Expat guide to relocating and working in Jamaica



Known for its strong sense of self identity expressed through its music, food and rich cultural mix, Jamaica’s influence extends far beyond its shores. Jamaicans are proud of their cultural and religious heritage. As a commonwealth country, Jamaica is considered the third largest Anglophone country in the Americas after the US and Canada. Expatriates who move to Jamaica are often lured to the island by the chance to live in a tropical Caribbean paradise.


Expat Clubs

The Liguanea Club

The Liguaenea Club is a members’ sports and recreational club in the heart of New Kingstom, Jamaica. Membership is open to both local residents and expatriates.

Address: Knutsford Boulevard, New Kingston, Kingston 5, Jamaica W.I.

Tel: 1 876 968 3483

Email: [email protected]          

Website: www.theliguaneaclub.com

Kingston Polo Club

The Kingston Polo Club was formed in 1886 at Knutsford Park. It then moved to the middle of the Caymanas Race Track and is now situated on the other side of the Mandela highway just below the Caymanas Golf Club.

Address: Caymanas, Saint Catherine, Jamaica

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.kingstonpoloclub.com

Jamaica Meetup Groups

A place where locals and expats can meet each other and find others alike.

Website: www.jamaica.meetup.com

Kingston Expats (Jamaica)

Kingston Expats groups is for anyone living in Kingston, Jamaica or interested in living here. All the members of the group can post information regarding events, post classifieds, sell items and share experiences regarding the life in Kingston.

Website: www.facebook.com/groups/309382639077150

International Schools 

The schooling system in Jamaica is primarily modelled on the British system, and thus has a strong educational structure in its local schools. Expats may feel inclined to enroll their children into one of these local schools. However, if you wish to find information about the international school in Jamaica, see the following:

American International School of Kingston

American International School of Kingston (AISK) is a Pre-School through Grade 12 non-profit school offering day school and boarding facilities. This school is a gem on the island and well renowned. AISK is the only international school in Jamaica and has grown to approximately 350 students representing over forty nationalities.

Curriculum: American standards-based curriculum

Address: 2 College Green Avenue, Kingston 6, Jamaica

Tel: +1876 702 2070

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.aisk.com

Local News in English

Jamaica Observer: www.jamaicaobserver.com

The Gleaner: www.jamaica-gleaner.com

The Jamaica Online Star: www.jamaica-star.com

Country Information 

Full name: Jamaica

Location: Caribbean

Population: 2.751 million

Capital city: Kingston

Other important cities: Portmore, Spanish Town, Montego Bay

Currency: 1 Jamaican dollar = 100 cents

Language(s): English, English patois

Religion(s): Christanity

Calling code:  +1876

Internet TLD: .jm

Electricity: 110V 50Hz

Emergency Numbers: 110, 119

Jamaica is an island in the West Indies, near to surrounding countries Cuba and Haiti, and is made up of coastal lowlands, a limestone plateau and the Blue Moutains, a group of volcanic hills. Of course, all make for beautiful sceneries across the country.

The country is a Commonwealth realm, which means that Queen Elizabeth II is its monarch and head of state, but the nation has been economically and politically independent since the early sixties.

Kingston Harbour is the seventh-largest natural harbour in the world, which contributed to it being designated as the capital. Other significant cities include Portmore, Spanish Town, Mandeville, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, Negril and Montego Bay. Attractions include Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios.

The climate in Jamaica is tropical, with hot and humid weather, although higher grounds are more temperate. Christianity is the largest religion practised in Jamaica, however the Rastafari movement isn’t far behind.

The country is known for producing well known personalities such as Bob Marley, Marcus Garvey, Sanya Richards-Ross and Usain Bolt. 

Embassy Information


Residents Visa and Work Permit information

Visitors to Jamaica from countries belonging to the Commonwealth needn’t gain a visa prior to visiting the country. To check whether this is applicable to you, see here: www.jhcuk.org/visitors/visa-requirements/do-i-need-a-visa-to-enter-jamaica

Permanent Residence

Individuals who desire to relocate to Jamaica should make an application to the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency of Jamaica in Jamaica.

You will require:
  • Valid passport
  • Evidence of financial status and means of support e.g. bank account
  • Original birth certificate
  • Marital status/Marriage certificate (if relevant)
  • Medical certificate, proof of good health
  • Police certificate
  • Two passport-sized photographs
  • Letter stating reasons for permanent residence in Jamaica
  • Two letters from reputable references from Jamaica, must be addressed to the Chief Immigration Officer of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency in Jamaica
  • Fee of J$ 30,000 payable to the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency in Jamaica

Citizenship through Marriage

The application should be made at the same time as your Registration Form. You will need:

  • Applicant’s birth certificate
  • Official marriage certificate
  • Husband’s/Wife’s original birth certificate
  • Husband’s/Wife’s current passport
  • Verification of income e.g. payslips, employment letter
  • Recent bank statement
  • Two passport-sized photographs certified by a Consular Officer at the High Commission or at the Jamaican Consulate
  • Tax compliance certificate
  • A police certificate from country of residence
  • Postal order of £155 payable to the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency of Jamaica
  • Additional fee of £10 required for postage of the completed document upon return from Jamaica

Work Visa

These are issued solely on the basis of evidence of a confirmed job offer. You need the following documentation on application:

  • Valid passport
  • Original letter from organisation affirming job offer
  • Original work permit approval signed by or on behalf of the Minister of Labour
  • Completed visa application
  • Passport-sized photograph

Visas for entry into Jamaica are issued by a Jamaican Embassy, High Commission, Consulate General or Consulate.

