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Residency in the Cayman Islands
Boasting low crime rates, first world infrastructure with upmarket commercial and residential developments, modern education facilities and curriculums, first class healthcare, a world renowned financial services centre operating on the EST time zone with professional legal, accounting and banking services together with a wide range of sporting and other entertainment activities including some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world, local and international restaurants offering Caribbean and authentic ethnic cuisine, theatres, clubs and other nightlife and the benefits of living in the sea, sand and sun, the Cayman Islands is arguably the most popular place to live and work in the Caribbean, if not this hemisphere. Suffice to say it offers residents a safe environment in which to live, work and play.
Do you qualify to reside in paradise?
There are several options for residency in the Cayman Islands under the Immigration (Transition) Act, 2018 and Immigration Regulations (2019 Revision) (together the “Act”) which we would be happy to assist you to obtain. These include the following:
1. The Global Citizen Concierge Program
The Global Citizen Concierge Program (GCCP) is a new initiative launched by the Cayman Islands Government, which allows persons who are employed outside of the Cayman Islands with the financial independence to work remotely to relocate and live in the Cayman Islands for up to 24 months. Applicants must provide a letter showing proof of employment with an entity outside of the Cayman Islands stating position, length of employment and annual salary on the company’s letterhead. Applicants must make a minimum annual income of US$100,000 if applying as an individual, US$150,000 annually if applying with an accompanying spouse/civil partner, or US$180,000 annually if applying with an accompanying spouse/civil partner and/or dependent(s). The annual GCCP fee is US$1,469 for two persons, and each additional dependent costs US$500 per annum.
2. Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means
Wealthy retirees and others who wish to live but do not need to work in the Cayman Islands, i.e. being persons who have the means to support themselves without working in Cayman may apply for a Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means. The applicant will need to show that he/she has the requisite required financial standing needed for this Certificate, which is as follows:
- that they have a continuous source of annual income in the amount of no less than one hundred and twenty thousand Cayman Islands dollars, without the need to engage in employment in Cayman, or they have opened an account with a Cayman Islands Monetary Authority-regulated and locally licensed institution, (possessing a Class A licence in accordance with the Banks and Trust Companies Act (2018 Revision) or regulated under the Securities Investments Business Act (2015 Revision)), and maintains a minimum deposit in the account of at least four hundred thousand Cayman Islands dollars in assets; and
- that they have invested the sum of one million Cayman Islands dollars of which at least five hundred thousand Cayman Islands dollars is in developed real estate.
Applicants will also be required to pay a non-refundable administrative filing fee of CI$500.00 when they submit their application and upon the grant of the application will be required to pay a further fee of CI$20,000.00.
The requirements for an applicant for a Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means in the Sister Islands of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are lower, being an annual income of seventy five thousand Cayman Islands dollars or maintenance of a bank account with a minimum deposit in the account of at least four hundred thousand dollars in assets and investment of the sum of five hundred thousand Cayman Islands dollars of which at least two hundred and fifty thousand Cayman Islands dollars is in developed real estate in the Sister Islands.
3. Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means
A person who invests and maintains one million, six hundred thousand Cayman Islands dollars in developed real estate will qualify for a Certificate of Permanent Residence without the right to work under the Act. Applicants must have a clean police record, be in good health, have adequate health insurance and have sufficient financial resources to adequately maintain themselves and their dependents.
4. Certificate of Direct Investment
A person who invests or proposed to invest one million Cayman Islands dollars in a licensed new or existing “employment generating business or businesses” will qualify for a Certificate of Direct Investment. Certificates of Direct Investment are valid for twenty-five years and are renewable on application. In order for a company to meet the definition of an “employment generating business” thirty percent of its employees will need to be Caymanian. The applicant should also exercise substantial management control of the business and must have a substantial business track record or an entrepreneurial background relevant and necessary to the businesses. Such businesses remain subject to the provisions of the Local Companies (Control) Act (2019 Revision) which requires that ordinary companies trading in the local economy be sixty percent owned and controlled by Caymanians unless specifically exempted and licensed in that regard under the Local Companies (Control) Act.
5. Residency Certificate (Substantial Business Presence)
A person who proposes to be resident in the Islands for a minimum of ninety days in each calendar year and who will own at least ten percent of the shares and/or who will be employed in a senior management capacity in a company with a “substantial business presence” as defined in the Act will qualify for a Residency Certificate (Substantial Business Presence). Residency Certificates (Substantial Business Presence) are valid for twenty-five years and are renewable on application.
In order for a company to meet the definition of a “substantial business presence” it will need to establish a physical presence through the purchase or lease of commercial real estate and the employment of at least four employees who will reside in the Islands for a minimum of nine months per calendar year. The following are approved categories for such businesses:
- fund administration;
- brokerage services;
- investment and fund management services;
- investment banking;
- financial trading (including foreign exchange, securities and derivatives);
- captive insurance or reinsurance management services;
- reinsurance underwriting;
- actuarial services;
- insurance claims management;
- family office;
- hedge fund incubation; and
- any company registered as an exempted company under section 164 of the Companies Act (2021 Revision).
6. Permanent Residency
Persons who have been legally and ordinarily resident in the Islands for a period of at least eight years may apply for the right to reside permanently in the Islands. A point system has been established in the Immigration Regulations for the purpose of assessing the suitability of an applicant for permanent residence from which points are awarded to applicants.
The factors in which points may be awarded are as follows:
- Education, Training & Experience;
- Local Investments;
- Financial Stability;
- Community Minded/Integration into the Caymanian Community;
- A History & Culture test;
- Possessing Close Caymanian Connections;
- Demographic and Cultural Diversity; and
- Age Distribution.
A minimum of 110 points is needed for permanent residency to be granted.
This publication is for general guidance and is not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice. Specialist advice should be sought about specific circumstances.
If you would like further information please contact: