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Family Issues


Marriages that take place according to Jamaican law are recognized in the United States as legal marriages.  Persons getting married in Jamaica must be in country for 24 hours before the ceremony can be performed. No blood tests are required.

In order to secure issuance of a marriage license, the couple should contact a wedding planner or the Registrar General’s Department approximately two weeks before the wedding with the following:

  • Both parties’ birth certificates which must include the father’s name or information substantiating same
  • Official photo identification such as a passport or driver’s license
  • Occupations of bride and groom
  • If either party was married before, certified final divorce papers or death certificate of deceased spouse
  • The relevant fees
  • Once the ceremony is performed, the marriage officer will present the bride with the signed marriage license.  With that document, an official marriage certificate can be obtained through the Registrar General’s Department online service at the Registrar General's Office in Jamaica

Parental Abduction Issues

The U.S. Embassy is not able to intervene in private child custody issues.  Jamaica is not a party to the Hague Convention which protects parents in cases of international parental child abduction.  Children in Jamaica are protected by Jamaican laws and custody granted to a parent in the Jamaican courts is binding within Jamaica.  In turn, Jamaican parents have little recourse through the courts in the United States in child custody cases but can contact child protection agencies in the state where their children reside.  In cases where the child has been taken to Jamaica, parents should contact the Child Development Agency in Jamaica which oversees the welfare of children in Jamaica.  The phone number is: (876) 948-7206 or toll-free (888) 991-3353.

The Office of Children's Issues at the Department of State assists in cases of international parental child abduction. The Department of State may be able to assist citizens in cases involving abducted children.  Please visit the Office of Children's Issues for more information. 

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  • STEP The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. STEP allows you to enter information about your trips abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency.