy of a marriage certificate must also be provided, as well as the applicant's police record, issued within six months of the application, two passport-size photographs of the applicant, and an application fee.

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About the Author

John Costa covers travel, public policy and consumer issues for various online publications. He has also worked as a government adviser since 2005, developing policies and programs. Costa holds a B.A. in history and political science from the University of Toronto, as well as an M.A. in comparative politics from the University of York in England.

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