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Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands Investor Immigration Programs

Being under British governance Cayman Islands are known as a steadily top-rated country ranked among the best in the world in terms of government transparency, economic freedom providing generous financial benefits for business throughout the world. British Commonwealth member, the country has been long considered as a leading global offshore financial center and is now a home for more than 20,000 companies and institutions having chosen to settle their offices there.


Permanent Residence through Economic Investment in Cayman Islands offers the following benefits:

  • Have a second passport without renouncing citizenship of your country
  • Option of obtaining permanent residence for a period of 25 years or for life depending on your investment opting
  • Enjoy the high standard of living and access to quality social, health, and educational facilities on the Islands
  • Enjoy the right to reside and work in the Cayman Islands
  • Enjoy travel to all developed nations with flexible and easy visa requirements
  • The resident permit issued by Cayman Islands covers the following family members of the investor:
    1. Spouse
    2. Dependent Children. Children enjoy the right to reside until completion of tertiary education or the attainment of age of 24 years, whichever comes first.

Investor Immigration

The investment programs of the Cayman Islands include:

  • Residency for Persons of Independent Means
  • Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means
  • Certificate of Direct Investment
  • Residency Certificate (Substantial Business Presence)

There are varying conditions which must be satisfied depending on which investment immigration program you apply under.


Residency for Persons of Independent Means

There are a number of options for foreign nationals simply wishing to have the right to reside in the Cayman Islands. In particular, one can apply to the Chief Immigration Officer for a Residency Certificate which is valid for 25 years and is renewable.

In Grand Cayman, proof of an annual income of at least KYD$120,000 without the need to be engaged in employment in the Cayman Islands is required and an investment of KYD$500,000 (of which KYD$250,000 must be in developed real estate). The remaining KYD$250,000 must be invested in a company or property, and simply holding assets with a broker or monies in a local bank account (while encouraged) does not count for these purposes. Investing in a local business, or even one which has shares publicly traded such as Caribbean Utilities or Cayman National Bank, can count. Most often, applicants will simply buy a substantial home and immediately meet the requirement. However, it is entirely permissible for an applicant to buy two KYD$250,000 investment properties and live in one and rent the other, or alternatively live in rental accommodation and rent out both. Being a landlord of up to two rental units requires no licensing, and the income counts towards the required financial standing. There is presently no need to actually invest the full amount – acquiring KYD$500,000 of property with a mortgage on (for example) 80% is presently permissible. As long as at least KYD$250,000 is in developed real estate, the balance can be in any local business and/or any developed or undeveloped real estate.

The process of applying for a Residency Certificate is relatively straightforward and permission can usually be granted within six weeks of application. Legal fees for this process are unlikely to exceed US$2,500.

There are alternatives that do not require an actual investment in a property. For example, starting a company engaged in exempted business (i.e., as an agent for overseas operations) and then hiring yourself as a principal on a work permit can make you resident without having to buy property, and has the advantage of permitting you to work. Such a solution generally takes about six weeks for qualified applicants and the legal fees for that (including incorporation, trade and business licensing and work permits) would likely be closer to US$15,000.

To become resident in Little Cayman or Cayman Brac, proof of an annual income of KYD$75,000 without the need to be employed in the Cayman Islands is required as well as an investment of KYD$250,000 locally, of which at least KYD$125,000 must be in developed residential real estate.

Whichever island is to become your home, there is a one-time fee payable on grant of KYD$20,000.



Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means

This is the ultimate permission which can grant Permanent Residence with the Right to Work based on investment, rather than having to wait for the usual eight years before becoming eligible to apply, subject to a stringent points system, for Permanent Residency. And unlike Residency for Persons of Independent Means, this option does not expire and qualifies the holder (upon certain criteria being met) to become eligible for naturalization as a British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC) once they have been resident in Cayman for five years. Once naturalized, they are entitled to a BOTC passport, which upon successful application, they can become a full British Citizen without the need to surrender any existing citizenship. Finally, once a person has been a BOTC citizen for five years they can apply to become Caymanian.

In order to qualify for the certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means, applicants will be required to have invested a minimum of KYD$1,600,000 in developed real estate and possess sufficient financial resources to maintain themselves and their dependents. An applicant will also need to demonstrate that he/she and their dependents are in good physical health and of good character. The number of these types of certificates is restricted to an annual quota of 250 set by the Governor. The application fee is KYD$500 with a further KYD$100,000 due upon grant and an additional KYD$1,000 payable per dependent.

The right to work in an approved occupation can be gained subsequently, upon application to the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board, with an annual fee thereafter payable, equivalent to a Work Permit fee, for as long as employment is maintained, or the individual becomes a Caymanian.


Certificate of Direct Investment

Wealthy individuals who are in a position to invest a substantial sum in an employment generating business or businesses in the Cayman Islands may wish to participate in an incentive program intended to attract investors and their dependents.

