Moving Back to Jamaica

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Citizenship -- Finally

Finally, after 7 months of waiting, I was accepted as a Jamaican citizen.

Talk about high drama.

What I really should say is that my application for formal acceptance as a Jamaican was accepted. I referred to it in a prior blog.

Now that I have exited a strange legal purgatory I feel much better for the experience, thank you. I have a nice piece of paper with my picture on it, and a deeply imprinted seal, that came with a cover note to my mother saying "Congratulations" - your son has been accepted as a Jamaican citizen.

Accepted, huh?

It goes well with the Jamaican passport I have had since I was 5 or so, and the voters ID I have had since I was in my 30's. I imagine that it also means that I really did come back as a returning resident last year... and not as something else.

As confusing as this all is, after it was explained to me it made sense. Jamaica has had a generous law on its books since independence that grants full and automatic Jamaican citizenship to children and grandchildren of Jamaicans born on the island.

However, the concept of "automatic" citizenship became an issue for several reasons, and the law was changed in 2002 to say that citizenship had to be applied for, and then granted. A document would be generated that showed that the process had been followed, and it would list the documents used as proof. In my case, it lists my, and my mother's birth-certificate.

Much of the reform was generated by 9/11, as countries moved towards plugging various holes in their immigration and citizenship laws.

Practically, being an official citizen means that my wife could become a landed resident, and stay in Jamaica as long as she is married to me.

It also means that I can go ahead and form a Jamaican company, which will somehow fit in with my already existing US company. More legal stuff, and for this I will definitely need a lawyer.

I am likely to describe this particular process in my other blog "Chronicles from a Caribbean Cubicle."


At 7/20/2006 10:07 AM, Blogger wayne&wax said...

congratulations! i can't imagine how much time you must have spent in various gov't ministries to get yourself that piece of paper! it is well-earned, no doubt.

At 7/22/2006 9:03 AM, Blogger Drewcatt said...

Congrats, and good luck with the rest of the red tape you'll be battling soon.

At 7/23/2006 11:05 AM, Blogger fwade said...

Thanks folks -- it is strange to bo congratulated for something I thought I already was/had!

At 7/23/2006 12:20 PM, Anonymous rooona said...

I can well imagine the feeling. My daughter, born in Guyana , been living here in Jamaica for the last twenty - five years. Had a Jamaican passport since she was one. Travelling all over the place. Then, this year, passport expire,and she have to apply for citizenship . I was totally confused. your explanation os the best so far.

At 7/23/2006 12:31 PM, Blogger fwade said...


I have to tell you that your comment made me smile, because I started writing this blog a year ago to be helpful to others goingthrough this experience, and I love it when I can see that I am!

And yeah, I know that you moved to Jamaica so long ago that you are not really moving back, but... you get the point!

At 7/26/2006 6:39 PM, Anonymous Duppy-Conqueror said...

ok, so based on your experience, I will go ahead and do the paperwork, and stop skin up mi face an grumble bout di hediot dem what do govament wuk and sake a dat, dem do every ting backway - how you ca' gimme passport an den a tell me fi go apply fi citizenship? Wha ki'na sense dat mek?


At 7/27/2006 4:52 AM, Blogger Gela's Words said...

What??!!! Aren't you Ja'can? I don't understand, you blog about this elsewhere?

At 7/27/2006 6:55 AM, Blogger fwade said...


I had mentioned the whole citizenshop business in an earlier blog entry -- so this was a sort of followup.

And, yes, I am Jamaican -- legally Jamaican now!

At 7/28/2006 4:27 AM, Blogger Gela's Words said...

Ok, I read the whole post, I had just read the introductory lines. Now, I'm intrigued, so tell me, is your wife able to apply after being here for a number of years, say 5? I think that's how it works in England.

At 7/28/2006 7:17 AM, Blogger fwade said...


She can actually apply for citizensip immediately --there is no waiting period. This would allow her to stay in Jamaica regardless of what happens to me.

She could also stay on a Caricom skilled nationals certificate.

At 8/01/2006 2:43 PM, Blogger fwade said...

Incidentally, I think I am right in saying that someone can apply for citizenship from anywhere in the world.


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