Proof of residency when returning to Cayman

| 21/02/2019
Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

As a Caymanian I recently travelled to Jamaica using my British passport on which I encountered resistance as I attempted to check in at the Cayman Airways counter in Kingston. The supervisor immediately asked that I show proof of residency in Cayman in order to board as I have no stamp in the passport to prove that I am a legal resident. I showed my driver’s licence, government ID and voting ID to him, which he said was not proof enough, and explained that there were no issues on previous trips. At this point I was really upset!

He informed me that all Caymanians that travel to Jamaica use two passports, and said I must produce a Cayman passport or show proof of residency or I would not be able to board. I was finally given my boarding pass after calling Immigration in Cayman and being told I would be updated on arrival.

I would like to know if this a normal procedure that I must travel with both passports (CI and British) to Jamaica or must I have this stamp in my passport to show? I assumed a legit passport is enough to travel. What if I produced say, an American passport, would it have been the same line of questioning?”

Auntie’s answer: I approached Cayman Airways to get their take on the situation you faced. I received a response from Fabian Whorms, the airline’s CEO, within 24 hours, and first I want to acknowledge his speedy and comprehensive answer.

Too often I have had to contact people numerous times over lengthy periods and still not been able to get an answer, which I have on occasion noted. (I don’t call out those people as frequently as I could because I figure nobody would be interested in all that complaining.)

Anyway, that is the reason why I want to thank Mr Whorns for getting back to me so quickly this time and for previous questions.

Now to answer your query. The request for you to produce proof of residency in Cayman, is to comply with Department of Immigration (DOI) rules requiring Cayman Airways (and other airlines dealing with returning passengers) that the ticket holder is legally able to “land” here, Mr Whorms explained.

If, for example, you held a British Overseas Territories Citizen (Cayman Islands) passport, that would show you were allowed to travel to Cayman without restriction. In comparison, passengers with other passports would need to demonstrate proof of residency here (by the stamp in the passport that the reader referenced) to be considered a legal resident.

A driver’s licence or government ID do not do the trick since they do not confirm current residency, so airline check-in staff will look for official immigration documentation.

“When travelling to Cayman, the passenger must be either a legal visitor or a legal resident. Airlines have to determine which applies to the passenger, in order to ensure that the various immigration requirements are met,” Mr Whorms said, adding, “It therefore goes without saying, that providing proof of residency in the Cayman Islands would be necessary to determine whether or not the passenger is a visitor”.

On the Entry and Landing Requirements page on the DOI website, it says, “Every person arriving in the Cayman Islands is required to produce for inspection by an immigration officer a passport or some other valid document establishing their identity and nationality or place of permanent residence.”

One final legal point: Section 86(3) of the Customs and Border Control Law, 2018, put very simply, says that it is the duty of a captain of a vessel (which is defined as including both a ship and an aircraft), to ensure passengers are landing with the required documents.

I once faced the same issue as the reader described (and one time was quite enough as I agree it was a very stressful experience) when checking in for an American Airlines flight back to Cayman and I believe this requirement is strictly enforced, though I cannot say why you were not asked to provide proof of residency on previous trips.

To avoid this in the future, Mr Whorms noted that it is best for passengers who have Cayman passports to use those as their “primary travel document” when returning, which may mean you have to carry two passports if you used the other one for the outbound trip; for example, if you also have a US passport and you were travelling to that country.

In addition, he noted, “For residents of the Cayman Islands who travel exclusively on a foreign passport, they will be required to provide proof of their residency status in Cayman and it is therefore best for them to ensure they have an official stamp of such residency” in that passport.

Sounds like good advice.

Send questions to

Recent answers from Auntie (Click here for archives)

Tags: , ,

Category: Ask Auntie, Immigration Questions

Comments (12)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good luck getting immigration to stamp your foreign passport if you have Caymanian Status as a birthright. My husband was told “we have no stamp for that”. I got my status through him (which is under another section of the law) and they stamped my UK passport.

    • Anonymous says:

      The sad reality is that many of our civil servants haven’t got the foggiest idea what they are talking about.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What a mess. As everything else in this country.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Auntie, having a Cayman Passport does not in fact indicate any right to reside in the Cayman Islands. Even a Cayman Passport should have a stamp in it indicating the holder’s right to reside in the Cayman Islands (whether through being Caymanian, a Permanent Resident, a Work Permit holder etc.).

    • Anonymous says:

      This is absolute insanity. One has a Cayman Passport but one does not have a right to reside in Cayman. This place is CRAZY. Why have a Cayman Passport?

  4. Anon says:

    not a new thing. I have both a stamp in my British passport and travel with my Cayman one. Get questions all the time in the US and UK (and Jamaica for that matter). If you had a return ticket out of Cayman, it would not have been as big an issue, but if you were on the final leg or on a one way ticket ending in Cayman, they have to make sure you are actually allowed to land there. Airlines can be fined a huge amount if someone is put on a plane without the proof they are permitted to stay there.

    Simple solution – either get a stamp in your UK passport, or travel with your Cayman one

  5. Anonymous says:

    I only have one passport so i apologize for not knowing the answer- why do you need to travel on your uk passport ? other than if you had a passport from a country that requires certain visa, it doesnt make sense. With the Cayman passport you can go anywhere

    • Anonymous says:

      I am guessing that if the person travelled on their Cayman passport, they would require a Visa to enter Jamaica. Using the UK passport is a quick fix for that issue, but to get back into Cayman you would need your KY passport. Lesson – always travel with both documents.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ummm … need a Visa in your Cayman passport to travel to ( for example) the U.S. & most other countries. If you think you can travel ‘Anywhere’ you will be in for a surprise.

      • Anonymous says:

        A Cayman passport holder needs a waiver not a Visa unless you are reentering US then you need a Visa. For example if you were travelling to Europe and went through Miami then you need a VIsa. It’s better to have the UK passport because you don’t need a Visa. I have two passports so I travel with all two otherwise when I reach Cayman they would give me a time frame to be here.

        • Anonymous says:

          A waiver is for one entry only, so, if you go through the US on your way there, you need another for your way home. I know someone who got taken off a cruise ship at the first port of call after leaving the US for the same reason.

      • Anonymous says:

        thanks. i do not travel, so i did not know.