Immigration. Travel. Living.

Jamaica: immigration guide

Flag of Jamaica

Located on the Mediterranean Sea of the Atlantic Ocean, the island is rich with wild mountains, rainforests, heritage, and reef-lined beaches. To boost its economy, it keeps developing its market to accommodate highly skilled ex-pats looking for employment and initiating policies to attract investors. The service sector is the main contributor to the Island’s GDP, the Caribbean island being a popular tourist destination for millions of ex-pats from across the world.

Visa types

A foreigner interested in working or living in Jamaica may require a visa depending on the home country, purpose, and duration of stay.  Citizens from certain countries may visit and stay here for up to 30 days or more without a visa, provided they have valid passports.

Study visa

This visa is for students accepted into any Jamaican-based educational institution. It is usually valid for the duration of the course, and such a student can apply for a work permit. To apply, you have to provide a sponsor’s bank statement and admission letter from a legal university.

Business visa

This visa covers the duration of stay for business owners with companies here and foreign partners on business meetings. If you are a citizen from a commonwealth country, you can travel without this visa provided your stay is short. During the application, you have to submit the host details and invitation letter with the purpose of the visit clearly stated.

Transit visa

For foreigners traveling to other countries and having to stop in Jamaica, the Transit visa is essential regardless of the duration of stay. To apply, submit your flight reservation and valid visa to the embassy before traveling. 

Work visa

For this type of visa, you must have an offer of employment before applying at the embassy. After arrival, you have to apply to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) for a work permit as a Commonwealth citizen. US citizens however have to apply for a work permit first before a work visa. A work visa grants ex-pat access to live and work here. The visa is valid for the duration of the job contract.

Tourist visa

This grants you access to live here for a limited duration if you are not a national from the countries that do not require a visa on entry. You can stay up to 60 days with a tourist visa. To apply, you will need to provide a valid passport, bank statement, and other documents at the embassy in your country of residence.


white and blue bus near palm tree under blue sky during daytime

Permanent residence

With this permit, an ex-pat can live and work here without restricted duration, without applying for a work permit or citizenship. A permanent permit allows an ex-pat to live for a while, but it does not automatically make them legal citizens with all rights as native citizens. It takes up to 6 months to be issued a permanent permit and even at that, certain conditions must be met.

How to apply

A non-Jamaican resident can apply for a permit if he or she falls into any of the listed categories:

  • Worked for more than 3 years
  • retired national who wishes to retire in Jamaica
  • married to a Jamaican national
  • depends on a Permanent Resident holder
  • Previously held Unconditional Landing status by marriage to a Jamaican


To move abroad, a foreigner requires a visa. There are certain requirements to be met to obtain one. They include: 

  • A signed and completed Visa Application Form
  • One passport photograph
  • A Valid Passport
  • Flight itinerary 
  • Proof of sufficient funds to cover the visit.
  • Bank Statement from the individual or organization for a sponsored trip 
  • If self-employed, evidence of your registered business
  • If sponsored by a legal resident, a copy of his or her valid passport

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