Puzzled by naturalisation and Caymanian status

| 19/02/2018

I am confused about what is required to apply for naturalisation versus status in Cayman. What is the difference between the two, which comes first, and what is the criteria to apply for either?

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian statusAuntie’s answer: Similar queries have popped up from time to time and I definitely expect to receive more questions on this subject. And I feel confident in saying that this is much more a reflection on how confusing the issue is than on anybody’s ability to understand how immigration works here.

I will offer quick answers to your questions, but for anyone who would like more details, please refer to this previous column on Naturalisation and applying for Caymanian status.

You need to be naturalised before you can apply for Caymanian status. You can apply for naturalisation one year after being granted permanent residency. You can apply for status after being legally resident in Cayman for 15 years, or five years after being naturalised, whichever comes first.

Once you are naturalised you can apply for a Caymanian passport. But, it is important to understand, that document does not confer the right to be Caymanian; you still need to apply for Caymanian status after the requisite time of residence.

The specifics of applying for Caymanian status can be found here on the Department of Immigration website.

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Category: Ask Auntie, Immigration Questions

Comments (20)

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  1. Diogenes Camilo Benavidez says:

    So if I’ve been granted botc naturalization but do not have Have Caymanian status i cannot hold a Cayman passport but can still have my UK passport??

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m still confused as to what the process is for people married to Caymanians. They get some type of residency and then apply for the right, do they then wait a year to get naturalized and then apply for a BOTC passport? Seems way too confusing

    • Anonymous says:

      They can apply to become Caymanian after they have been married to a Caymanian for 7 years. When they have been Caymanian for 1 year they can apply to be Naturalized.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Application for Naturalisation as a British Overseas Territories Citizen requires lengthy application, interview, and re-qualification tests supported by documents and references. The appointment to review these applications for submission, interview, and pay the fee, can take up to a year to schedule via an obstructive Assistant to the Deputy Governor’s Office. BOTC allows a recipient to then apply for a CI Passport travel document if they want one. These Recipients are not Caymanian, and cannot vote until they apply for Caymanian Status after re-qualifying and waiting minimum 15 years. Technically they shouldn’t be in the Caymanian line at the Airport. The Immigration Stamp in the Passport, and corresponding record in the Immigration System is what counts. The male spouse has to apply before his dependent chattels, creating all kinds of problems. Caymanian Status is yet another full application appointment via the same obstructive gatekeeper with references and supporting documents, and repeal of chattel rights. Once Caymanian Status is achieved, the stamp in Passport can be amended and Recipient can register to vote if they want. They can also apply for full UK Citizenship. Caymanian Kids under 18 have to re-apply on their 18th birthday or they can forfeit their Status (see “Ghost Caymanians”).

    Most importantly: Cayman Status = Caymanian.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m not Caymanian but I have The “Right to be” anytime I want

  5. Darveson says:

    It is extremely confusing. I applied for right to be Caymanian due to parents being Caymanian. Do I need to be naturalized also or am in the middle between naturalized and applying for status? When do I apply for Cayman passport? When do I apply for British passport? I was told one had to wait a year after being granted status to apply for passport?

    • Anonymous says:

      One year after being granted status you can apply to be naturalized (unless you have already been a Permanent resident for at least a year) provided you have lived in Cayman for at least 5 years. Once you have been Naturalized you can apply for a Cayman Passport and for Registration as a British Citizen. Once you are a British Citizen, you can apply for a British Passport.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Auntie – but it is even more complicated than that. You have set out how someone becomes Caymanian on the grounds of residence – however there are many thousands of Caymanians who have become Caymanian via other means and are not naturalized.

    These include Cabinet Status grant recipients, many of their children, many persons who became Caymanian by entitlement, many persons who have “continuation” and anyone who became Caymanian through marriage to a Caymanian.

    The result is that we now have thousands of Caymanians who do not have (and cannot get) Cayman Passports.

    Hundreds of persons who are married to Caymanians are being forced to wait for a minimum of one year after they themselves become Caymanian before they are even able to apply for Naturalisation.

    Naturalization gives you a citizenship which by itself (unless obtained by Registration by Entitlement) gives no right to even be in the Cayman Islands. To emphasize how ridiculous this is becoming, there are even prohibited immigrants with Cayman Islands Passports and yet they are not allowed to even visit the Cayman Islands.

    There are also large numbers of Caymanians who (due to criminal histories/absences etc.) are ineligible to become naturalized.

    Having the Right to be Caymanian (formerly known as status) is what makes someone Caymanian. It is now (given relatively recent actions by legislators) often unrelated to citizenship.

    Of course, it is all terribly convoluted and confusing and has needed to be fixed for more than a decade. We can always hope something will be done.

    • Anonymous says:

      Naturalisation as British Overseas Territory Citizen is managed via the Deputy Governor’s Office, because the Cayman Islands is a Dependent Territory of the UK. The British Passport for the Cayman Islands Territory is a biometric travel document you can apply for if you qualify. The biometric passports are vetted and printed from the UK. The local Immigration stamp and record are what matter on re-entry to the Cayman Islands.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Can you please explain the benefits of naturalisation? Does achieving this status only confer a Caymanian Passport? Is there any other reason to do it?
    If we then have a Caymanian passport, does that mean we are free to come and go within the Cayman Islands for the duration of the validity of that passport, even if we are no longer permanently resident here?

    • Anonymous says:

      Having a Cayman Passport provides no inherent right to remain in the Cayman Islands, and in some cases may not even provide a right to visit.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s a travel document that you could theoretically use to avoid reciprocity fees in South America or Europe, but the stamp in the Passport and the CI Immigration record will be what matters on entry to the Cayman Islands.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Aunty – I am Caymanian and have the certificate & letter of grant but I have not been naturalised.
    I’m also a registered voter. Rules there agree I do not have to be naturalised.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is true you do not, but you will never be able to have a Cayman Passport.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why would I want a Cayman Passport when I already have a British one!!

        • Anonymous says:

          Because until you have a Cayman Passport various elements of Government will treat you as an expat, including immigration who require you to complete landing forms and keep a slip in your passport which says on it it represents your right to be in the Cayman Islands, even though you are Caymanian!

          • Anonymous says:

            Getting a free stamp in my British passport every 10 years (when I get my passport renewed) staying I’m Caymanian & filling out a form every time I return to Cayman is not exactly onerous. Why pay to be naturalised & pay for another passport.
            Stupid system.
            I’m still considered an expat due to my accent – regardless of what passport(s) I carry.

            • Anonymous says:

              Sure, but that is purely as a result of what amounts to state sponsored racism.

          • Anonymous says:

            Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do.

    • Right ya so says:

      Me too.