Work Permit

The employment of non-Jamaicans in the country is governed by the Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Act 1964, which aims to ensure that qualified Jamaicans are given first consideration in employment opportunities. However at the same time, it recognises that certain expertises may not be readily available but needed for the economic development.

If you desire to work in Jamaica, you require a work permit. These are issued solely by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security in Jamaica, and their contact details are as follows:

            Ministry of Labour and Social Security

            1F North Street, Kingston, Jamaica W.I.

            Tel: +1876 922 9500 12

            Website: www.mlss.gov.jm

Registration of Minors

Two references are required to sponsor the application. These persons should be Jamaican by birth, and should not be a civil servant, lawyer or agent of the applicant. You will need:

  • Minor’s birth certificate
  • Minor’s passport
  • Parents’ marriage certificate
  • Parents’ passport
  • Evidence of parent(s) Jamaican Nationality, if citizen
  • Work permit of parent(s)
  • Tax compliance certificate of parent(s)
  • Two passport-sized photographs of minor
  • £70 fee in cash or postal order.

Applications must be done in person at the High Commission or Jamaican Consulate. 


It’s important to be where you feel safe and where you are close to what is important when moving to Jamaica, like the amenities, beaches, friends, other expats.

There are many contemporary designs in terms of housing across the country, but most Jamaican homes do suggest little about the nation’s history. Types and varieties are many, and mostly depict the African and European influences, especially with older models of accommodation. Today, houses are primarily built with cement, sand, concrete and steel. But there is still a large part of the population that use lumber and zinc roofs.

Recommended areas include Mandeville, Ocho Rios, Run Away Bay, Discovery Bay, Duncans. For countryside lovers, Lower Trelawney (Falmouth) is popular. Expats are advised to live a little out of the main cities, for instance Trelawyney and Hanover outside Negril and Montegobay, where the rent is a little cheaper, but you are still close enough to get to the main parts within ten or fifteen minutes. 

Driving License

Driving in Jamaica is on the left hand side of the road. Seat belts when driving are mandatory, and drivers must carry at all times while driving, a valid driver’s licence, registration documents and insurance documents.

The driving licence requirements in Jamaica state that you must be at least 18 years old and have a full driving licence valid in your country of residence. To obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP), you must visit a tax office, taking along your current driver’s licence and a passport-sized photograph. But remember... An IDP is valid for one year, or until your existing licence expires.

Expats from the UK can use their UK driving licence for up to 6 months in Jamaica. Other expats that have lived on the island for more than 3 months require a Jamaican license.

Getting a licence

Here are the requirements you need to gain a Jamaican driving license:
  • Exam fee
  • Application form, signed by a doctor
  • Three passport-sized photographs
  • Provisional driver’s license
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • A licensed instruction to accompany you
  • Tax Payer Registration Number (TRN)
  • Type of car and size to be licensed to drive

Once you have all of the relevant documentation, complete your examination and if you pass – well done! You will have to visit the Collectorate of Tazes and Motor Vehicle and License Department and hand over your certificate of competence and fee. Within a few hours you will receive your license.

Convert your existing licence

It’s hard to find an accurate guide to transferring your foreign license to a Jamaican one, but the process involves having to take an examination test. If you do not have a Jamaican drivers licence, you may do the following:

  • Pick up an application for a driver’s license from a Tax Office
  • Pay the test fee
  • Get three passport-sized photographs
  • Visit the Examination Depot on the day and time appointed to you when booking


In keeping with the World Health Organisation philosophy of health as a fundamental right of every citizen, the Government is keen on providing universal access to quality care. Thus, Jamaica’s outlay of health facilities includes over 330 health centres, 20+ public hospitals, 10+ public hospitals and over 500 pharmacies.

Insurance Companies


Hope Institute

Address: 7 Golding Avenue, Kingston

Tel: 927 2111

Website: www.jis.gov.jm/agencies/hope-institute

Kingston Public Hospital

Address: North Street, Kingston

Tel: 922 0210

Website: www.serha.gov.jm/KingstonPublic.aspx

Linstead Hospital

Address: Rodney Hall Road, Linstead, West Indies, Jamaica

Tel: 985 2359 985 2241

Website: www.serha.gov.jm/Linstead.aspx

Princes Margaret Hospital

Address: 54 Lyssons Road, Morant Bay, St. Thomas, West Indies, Jamaica

Tel: 982 2304

Website: www.friendsofpmhosp.com/aboutpmh.htm

Cornwall Regional Hospital

Address: Mt Salem, Montego Bay, St. James, West Indies, Jamaica

Tel: 952 5100 9

Website: www.cornwallregionalhospital.com

Falmouth Hospital

Address: Rodney St. Falmouth, West Indies, Jamaica

Tel: 954 3250

Royale Medical Hospital and Clinic

Address: 10 Lewis St., Savanna-lar-mar, Westmoreland

Tel: 955 3154

Website: www.royalmedicalja.com

Port Antonio Hospital

Address: Naylor’s Hill, Port Antonio, Portland, Jamaica

Tel: 715 5778

Annotto Bay Hospital

Address: Annotto Bay, St. Mary, Jamaica

Tel: 996 2222 3

Website: www.facebook.com/pages/Annotto-Bay-Hospital/183635385026841

St. Ann’s Bay Hospital

Address: Seville Road, St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica

Tel: 972 2272 3

May Pen Hospital

Address: Muirhead Avenue, May Pen, South Central Clarendon, Jamaica

Tel: 986 6307