Jul 04, 2022 Last Updated 8:30 PM, Apr 25, 2022

How will immigration officials determine whether a CARICOM national may become a charge on the public purse?

A CARICOM Member State is entitled to assess on a strict, narrow, case by case basis whether a visiting CARICOM National may become a charge on public funds during his/her stay in the country. An assessment of whether a CARICOM national is likely to become a charge on the public purse may consider whether the national appears to be in a position to support himself during his intended length of stay.  

The Court has indicated that in seeking to make such an assessment it is reasonable for authorities to assess whether the Community national has sufficient funds for the period the visitor intends to stay (as evidenced by his return ticket).  The relevant factors may include cash, credit cards, access to funds, or being hosted in the receiving country.  However, the Court has made it clear that it is not reasonable to require a visiting Community national to show sufficiency of funds for a period of six months if the national does not intend to stay that long. Immigration officials may therefore ask to see the return ticket, as evidence of the intended length of stay. If the national does not have a valid return ticket, the national may be given the opportunity to obtain one. 

Other than the above exceptions which are to be interpreted strictly and narrowly, every CARICOM national is entitled to be admitted to enter a CARICOM country and for his passport to be stamped for six months, regardless of his intended length of visit (in-transit, meeting, visa request or otherwise).  He is also within his rights to extend the duration of his ticket within the six month period if he so desires.

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