PR applicant unsure if can leave island

| 25/08/2016

As there is such a long list of PR applications still waiting to be reviewed by immigration, my questions to you is, if my application is pending with immigration, do I need to be on island until I get an answer or can I leave the island while it is pending and if so, how long can I be off island for?

Auntie’s answer: Yes, you can leave the island while you are waiting for your application for permanent residency to be decided. And that is a very good thing because, let’s face it, I don’t think anyone can say how long it will take to clear that ever-increasing backlog of applications.

But anyway, there are rules for how long you can be away. As an immigration official pointed out, you have to remain “legal and ordinarily resident”, which is defined under the Immigration Law (2015 Revision) as “uninterrupted voluntary physical presence in the Islands for a period of time without legal impediment”.

The law then specifies that absences abroad of six consecutive months or less for education, health, vacation or business count as residence. If you are away for more than six consecutive months but less than one year, that “shall raise the presumption that there has been a break in residence”. Finally, if you are abroad for 12 consecutive months or more that “shall constitute a break in residence”.

The official noted that if an applicant for PR leaves the island for a period of time, the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board or the chief immigration officer (CIO) would determine if he or she has been legal and ordinarily resident according to the definitions listed above. In addition, under Section 39 of the law if there are any questions about whether the applicant was properly resident, the board or CIO will decide the issue.

Aside from all that, I hope your application is reviewed sometime in the foreseeable future.


Category: Ask Auntie, Immigration Questions

Comments (4)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t leaving Cayman for an extended period if not for business, education or vacation inconsistent with claiming Cayman to be your home such that an applicant should have a permanent right to remain?

  2. Anonymous says:

    So, if a PR applicant leaves the island, say for 6 months, assumption is that person must have left the job they were employed in. Would that matter towards points in the employment category, whereby the candidate would then be granted 0 points because they would not be employed at the time the application is heard? Or would the points in that category be granted on the basis of the employment at the time of the application.

    • I'm on the list too says:

      I think the easy answer is…no one knows for sure, because so much seems open to interpretation and clarification. Until a good number of cases have been heard and precedents have been set, I don’t think we’ll know whether they will consider only your application at the time of submission, or whether subsequent changes to such things as employment etc will be used instead.

    • Anonymous says:

      And there you have but one of the many issues with the system.