The Jamaican Diaspora and Consular Affairs Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in Kingston has the responsibility to provide guidance on import regulations and immigration procedures to Jamaicans who wish to relocate to Jamaica. The primary mission of the Consular Affairs Department is the effective administration of the Returning Residents Programme through the establishment of an environment conducive to the return and reintegration of Jamaicans overseas and the provision of related services.
The department also liaises closely with the following Ministries, Departments and Agencies:
- The Ministry of National Security on matters of nationality,citizenship and immigration procedures
- The Customs Department on matters relating to eligibility for concessions, and the importation and clearance of personal and household effects, tools of trade, vehicles and other items
- The Trade Board Limited on matters relating to the issue of Import Licenses
- The Ministry of Commerce, Science & Technology and the Ministry of Finance & Planning on matters relating to Motor Vehicle Policy and Investment Policy
- The Ministry of Mining & Energy, the Ministry of Commerce Science & Technology and the Ministry of Water on matters relating to the provision of utility services to persons re-establishing their home in Jamaica
- The Ministry of Industry & Investment and JAMPRO on matters relating to Investment Policy and business Start-Ups.
The department is geared to assist in individual cases of difficulty, and, where it is apparent that a number of persons are experiencing the same problem, the department will be instrumental in alerting the appropriate Ministry or Agency, and in working with them to take corrective action. In the same way, it will keep abreast of changes in the relevant procedures and regulations, and make such information available on a continuous and timely basis.
For further information, please contact the Consulate for referral to the appropriate office.
Eligibility and Basic Provisions for Returning Resident Status
In order to be considered a Returning Resident under the laws of Jamaica, and benefit from the concessions relating to personal and household effects and / or tools of trade, you must satisfy the following conditions:
- Be a Jamaican national who has attained the age of eighteen (18) years
- Have been resident overseas for not less than the past three consecutive years
- Be returning to Jamaica to reside permanently
Three special cases have been identified:
- Non-Jamaican male spouses of women who qualify as Returning Residents will be afforded the same concessions as their wives. This provision had previously applied only to non-Jamaican female spouses of Returning Residents.
- Students who have attained the age of eighteen (18) years who have studied abroad for more than one (1), but less than three years will qualify for concessions in respect of tools of trade; some normally dutiable items which may be new or used; and used household effects.
- Jamaicans who gave up their citizenship (and can provide proof of that previous status) who wish to return home will be granted the status of a Returning Resident, with the attendant benefits.
Eligibility for concessions as a Returning Resident is formally established by the Customs Department. This must be done after your arrival in Jamaica, and before you begin the process of clearing your personal and household effects and / or tools of trade.
It is necessary for you to attend a brief interview at the Returning Residents Unit of the Customs Department at the Head Office. In order to establish your eligibility you will be required to submit:
- Your passport
- Such documentary evidence as may substantiate your residence outside of Jamaica for more than the past three years