Jamaican nationality law

The Jamaican nationality law is governed by the Law on Citizenship of Jamaica (the Jamaica Citizenship Act), and by the Jamaican Constitution. Like most countries in the Americas, Jamaican nationality law is based on jus soli.

Jamaican Citizenship Act
Parliament of Jamaica
Enacted byGovernment of Jamaica
Status: Current legislation

Automatic acquisition

Under chapter 2 of the Constitution of Jamaica, a person born in Jamaica after 5 August 1962, or born outside Jamaica after that date to a father who is a Jamaican citizen, is automatically considered a Jamaican citizen at birth. Those born in Jamaica or born to Jamaican fathers before 5 August 1962 acquired Jamaican citizenship on that day.[1]

The only exception to citizenship by birth in Jamaica is when either parent of the child enjoys diplomatic immunity and neither parent is a citizen of Jamaica at the time of their birth; or when either parent is an "enemy alien" and the birth occurred when Jamaica is "under occupation by the enemy".[1]

A person who was born after 1 March 1993 to Jamaican mothers is also deemed to be a Jamaican citizen at birth. Those born outside Jamaica to Jamaican mothers are deemed to have acquired Jamaican citizenship on 1 March 1993 by operation of the law.[1]

Voluntary acquisition

  • Marriage, upon application a person married to a Jamaican national may apply for nationality pursuant to the constitution.[2]
  • By descent, if they were born outside Jamaica before August 6, 1962 and one of their parents would have become a Jamaican citizen then if not for their death, or if they were born outside Jamaica after August 6, 1962 and had one parent who was a Jamaican citizen at the time of their birth.[3]
  • By naturalisation, if they are at least 18 years old, and have lived in Jamaica for a total of five years, including the 12 months preceding the application.[4]

Dual Citizenship

Under current Jamaican legislation, citizens of Jamaica are able to hold multiple nationalities, and even serve in the legislature of Jamaica.[5]


  1. "The Jamaican Nationality Act" (PDF).
  2. "Citizenship by Descent". Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency, PICA. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  3. "Naturalisation". Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency, PICA. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  4. "Jamaica Observer Limited". Jamaica Observer. Retrieved 29 September 2019.

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