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.
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."