Reasons for holding onto immigration white card

| 20/06/2018

What is the purpose of the ‘retain’ portion of the white card immigration form I have to fill in when entering the Cayman Islands by plane, being the part I then must keep with my passport and re-present to immigration when leaving the Cayman Islands? What happens if I lose it? Can’t the immigration department rely on computer records in this day and age?

Cayman National Bank

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Auntie’s answer: While the white disembarkation and embarkation card does seem a low-tech tool in a high-tech world, a Department of Immigration official explained why this form remains necessary.

The departure portion of the card is used as a “source document in the event of system failures/discrepancies, or cases encountered requiring material evidence to be produced during the course of an investigation”. Having a hard copy backup doesn’t seem unreasonable, though it is sometimes a challenge to hang on to the card.

However, there is no need to panic if you do misplace it. While the failure to complete and hand in the card to an immigration officer is considered an offence under Section 71(1) of the Immigration Law (2015 Revision), there are no penalties for losing it. If that happens, you will simply be asked to complete another one, the official added. Upon departure, airlines collect the card at check-in on behalf of the department.

To your last point about relying on computer records, you will probably be pleased to hear that the department is “exploring technological interventions to progress towards removing the need for departure cards to be retained in the near future”.

I cannot tell you the timeline for this change, but we can hope this happens sooner rather than later.


Category: Ask Auntie, Immigration Questions

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Its a bit of a throwback to a more quaint time, the issuance of the immigration’ Thou Shalt Not Pass’ white card on departure , when most jurisdictions have abolished the burden of paper record keeping. Most will recall the obligation to have to do it in the U.S. on departure , with the B1-B2 visa and immigration form, the bottom stub you were issued with, to hand in to the airline. The golden days of air travel. Bless them…