Permanent residency can be granted for retired people and those who have been employed in Jamaica for at least five years. The process takes three years to complete, but it took five years for me. This department of immigrations is not the most efficient. My extra two years was a result of lost paperwork and lack of investigation by the clerks. Each year you are required to visit the Kingston immigrations office where they will extend your temporary residency for another year. At the same time you can purchase a multi entry visa. A visa is a must if you plan on leaving the island during the coming year. The visa and subsequent renewals require two trips to Kingston. The first visit is to apply for the visa or renewal. This process takes one week and proves that you are who you say you are. The fee for each visa is JA $2,000. I found obtaining the visa quite helpful as I travel two to three times a year for vacations and shopping trips.
Here is a list of the required “documents and particulars” to become a permanent resident:
1) Valid National passport;
2) Evidence of financial status and means of support – for example, particulars on pension, bank account, property owned and business investments;
3) Birth certificate;
4) Marital status – marriage certificate – particulars of spouse, children, and other dependents;
5) Medical certificate – certificate of good health;
6) Police certificate from the state which you are migrating;
7) Two (2) passport size photos;
8) Reasons for seeking permanent residence in Jamaica;
9) Letters of references from two reputable citizens of Jamaica.
Permanent residency is usually granted to the following categories of persons:
A) Wives of Jamaican nationals without meeting any residency requirements;
B) Adults and minors who have claim to Jamaican nationality without meeting any residency requirements;
C) Retired persons who have resided in Jamaica for at least three years;
D) Persons employed in Jamaica after completing a period of residency of at least five years;
E) Minors who have no claim to Jamaican nationality who have resided in the island for a period of 2-4 years.
The sooner these documents and particulars are presented to immigrations, the sooner they can begin their investigation. The most difficult report for me to obtain was from the Massachusetts state police. It was something that could not be done in person but only by mail or through the internet. Even so, my initial request was lost. Most of the other required information was much easier to produce. Finding two reputable people to write a letter of reference is not easy for someone new to the island. I was able to get these letters from prominent people in my neighborhood. One area immigrations is very meticulous about is with the financial aspect. They want to be assured that you will have ample funds for as long as you live and that your survivors will be taken care of. Proving lifetime pension benefits requires statements from their source and not just check stubs.
Towards the end of the three year process, the police conduct interviews with you and your neighbors as part of their investigation into your conduct while living in Jamaica. Besides the personal questions, they look around your home to see what kind of lifestyle you are living. For this reason, and perhaps others, there isn’t any notice given before the interview.
I think the best advice I can offer you once the permanent residency process has been started is to turn in as quickly as possible all the information they require and to keep on top of them. Calls to immigrations should be made a few times during the year so you can check on the progress of their investigation. I failed to do that in the beginning and, as a result, it took nearly two additional years for them to complete their investigation. It is better for them to know you well than not a t all. Later…