Can an expat seaman live permanently in Cayman?

| 27/05/2019
Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

I’m a British national working on a ship with three months onboard and three at home. I have a place on island that I want to move permanently into. While I can stay for three months on a visitor visa (and I believe six at the discretion of the immigration officer), is there any sort of longer-term temporary visa (I’m fairly sure I would not be classed as a person of independent means) or a particular visa for my vocation? My job is such that I have to work onboard a ship, I’m not qualified for anything else so is there any form of PR for non-super rich people?

Auntie’s answer: Surprisingly (at least I was surprised), this is not the first question I have received from a non-Caymanian seaman inquiring about living permanently in Cayman. The other query came from the spouse of a Caymanian, however, so your situation is different.

You are right that under the Immigration Law (2015 Revision), anyone who is not a prohibited migrant may be given permission to stay as a visitor for up to six months, with possible extensions at the discretion of the chief immigration officer.

However, it doesn’t look like there is a category under which you would be eligible to live here permanently. A Department of Immigration official explained that under the Immigration (Landing of Persons) Directions, 2014 a visitor can be granted permission to stay for up to six months at a time if he or she can show proof of ownership of property in the Cayman Islands along with the financial means to support themselves over that time, without the need to work.

The official outlined the means-related categories under which people can apply for permanent residency (as opposed to legally residing in Cayman for more than eight years, gaining a Residency and Employment Rights Certificate (RERC) as the spouse of a Caymanian and being granted an RERC as the spouse of someone who holds PR). These categories cover people of independent means (which is not the same as having the financial means to stay for six months as described above) including wealthy retirees, those who have invested a minimum of $2 million in developed real estate and those who have invested a specified minimum amount in a “licensed employment generating business”

It doesn’t seem there is a way for you to qualify to live here permanently under your present circumstances.

The laws mentioned above can be found on the CNS Library

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Category: Ask Auntie, Immigration Questions

Comments (8)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Everyone, im the person asking, thanks for all of your answers and especially Auntie for asking Immigration. While the whole Miami thing seems to work, as 16:14 says, its not necessarily the right thing to do.
    Thanks again, the question has been answered nicely by everyone.
    Oh, 11:26, i do intend to spend as I have to renovate in 2020. 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    Not quite the case Auntie. Section 53(1)(c) of the Immigration (Transition) Law (which exempts the crew of vessels from having to have work permits) has been used for many years by aircrew to live here without any permissions. It is simply a question of interpretation, and officialdom has interpreted it to let some people live here for decades. Also, Immigration has openly been allowing property owners to live here, as long as they take a trip off Island every 6 months. A cabinet direction requires them to admit any property owner for 6 months each time they arrive.

    Please investigate. This stuff really could not be made up.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t see anything wrong with allowing visitors who own property here to stay for 6 months. They provide great benefits to the economy, they may even be spending more money than local residents per capita. And the longer they stay the more of their dollars we receive.

      • Anonymous says:

        6 months in a year, fine. 6 months, then a day away, then 6 months etc., then they are criminals and fraudsters simply by telling immigration they are visiting. They are not visitors. They live here without having to comply with the requirements.

  3. Bin there, dun that says:

    Some people spend their lives doing exactly that: stay for six months, leave the Islands, return at a later date and repeat the process. Some simply go to Miami for a weekend and come straight back. All perfectly legal.

    It used to be that by buying property a person could establish domicile and legitimately claim the Cayman Islands as their place of residence by staying the permitted six months and not living anywhere else in between. This works for the purposes of the British Nationality Act with regard to applying for naturalisation but has now largely been circumvented by local legislation.

    • Anonymous says:

      You claim it is legal because it is done in full view of the authorities. Sure, they permit it. It happens frequently. That does not mean it is OK, or is even legal, but hey, we don’t do accountability here.

    • StopTheCrime says:

      “Some simply go to Miami for a weekend and come straight back. All perfectly legal.”

      I thought it was only 6 months out of any given year. Right?