Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Wednesday | October 14, 2009
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How do I get temporary status for my family?

Q. I am a foreign national with a permit to work in Jamaica. How do I get temporary resident status for my family so that they can be with me in the island?

A. Your reference to "temporary resident" status is taken to mean the period of extension granted to persons who are depen-dents of a work permit holder, as we do not have this as a category of extension of stay. This period of extension of stay is indicated by an endorsement stamped in your passport for the duration of your work permit/exemption.

This extension will allow you (the work permit holder) to have your dependents with you while you work in Jamaica. Note, mention is made of dependents and not necessarily family members. This is because a family member may not be a dependent. Persons typically referred to as dependents are: wife or husband and children or step children under the age of 16.

It is important to note that dependents are not permitted to work while here and so the endorsement will include the notation "employment not permitted". Note that a dependent's passport must be valid. If a dependent's passport expires prior to the expiration of your work permit then he or she will only be granted a time which corresponds with the validity of the passport. They would need to acquire a new passport before being granted the required time.

In applying for an extension of stay, your dependents will need to complete an application form, which they can obtain at the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) office at 25C Constant Spring Road, St Andrew. Applicants must also present the relevant marriage or birth certificate.

If any of your children are over 16 years old then you will be required to provide evidence that this person is still dependent.

Please note that application for extension of stay as a dependent attracts a processing fee of $10,000.

Q. How does a United States mother with a child who has a Jamaican passport obtain resident status in Jamaica so she does not have to leave the island every six months? Also, may her other non-Jamaican children also obtain resident status so that they may be with her for longer periods?

A. Being the parent of a child who is Jamaican by birth is not a basis on which that parent can claim to remain here. The parent therefore has to qualify to remain in Jamaica under any of the categories available to all non-Jamaicans; that is student, work permit, work permit exemption, marriage, permanent residence, etc. The same also applies to the siblings.

It is not clear from the limited information provided what your specific situation is, therefore you are advised to call PICA at 906-1497, 906-4329 754-5092 or visit the Extension of Stay Unit of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency, 25C Constant Spring Road, St Andrew to discuss your case with an immigration officer. The immigration officer will be better able to determine if you qualify under any of the categories identified to remain in Jamaica beyond six months.

Send your question, comments and suggestions on everything related to immigration, passports and citizenship to editor@gleanerjm.com and the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency will respond.

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