Quick Facts about Jamaica

Q. Who is the Head of State of Jamaica?
Jamaica’s Head of State is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. She is represented in Jamaica by The Governor-General. The Queen, on the advice of the Prime Minister of Jamaica, appoints a Governor-General to be her representative in Jamaica. Although both the Queen and the Governor-General hold much power of the country it is rarely used, it is usually only used in emergencies and in some cases war. The Governor-General represents the Queen on ceremonial occasions such as the opening of Parliament, the presentation of honors and military parades. Under the Jamaican Constitution, he is given authority to act in some matters, for example in appointing and disciplining officers of the civil service, in proroguing Parliament and so on, but only in a few cases is he empowered to act entirely on his own discretion. The current Governor-General is His Excellency The Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen, ON, GCMG, CD

Q. Who is the Head of Government of Jamaica?
The Head of Government of Jamaica is The Prime Minister. The current Prime Minister is The Most Honourable Andrew Holness MP. Every 5 years there is a general election held in Jamaica and The Prime Minister is appointed from the winning party. A general election may be held before the end of a 5-year period, if the current prime minister wishes to do so.

Q. What is the currency that is used in Jamaica?
The official currency of Jamaica is the Jamaican dollar. Jamaican bills (banknotes) come in denominations of 50, 100, 500, 1000, and 5000 dollars. Jamaican coins come in 1, 5, 10, and 20 dollar denominations (older coins, which currently have no real value but are still legal, come in denominations of 1, 10, and 25 Jamaican cents.
Most places in Jamaica, but not all, related to the tourist industry will accept both Jamaican dollars and United States dollars. Places that are not related to the tourist industry often will only accept Jamaican dollars.

Q. What are the languages spoken in Jamaica?
English is the official language of Jamaica. A dialect based on English, known as Jamaican patois, is also widely spoken

Q. Do I need a permit to work in Jamaica? How do I apply for one?
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.
Non-Jamaicans seeking employment in Jamaica are required to obtain work permits. Prospective employers are required to apply to the Ministry of Labour & Social Security (MLSS) on behalf of the persons they seek to recruit. Persons who intend to be self-employed also require work permits.
When the permit is granted, persons who hold passports of non-Commonwealth countries are required to apply for the appropriate Jamaican entry visa. They will be required to present a copy of the Work Permit approval letter from the MLSS

For further information, please contact the Ministry of Labour and Social Security in Jamaica directly at:
Ministry of Labour and Social Security
1F North Street, Kingston, Jamaica W.I.
Telephone 00 1876 922 9500-12
Website www.mlss.gov.jm

Q. Do I need permission to take my prescription drugs to Jamaica when I travel?
A special permit will be required for the Jamaican Customs. Please send the following information:

  • A letter from the physician stating the name of the patient and the treatment prescribed.
  • A copy of the prescription indicating the name, strength and quantity of the drugs for the duration of the stay.
  • Flight details (dates and times of arrival and departure, flight numbers, ports of arrival and departure).
  • The address of patient while in Jamaica.
  • A contact number/facsimile number of physician and/or patient.

Applications should be sent (preferably via courier service for ease of tracking) to:
The Ministry of Health
Pharmaceutical and Regulatory Affairs Division
2 King Street
Kingston, Jamaica
Fax: #(876) 967-1629
Website: www.moh.gov.jm

Q. Can I take my pet dog or cat into Jamaica? Are any other household pets allowed in Jamaica?
According to the Regulations Governing the Importation of Dogs and Cats into Jamaica by the Ministry of Agriculture (Veterinary Services Division)

  • No dog or cat shall be imported into Jamaica except such an animal was born and breed in Great Britain, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. This also applies to Guide Dogs also. Dogs and Cats vaccinated against rabies are not allowed entry into Jamaica.
  • Every dog or cat imported into Jamaica must be accompanied by an Import Permit Issued by the Veterinary Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Jamaica.
  • On arrival at Kingston, which shall be the only port of entry into the Island, every dog or cat shall be examined by an Inspector appointed under the Law and quarantined for no less than 14 days. If found free of any clinical signs of any noticeable disease, it may be cleared.

To obtain an Import Permit requires a Health Certificate, to be first obtained from your local Veterinarian, which should be sent for certification to:
The Animal Health Divisional Office (AHDO) DEFRA
(Please visit their Website at Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.)
The Health Certificate should state that there has been no Rabies in unquarantined dogs, cats or other animals in the country from which it was exported.
The Heath Certificate must accompany the animal and should be addressed to :

The Veterinary Services Department
Ministry of Agriculture
Hope Gardens
Kingston 6
Jamaica, W.I.
Tel: +876 977 2489
+876 977 2492
+876 927 0594
Fax: +876 977-0885
E-mail: nsep@mail.infochan.com
Web site: www.moa.gov.jm

Other types of pets
Please refer any questions regarding the importation of other small domestic pets (e.g. hamsters) to the Veterinary Services Department of the Ministry of Agriculture e-mail: nsep@mail.infochan.com for their consideration.

Important Note: The quarantine of all animals will be at the owners expense and this and other attendant costs (e.g. transportation from airport to nearby quarantine facility) are outlined in an information leaflet which accompanies the issued import permit. It should be noted also that the importation of these animals attracts customs duty and it is therefore recommended that owners contact Jamaica Customs for an evaluation and further information on indicative costs. Please visit their website at: www.jacustoms.gov.jm

Q. Can I Film Movies and Videos in Jamaica?
Jamaica has become a popular location for filming movies and music videos. A licence is required for filming movies and videos in Jamaica. The Jamaica Film Commission processes all required permits and waivers depending on the specific requirements of that particular production. Persons importing equipment on a temporary basis are eligible for duty waivers and waivers of bond in conjunction with their film licences.
The contact information for the Commission is –

Jamaica Film Commission
18 Trafalgar Rd,
Kingston 10,
Jamaica W.I.
Tel: (876) 978-7755, 978-3337,
Fax: (876) 978-0140,
Email: film@jti.org.jm

Web site: www.filmjamaica.com

Q. How can I obtain a Police Certificate (Criminal Record) from Jamaica?
Police records can be obtained from the Office of the Superintendent of Records and Identification, Criminal Records Office, 34 Duke Street, Kingston, Jamaica, Tel: (876) 922-3221. This can be applied for directly, via Courier service. The Embassy can also assist.
When applying, please submit the following;

  • Two (2) sets of fingerprints (i.e. two sets of each hand) certified by local immigration service or police authority.
  • Official Birth Certificate bearing original stamp and seal of the Registrar General's Department.
  • International Money order in the amount of US$25.00 payable to the C.I.B. Headquarters.
  • Three (3) passport-size photographs, one of which must be certified (whether by a Justice of the Peace in Jamaica or Consular Officer in Brazil).
  • Name and Address of Embassy, Consulate or Immigration authority to which certificate should be addressed or sent. Please note that the certificate cannot be sent to you nor your lawyer (you will receive a copy.
  • Last home address in Jamaica.
  • Approximate date when certificate will be required