JIS News

The Registrar General’s Department (RGD) is reporting that it has collected and processed 150 applications from the Florida leg of its Overseas Outreach Programme to the United States (US), in November.
According to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the RGD, Dr. Patricia Holness this was due mainly to the increased awareness of civil registration matters and the demand for the Jamaican birth certificate brought on by the introduction of the US passport regime. She also explained that the fact that the US Government requires that all individuals seeking to access immigration related services, including citizenship, must present a Jamaican birth certificate produced on security paper may have led to the increase in applications.
While on their 13-day mobile outreach to the United States, the team visited Florida, Atlanta and the Tri-State area. The annual overseas outreach forms part of the agency’s thrust to improve accessibility to its customers in the Diaspora.
The team commenced the first leg of the outreach in Miami, where several Town and Church Hall meetings were held in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Persons who attended these meetings were updated on the procedures necessary to secure and make adjustments to their civil registration records.
Members of the team also provided immediate search results from its online database, which has over six million indices. This provided customers with the entry number which is required to make applications and payments for birth and death certificates online. “From the outreaches, we discovered that there was an emerging trend among Jamaicans who entered the United States in the 1970s. These individuals had certificates with just their first name and were facing challenges in obtaining their pensions and securing their citizenship,” Dr. Holness pointed out.
She said that many of the individuals who attended the outreaches were also unaware that the RGD was producing certificates for births, deaths and marriages on security paper since May 2001 and that the US Government would accept only these certificates.
Additionally, she noted that there were individuals who had secured ‘certificates’, which did not match the data held by the RGD in Jamaica and a few older individuals were never registered.
“The team met with an 87 year-old woman who they assisted with completing her late registration application. The supporting data and evidence required for record updating activities, such as late registration, were much easier to secure, as our database provided internal evidence,” the CEO explained.
She said that the case of the 87 year-old woman was a good example, as although she was not registered, her data could be traced electronically back to her first of 11 children in the 1940s where the registration showed her name and place of birth.
The team was also able to examine data on her marriage in the 1930s which confirmed her name and matched that on her children’s records and the name she has been using.
“This search also showed her father’s name and other relevant data. Internal evidence is playing a crucial role for the older Jamaicans who may not be able to provide the usual school records and statutory declarations needed to update a record,” she informed.
For the past five years the RGD has been assisting Jamaicans living overseas to secure certificates of vital events. They will also be conducting outreaches in the United Kingdom during this fiscal year.
In the meantime, the Head of the RGD is encouraging individuals both in Jamaica and overseas to visit the agency’s website at to submit and pay for their applications online.

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