Such persons may, provided they can demonstrate a personal net worth of in excess of KYD$6,000,000 and an investment (or in some cases, imminent investment) of a minimum of KYD$1,000,000 in an employment generating business (or businesses) on the Island, apply to the Chief Immigration Officer for a Certificate of Direct Investment.

Approval-in-Principle Certificates which are valid for six months are available prior to applying for a full certificate. Full certificates are valid for 25 years and are renewable on application, at the discretion of the Chief Immigration Officer. Such a certificate entitles the holder to reside in the Cayman Islands and to work in the business or businesses in which the holder has invested.

The spouse and dependent children (where applicable) of the holder of a Certificate of Direct Investment will, on successful application, be granted a Direct Investment Holder's (Dependent's) Certificate, generally permitting them to reside in the Islands for the duration of that certificate. The application fee is KYD$1,000 with a further KYD$20,000 payable on issue of the certificate.


Residency Certificate (Substantial Business Presence)

A Residency Certificate (Substantial Business Presence) is available to persons who either own at least a 10% share in an approved category of business or will be employed in a senior management capacity within such a business. In each case, the business must have a substantial presence in the Cayman Islands. It is designed and intended to be less onerous than the more established option of a Certificate of Direct Investment and is not limited to owners of the business.

An Approval-in-Principle Certificate, valid for six months and renewable at the discretion of the Chief Immigration Officer, is available to individuals who have not yet met either of the requirements but who nevertheless propose to meet them within the six-month validity period. Holders of either the Approval-in-Principle Certificate or the Residency Certificate (Substantial Business Presence) are entitled to reside in the Cayman Islands and work in the business in which they are an owner or are employed in a senior management capacity.

Approved categories of business are: 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 administration, and any company registered as an exempted company under section 164 of the Companies Law (2011 Revision). It is expected that people in these positions would fill a senior management capacity and therefore ordinarily attract an annual work permit fee of KYD$20,925 or above.

Provided the Chief Immigration Officer is satisfied that the applicant and any spouse have clean criminal records and that they and any dependents are in good health and possess adequate health insurance, as well as fulfilling the other requirements, then the applicant will be issued a 25-year Residency Certificate. A grant fee of KYD$5,000 is due on issuance, with a further KYD$1,000 payable in respect to each approved dependent. In addition, Certificate holders are required to pay an annual fee equivalent to that payable by a work permit holder in the same occupation.



Life in the Cayman Islands

About
The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory in the western Caribbean Sea, and considered part of the Greater Antilles. Beautiful coral reefs and outstandingly clear waters have made this island group a favorite destination of divers. First sited by Christopher Columbus, the islands have become a major international financial center due to no corporate or income tax on money earned outside of its territory.

People
The population is approximately 61,000, representing a mix of more than 100 nationalities. Out of that number, about half are of Caymanian descent. About 60% of the population is of mixed race, mostly mixed African-Caucasian. The islands are almost exclusively Christian, with large numbers of Baptists, Presbyterians and Catholics, but also hosts Jewish, Muslim and Hindu communities.

Language
The official language of the Cayman Islands is English.

Climate
The Cayman Islands has a tropical marine climate, with a wet season of warm, rainy summers (May to October) and a dry season of relatively hot winters (November to April).

Capital
George Town, situated on Grand Cayman island, is the capital and largest city in the Cayman Islands, with a population of about 30,000. It is the heart of the Cayman Islands financial services industry, the home of the Caymanian government offices, and a popular port of call for Caribbean cruise ships. George Town's famous Seven Mile Beach is a long crescent of coral-sand beach extending up to the West Bay region of Grand Cayman and is the most popular and populated area for tourists on the island.

Time
Eastern Standard Time UTC-5:00.

Economy
With an average income of around KYD$47,000, Caymanians have the highest standard of living in the Caribbean; its GDP per capita is the 14th highest in the world. The islands print their own currency, the Cayman Islands dollar (KYD), which is pegged to the US dollar at 1.227 USD to 1 KYD. The government's primary source of income is an annual licensing fee paid by offshore corporations. With no direct taxation, the islands are a thriving offshore financial center, and have the fifth largest banking sector in the world, with assets equal to 1/15 of the $30 trillion total. The Cayman Islands boasts almost 300 banks and leading global financial institutions, accountancy practices and offshore law firms. A stock exchange was opened in 1997. The economy is also fueled by tourism, shipping and real estate.

How to get there?
Owen Roberts International Airport is near George Town on Grand Cayman and is the main airport. It's about a 65-minute flight from Miami, Florida, and is served by a number of international airlines flying to destinations in the Caribbean, North America, Central America and Europe.

Will I be liable to any taxes in the Cayman Islands?
There is no income tax, capital gains tax or corporation tax on money earned outside its territory, including interest or dividends earned on investments.