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Immigrating to the US from Jamaica

Everything you need to know to begin the immigration process from Jamaica

The United States ranks as one of the top three countries, along with Canada and the United Kingdom, to which Jamaicans immigrate. Jamaican immigrants have settled across the United States, with the largest populations in Florida and New York. Jamaicans have influenced all aspects of American culture and society, from culinary feasts, like jerk chicken, to making history, like Vice President Kamala Harris, who became the first woman and person of color to ever be elected to national office.

Are you in Jamaica? Need help finding the right family visa for you? Start by browsing our services.

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The U.S. Embassy in Jamaica

The U.S. Embassy in Jamaica reopened in January 2021 following Covid-19 closures and is currently offering limited, routine visa services.

As of June 14, an appointment is necessary. Register for an appointment here.

Embassy contact information:

U.S. Embassy Kingston

142 Old Hope Road

Kingston 6

Jamaica, West Indies

Email: [email protected]

Tel: (876) 702-6000

Fax: 876-702-6348

Immigration Process

The U.S. embassy in Jamaica is currently processing a limited number of applications. But it’s generally a good idea to get started with the application process sooner rather than later.

There are generally five types of immigrant visas to the United States from Jamaica, and each has their own requirements and procedures.

  1. Family visa
  2. Student visa
  3. Work visa
  4. Diversity Visa Lottery
  5. Investment visa

As of June, 2021, the U.S. embassy in Kingston continued to have COVID-19 protocols in place, which means that only certain visas are being processed in addition to the visa backlog. Per the State Department website, “travelers with urgent needs, foreign diplomats, mission-critical categories of travelers (such as those coming to assist with the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and workers who are essential to the American food supply), followed by students, exchange visitors, and some temporary employment visas” will be prioritized.

The process for applying for an immigrant visa from outside the United States is generally as follows:

Fill out and submit the appropriate petitions and forms for the type of immigrant visa you are applying for.

If a petition for a US visa application is approved, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC), a branch of the State Department, for further processing. The NVC sends correspondence with instructions on how to create a profile at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) to track visa applications. The rest of the process is managed via here, including fee payment.

Once a petition has been accepted by the NVC, an applicant may register for their visa interview online.

A medical exam in Kingston at Andrews Memorial Hospital — the only approved facility — is necessary to complete the application and must be done before the interview. The hospital asks that all appointments be set up through their online portal. You will need the following for the medical appointment:

  • Your visa interview appointment letter
  • Your passport
  • Four (4) recent passport-sized color photographs
  • Reading glasses (if used)
  • A copy of your immunization records
  • All medication containers and/or most recent prescription
  • DS-260 confirmation page

Next, the NVC will communicate which exact documents must be brought to the interview. The consular office will not be able to complete processing an application without the specified documents, and not having those documents during the interview will most likely cause a delay in the process.

After the interview, if a visa is approved, it will be printed on a page in the applicant’s passport. Generally, an expiration date for the visa is given, and travel to the United States must happen before this day. The holder now has the right to live and work in the United States. However, a visa does not guarantee entry to the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has the authority to grant or deny entry.

The process for family members, including spouses, seeking to join family already living in the United States is explained in more detail below.

Family Visas

U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents can sponsor relatives for a green card to join them in the United States. The U.S. relative must start the petition. Below, learn how to sponsor a family member for immigration from Jamaica, depending on the family relationship.


A couple in which one spouse is American or a legal permanent resident and the other Jamaican can apply for a marriage green card. The application process is different depending on whether the foreign partner lives within or outside the United States.


A K-1 visa — also called a fiancé visa — allows the engaged partner of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States, as long as the couple gets married no more than 90 days later. It is a short-term visa that can allow the couple to marry, and begin the process for permanent residence (a green card) based on marriage. To start the process, the U.S. citizen or permanent resident in the relationship would need to file Form I-129F (“Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)”)

Other family members

There are two family-based green card categories:

  1. Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen, namely spouses, parents, and unmarried children under age 21, and
  2. Other relatives of a U.S. citizen or green card holder, including the spouse of a green card holder and the sibling of a U.S. citizen.

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