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April 12, 2024

Information for U.S. Citizens in the Middle East

International Parental Child Abduction

English

Country Information

Jamaica

Jamaica
Jamaica
Reconsider travel to Jamaica due to crime. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling to many areas due to increased risk. Please read the entire Travel Advisory.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to crime and health information

Reconsider travel to Jamaica due to crime and medical services. U.S. government personnel under Chief of Mission (COM) security responsibility are prohibited from traveling to many areas due to increased risk. Please read the entire Travel Advisory. 

Country Summary: Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts.

Local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. When arrests are made, cases are infrequently prosecuted to a conclusive sentence. Families of U.S. citizens killed in accidents or homicides frequently wait a year or more for final death certificates to be issued by Jamaican authorities. The homicide rate reported by the Government of Jamaica has for several years been among the highest in the Western Hemisphere. U.S. government personnel under COM security responsibility are prohibited from traveling to the areas listed below, from using public buses, and from driving outside of prescribed areas of Kingston at night.

Emergency services and hospital care vary throughout the island, and response times and quality of care may vary from U.S. standards. Public hospitals are under-resourced and cannot always provide high level or specialized care. Private hospitals require payment up front before admitting patients and may not have the ability to provide specialized care. Ambulance services are not always readily available, especially in rural areas, and are not always staffed by trained personnel.

We strongly encourage you to obtain traveler’s insurance, including medical evacuation insurance, before traveling to Jamaica. The Department of State does not pay medical bills.

Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance. U.S. citizens with medical emergencies can face bills in the tens of thousands of dollars, with air ambulance service to the United States in the range of $30,000-50,000.  Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Jamaica.

If you decide to travel to Jamaica:

  • Do not attempt to bring firearms or ammunition. This includes stray rounds, shells or empty casings. The penalties for carrying firearms and/or ammunition, even inadvertently, are severe, and can include lengthy prison sentences.
  • Avoid walking or driving at night.
  • Avoid public buses.
  • Avoid secluded places or situations.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and keep a low profile.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for Jamaica.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

Violence and shootings occur regularly in many neighborhoods, communities, and parishes in Jamaica. 

U.S. government personnel under COM security responsibility are prohibited from traveling to the following areas of Jamaica due to crime:

St. Ann’s Parish—Do Not Travel - Steer Town and the Buckfield neighborhood near Ocho Rios

St. Catherine’s Parish—Do Not Travel

  • Spanish Town
  • Central Village
  • Areas within Portmore, including: Naggo Head, New Land, Old Braeton, Portmore Lane, Gregory Park, and Waterford

All of Clarendon Parish—Do Not Travel

All of Clarendon Parish, except passing through Clarendon Parish using the T1 and A2 highways.

St. Elizabeth’s Parish—Do Not Travel

Vineyard District Community, between the communities of Salt Spring and Burnt Savanna, St. Elizabeth

Hanover Parish—Do Not Travel

Logwood and Orange Bay

St. James Parish/Montego Bay—Do Not Travel

All of Montego Bay on the inland side of the A1 highway and The Queen’s Drive from San San to Harmony Beach Park

Kingston and St. Andrew Parish—Do Not Travel

  • Cassava Piece
  • Downtown Kingston, defined as between Mountain View Avenue and Hagley Park Road, and south of Half Way Tree and Old Hope Roads. Downtown Kingston includes Arnett Gardens, Cockburn Gardens, Denham Town, Olympic Gardens, Seaview Gardens, Trench Town, and Tivoli Gardens.
  • Duhaney Park
  • Grants Pen
  • Standpipe
  • Swallowfield
  • Elleston Flats
  • August Town

Manchester Parish—Do Not Travel

Green Vale, Gray Ground, Red Ground, and Vineyard neighborhoods of Mandeville

St. Thomas Parish—Do Not Travel

  • Black Lane neighborhood in Seaforth
  • Grands Penn
  • Church Corner neighborhood near Yallahs
  • Town of Yallahs, except when driving through on the main highway

Trelawny Parish—Do Not Travel

  • Clarks Town

Westmoreland Parish—Do Not Travel

  • Russia community in Savanna-la-Mar (The Southeastern quadrant of Savannah la Mar east of Darling Street and south of the A2 highway/Barracks Road)
  • Morgan Bay
  • Kings Valley
  • The Whitehall, Bethel Town, and Red Ground neighborhoods of Negril

If you do decide to travel to the above-listed Do Not Travel areas, please visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

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Hague Convention Participation

Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes

What You Can Do

Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Kingston

142 Old Hope Road
Kingston 6
Jamaica, West Indies
Telephone:
+(876) 702-6000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(876) 702-6000
Fax: +(876) 702-6018
Email: 

Consulates

U.S. Consular Agent - Montego Bay
Whitter Village, Ironshore
Unit EU-1 (across from Burger King)
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Telephone:
+(876) 953-0620
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica: +(876) 702-6000
Fax: +(876) 953-3898
Appointments are made by phone or email
Email: 

General Information

For information concerning travel to Jamaica, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Jamaica.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Child Abduction. The report is located here.

 

Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Jamaica.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax:  202-485-6221
Website  

Jamaica - Central Authority
Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA)
Address: 48 Duke Street, Kingston
Telephone: +1876-948-2841-2, +1876-922-8857
Fax: +1876-924-9401
E-mail: jacentralauthority@cpfsa.gov.jm
Website: http://childprotection.gov.jm/#banner

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Jamaica, the USCA encourages parents to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at the Department of State website and contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to Jamaica, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.  There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Jamaican central authorities. 

Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Jamaica.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Jamaica.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

 

Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Jamaica are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica maintains a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms.  Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

Mediation

The Jamaica family court system provides government-sponsored mediation at no cost with all matters relating to divorce and child custody.  Mediation services may be available privately through the Dispute Resolution Foundation, for a fee paid for by the parties involved in the dispute. 

DISPUTE RESOLUTION FOUNDATION
Peace Centre & Corporate Head Office
5 Camp Road
Kingston 4 Jamaica
Telephone: (876) 906-2456; 908-3657
Fax: (876) 754-9769
Email: drf@drfja.org

This information is provided as a courtesy and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual or organization.  The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the mediators and/or their organizations.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Last Updated: April 1, 2019

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Kingston
142 Old Hope Road
Kingston 6
Jamaica, West Indies
Telephone
+(876) 702-6000
Emergency
+(876) 702-6000
Fax
+(876) 702-6018

Jamaica Map