How long can a non-resident homeowner stay in Cayman?

| 29/07/2019

We have purchased property in Cayman and want to build and live in our home hopefully within 8-9 years. Without residency or citizenship, what is the maximum length of time we can live in our home? When can we return? Have the amounts gone up yet to apply for residency? What is citizenship? Would any employer hire someone at 64 years old and pay for their work permit?

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

Auntie’s answer: You have packed quite a few questions in there and I will address them one by one in order. I would also like to note the help of Customs and Border Control.

A visitor who owns property, as opposed to “raw land”, can come here and live in that home for up to six months at a time. However, to do so, the owner must provide proof that they can financially support themselves and any accompanying dependents over that half year without the need to work.

As for when the owner would be allowed to return to Cayman after the six months here, the answer is not as straightforward. Every case like this is viewed separately on its own merits, looking at such things as whether the person is in Cayman strictly as a tourist/visitor and again taking into account their financial situation.

A CBC official explained, however, that the Customs and Border Control Law, 2018 does not contain any provision specifying how long a visitor must remain off-island before returning after a six-month stay, adding, “The period for which a visitor is landed is determined upon arrival by the landing officer and is based on facts/materials provided to the officer. Financial standing does not ensure landing.”

The relevant part of the law, Section 95(1), also says that a CBC officer may require that the visitor has a plane ticket to an onward destination.

One other option available is if you qualify for a Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means which, judging from your questions, I would guess doesn’t apply to you. But, just in case, Sections 41-46 of the Immigration (Transition) Law, 2018 cover that process.

Moving on to your next question, according to Schedule 1 of the Immigration Regulations (2018 Revision) it costs $1,000 to apply for a Residency and Employment Rights Certificate and thus permanent residency, based on being legally and ordinarily resident in the Cayman Islands for eight years. The issuing fee and yearly renewal of the certificate are based on the person’s annual income, which is detailed in the schedule.

You also asked about citizenship, which means being granted Caymanian status. You can find details on the process to attain that status in this earlier column. But to summarise: a year after being granted permanent residency, you can apply to be naturalised as a British Overseas Territory Citizen. Five years after that — or once you have resided in Cayman for 15 years, whichever comes first — you would be eligible to apply for Caymanian status.

Finally, I can’t say whether an employer would be willing to apply for a work permit for a 64-year-old; that decision depends on a whole range of factors. But I can tell you that there is no mandatory retirement age in the private sector, so on a purely legal basis you should be eligible to be hired.

The laws mentioned above can be found on the CNS Library

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Category: Ask Auntie, Immigration Questions

Comments (18)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Just come for a month every 2-3 months. Cayman is boring after a month. Rent it the rest of the time and pay your travel, mortgage and insurance.

  2. Norman says:

    I don’t think Auntie fully answered the question.
    Until they have lived in the Cayman Islands as residents for at least 8 years they don’t qualify for the $1,000 permanent residence.
    So their choice would be the 25 year semi-permanent residency that costs $25,000 I believe or the $100,000 fully permanent residency. There are other qualifications needed too.

    To answer those who seem to think that no foreigners should be allowed buy scarce land.

    Let’s assume your dreams come true. Would you be able to buy a waterfront condo on 7 mile beach? How about a 6,000 sq.ft. home in Vista del Mar?

    Let’s say these homes were abandoned by the owners as unsellable and you just took it for nothing. Could you even afford the maintenance costs?

    There are in fact thousands of acres to build you a home at a reasonable price. No one has taken anything from you.

    Every person who lives here without working, either as a short or long term tourist is spending money in local stores and paying the taxes that enable your child to have free schooling.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Now let me see if I understand this correctly…the people who originally owned the land were Caymanians…they sold it at some point to non-Caymanians….how are these Non-Caymanians walking into our Country (yes I am Caymanian) and ‘taking’ everything. My Daddy never inherited anything to pass down to me so if they’re now giving it away…- I want some !

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians like to blame satan for tempting you to do wrong, right?

      Of course any Caymanian would be tempted at the opportunity to sell their land at an inflated price.

      Since we aren’t communist, we can’t discriminate and ban the sale of private property.

      I do have to place blame on those giving into the temptation to sell out and on our system that allows this to happen, though. If you aren’t making at least 4-5x minimum wage you as a Caymanian will probably rent for the rest of your life.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not sure which way to vote on your comment 2.33pm – You appear to be telling 8.53 am off on the one hand then arguing in his/her favour on the other – I’ll take it that you’re a ‘don’t know’…. At the end of the day… facts are facts – whichever way you want to paint it and as a Caymanian, he/she seems to be saying to the other posters who are bemoaning the sales of Caymanian land ‘you cannot have your cake and eat it’.

    • Norman says:

      They didn’t walk into the country and took anything. They PAID for anything they bought. And paid a 10% stamp duty to do so.

      Let’s say they buy a $1 million condo. That’s $100,000 in taxes for the government to spend on Caymanians that another Caymanian didn’t have to pay.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Auntie, citizenship and being Caymanian are two different and unrelated things.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “We have purchased property in Cayman and want to build and live in our home hopefully within 8-9 years”

    As a young born and raised Caymanian this is disheartening.. you don’t even want to live here full time like me! Foreigners buying up our limited land and inflating the prices to match their CEO salary. Meanwhile I’m quite sure I’ll still be struggling to rent a studio (probably from them) despite making more than double the local minimum wage.


    • Anonymous says:

      You should be happy you live in such a place.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m sure you’d love for me to walk into your country guns blazing and take everything from under your feet too.

        and then going tell me I should be happy I live here. I was born here. Were you?

        • Anonymous says:

          Guns blazing?

        • Norman says:

          To repeat. No one walked into our country and took things, either with or without guns blazing.
          No person, foreign or local, can buy anything without paying for it.

          To be a Caymanian living in the Cayman Islands is a wonderful thing. Great employment opportunities for those prepared to work. No taxes on your earnings but free education for your children, free policing and roads.

          In return we pay a high cost of living and import duties. But not nearly enough to cover the money the government spends. The difference comes from taxes on foreigners. Such as work permit fees and stamp duty on real estate.

          50% pf the GDP of Grand Cayman comes from tourism. And that tourism earns tremendous money for the government in tourist taxes.

          Get rid of foreigners? Be careful what you wish for.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or, you could read it again and reevaluate what is being said.

      I’m guessing the person is no CEO based on their questions.

      I’m also guessing they’d like to live here all the time, but know they can’t without jumping through some hoops. Hence the question about how long can they stay.

      I get the point about foreigners buying up land etc, but this happens all over the world. Ask Canadians in Vancouver, or Brits in London, or many other places. It’s not just a Cayman issue.

      You want to rail against a system, then look at local corruption, monopolies in the hands of several local families and the cost of living here that is now beyond ridiculous.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are a vast number of lots for sale and numerous modest houses. Most are of no interest to foreigners. However, $12/hr. is going to put you at the very lowest end of the market.

    • Anonymous says:

      You misread the quote. They want to move here in the next 8 to 9 years, they didn’t say they only want to live here for only 8 to 9 years.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are tons of residential lots and houses for sale, but $12 an hour isn’t going to get you a house of your own anywhere. The only solution is to work hard and make more money. Get up to $18 and you’re getting in the ballpark.