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Requirements for Working in Jamaica

The employment of non-Jamaicans in Jamaica is governed by the Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Act, 1964, which seeks to ensure that qualified Jamaicans are given first consideration in employment opportunities. At the same time, it is recognized that the expertise needed for economic development is not always available because of shortage in the supply of certain special skills. All foreigners employed in Jamaica must inform the Ministry of Labour of a change of residence from one parish to another.

Non-Jamaicans seeking employment in Jamaica are required to obtain work permits.

Apply to:
Minister of Labour
1F North Street, Kingston
Jamaica, WI

Commonwealth Citizens may apply for work permits after arrival in Jamaica. Relatives of these individuals who are over 18 years of age, with special skills, may also apply for work permits.Non-Commonwealth citizens must apply for a work permit prior to arrival in Jamaica. United States citizens are considered non-Commonwealth citizens (i.e. foreigners or aliens) since the United States of America is not a member country of the British Commonwealth. United States citizens are therefore required to ensure that work permits are obtained before applying for work visas at either a Jamaican Embassy or Consulate.

Application forms, obtainable at the Government Printing Office, must be completed, signed and submitted by the prospective employer and must be accompanied by the required documentation including proof by the prospective employer that the vacancy was advertised and did not attract any suitably qualified Jamaicans.

Work Visas

Work visas are issued solely on the basis of evidence of a confirmed job offer. Documentation to be presented on application in this regard are:

  • valid national passport
  • original letter from organization affirming job offer
  • original work permit approval signed by or on behalf of the Minister of Labour, and
  • completed visa application form accompanied by one (1) passport-size photograph
  • visa fee

All individuals are landed at the discretion of the Immigration Officer. In this connection they are required to have on arrival return tickets (open tickets are advisable) and valid passports with the appropriate Jamaican visa. Individuals who arrive in Jamaica from countries where there are no Jamaican visa-issuing authorities must also present a letter from the Minister of Labour approving the work permit application. Upon landing, all prospective employees must, prior to taking up their employment, take the letter, along with travel documents (including airline ticket), to the Immigration, Citizenship and Passport Office located at 25 Constant Spring Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica, which will endorse the passport for the duration of the work permit and issue a certificate to the Ministry of Labour, on the basis of which the work permit will be released. The work permit is validated at the discretion of the Minister of Labour.

Please be advised that if the passport expires within the period for which the work permit was granted, the endorsement will cover only the period for which the passport is valid.


Foreign nationals who want to work in Jamaica, are required to obtain a work permit that is granted at the discretion of the Ministry of Labour in Jamaica. The permit should be obtained prior to arrival in Jamaica.

Ministry of Labour
1F North Street
Kingston, Jamaica

Visas are issued by Jamaican Consular officials only after confirmation that a work permit has been issued to the applicant.

Exemptions from Visa or Work Permit:

  • Heads of Mission and members of staff accredited to Jamaica are exempt from Work Permit. VISA REQUIRED
  • Direct transit and transit passengers
  • United States, German, and Canadian Peace Corps personnel are exempt from work permit and registration. VISA REQUIRED
  • Persons employed by the United Nations with Laissez Passer are exempt from visa and work permit
  • Persons employed by owners or operators of aircrafts operated on an international service and have landed in Jamaica to perform duties on said aircrafts are exempt from visa, work permit, and registration
  • Directors, inspectors, and auditors of any company who operate a branch in Jamaica may stay for a period of up to fourteen (14) days within one calendar year without visa and work permit
  • Persons employed in any Ministry or Department of the Government of Jamaica may be exempted
  • Writers, journalists, broadcasters, sculptors and painters (excluding industrial painters) may stay for varying periods of up to thirty (30) days in one calendar year with work permit exemption, subject to the approval of the JIS
  • Persons sent by the Government of any sovereign power may stay for varying periods up to fourteen (14) days in one calendar year

Diplomatic and Official Passport Holders require the following:

  • National passport (valid for a minimum of six (6) months with valid reentry visa to the United States of America or for intended destination on departing Jamaica
  • Note Verbale from Diplomatic or Consular Mission to which applicant is attached, stating in detail, purpose and length of visit (visas are issues gatis)

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