Citizenship: Meaning and importance

1. What is citizenship?

Citizenship means membership of a State and a person is called a citizen who is a subject of a sovereign State or independent nation.

2. What is the legal position of a citizen?

A citizen owes allegiance to a sovereign State and is entitled to the protection of that State.

3. Is there another word which is usually used for citizen?

Yes, national. National is usually used to emphasise the right of a citizen to the protection of his or her State especially when he or she is travelling abroad.

4. Is there a Jamaican citizenship?

When Jamaica became an independent nation in 1962 a Jamaican citizenship was established.

5. Who are Jamaican citizens?

Under the Constitution the following persons are citizens of Jamaica:

(1) A person born in Jamaica before or after Independence;

(2) A person born outside Jamaica, if at the date of his or her birth his/her father or mother is or was a citizen of Jamaica by birth, descent or registration.

(3) A person who marries a male or female Jamaican citizen;

(4) A person who becomes naturalised by applying for and obtaining the grant of Jamaican citizenship.

6. Can a Jamaican citizen be a citizen of another State?

Yes, dual citizenship is not prohibited and there are many Jamaicans living abroad who have dual citizenship and hold more than one passport.

7. Can a Jamaican citizen have his or her citizenship “revoked”?

A Jamaican citizen may renounce his/her citizenship and a person who obtains Jamaican citizenship by naturalisation may, on certain grounds, be deprived of that citizenship.


Should a minister have the power to revoke a person’s Jamaican citizenship or must this be only possible by an order of a court?

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