Doing Business In Jamaica

  1. In Doing Business 2013, Jamaica is ranked 90th out of 185 economies. The overall score is 5 points lower than last year, reflecting a 13 point decline in the Getting Electricity indicator.
  2. According to the most recent Enterprise Surveys (2010), the top 3 obstacles to running a business in Jamaica are Tax Rates, Electricity, and Access to Finance. 55.5% of firms in Jamaica own generators in order to deal with frequent power outages and shortages.
  3. According to the World Bank’s Governance Indicators (2010), Jamaica is rated around the 60th percentile for the Government Effectiveness, Voice and Accountability, and Regulatory Quality indicators. It is close to the 40th percentile for the Rule of Law and Control of Corruption Indicators.
  4. Jamaica’s economic freedom score is 65.1, making its economy the 58th freest in the 2012 Index. Its score is 0.6 point lower than last year, with losses in six of the 10 economic freedoms including business freedom and the management of public spending. Jamaica ranks 12th out of 29 countries in the South and Central America/Caribbean region.

Source: World Bank


Visa Information

No visas are required for entry to Jamaica for citizens of European Union countries, the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Japan or Israel.
Nationals of the UK, Ireland, USA and Canada may stay for six months. Nationals of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Commonwealth countries (except Sri Lanka and Pakistan) may stay for three months. Nationals of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Greece, Japan, Portugal and Spain may stay for 30 days.
All other nationalities require visas (citizens of most countries can obtain a visa on arrival, provided they are holding valid onward or return tickets and evidence of sufficient funds).
Immigration formalities require every person to show a return or ongoing airline ticket when arriving in Jamaica.

Business Etiquette

Building Relationships & Communication
  • Although it is not imperative that you be introduced by a third-party, such introductions can speed up the time it takes to develop the personal relationship so necessary to conducting business successfully.
  • Networking and relationship building can be crucial to long-term business success.
  • While Jamaicans are outwardly warm and friendly, they often appear standoffish at the initial introduction because they are reserved until they get to know someone.
  • Do not appear overly familiar at the initial greeting.
  • Socializing is an important part of developing a relationship.
  • Status is respected in Jamaica. It is quite common to hear someone referred to as "bossman" or "bosswoman" when the person addressing them is not an employee.
  • Jamaicans can be direct communicators and are not afraid to say what they think.
  • They expect others to be equally direct.
  • At the same time, they value tact and sensitivity and dislike overt aggression.
  • They will politely tell you what they think, even if they disagree with what you have said.
  • They value logic and linear thinking.
  • It is imperative to show deference and respect to those in positions of authority.
  • When dealing with people at the same level, communication can be more informal.
  • Jamaicans stand very close when conversing.
  • A man may touch the arm or shoulder of another man, or even finger his lapel while speaking.
Business Meeting Etiquette
  • Appointments are necessary and easy to schedule.
  • They should be about 2 weeks in advance if travelling from abroad.
  • Confirm the meeting, by telephone, a few days in advance.
  • Jamaicans expect punctuality although they are not always successful at arriving on time themselves.
  • Meetings will have a friendly tone even though they can be somewhat formal.
  • Expect some small talk before business is discussed. Let your Jamaican colleagues decide when it is time to speak about business.
  • Presentations should be complete and not conceal potential problems.
Business Negotiations
  • Avoid high-pressure sales tactics. They are seen as confrontational.
  • Relationships are viewed as more important than rules.
  • Business is hierarchical. The person with the most authority makes decisions.
  • Hierarchy is important, although not always apparent. Defer to the person with the most authority, as they are most likely the decision maker.
  • Jamaicans are direct and say what they mean. They appreciate brevity and are not impressed by too much detail.
  • Bargaining is customary and expected. Do not give your best offer at the beginning of negotiations.
  • Don't put all your cards on the table at one time, your Jamaican colleagues won't.
  • Expect to spend a great deal of time reviewing details before a contract is drawn up.

General Business Hours

Most business offices are open 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday. Very few offices are open Saturday.


Most stores open at either 8am or 9am and close at 5pm, though on Saturday they close at noon. Generally shops are closed on Sunday, except pharmacies, which are open every day.