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How to Earn Permanent Residency in the Cayman Islands

By Sue Nickason

The Cayman Islands has long been regarded as an international hub for financial services and a preferred locale for luxury Caribbean vacations.

But what this British Overseas territory is increasingly attracting attention for is its permanent residency programs —  and the opportunity to live forever in a tropical paradise.

Globally mobile individuals have long sought places such as the Cayman Islands to achieve residency status but certainly the affairs of 2020 have accelerated that search.

A global pandemic, rising wealth taxes, growing income insecurity and social discord has prompted many individuals to seek refuge in jurisdictions which offer low or no tax, sound economic fundamentals, a high standard of living and social cohesion.

Here are five attributes in particular that are prompting individuals to establish permanent residency in the Cayman Islands.

Ease of ownership

There are no restrictions on foreign ownership of property in the Cayman Islands and no alien landholding licenses required. 

The Cayman Islands operates the Torrens system of land registration. The registry records all title records and the details of all land ownership information in the Cayman Islands, together with a Registry Map which indicates the boundaries of each individually owned parcel of land. The Government of the Cayman Islands will pay compensation to any person who suffers a loss due to an error in the Land Register which cannot be rectified. On this basis, obtaining title insurance is generally considered unnecessary in the Cayman Islands.

No direct taxes

There are no corporate, income, capital gains, inheritance, recurring property or sales (VAT) taxes in the Cayman Islands. 

Economic fundamentals

The Cayman Islands has one of the lowest debt to GDP ratios in the world, as well as one of the highest standards of living. Its world-class financial services sector contributes up to 70% of GDP. The territory maintains a Moodys A-3 credit rating and is reputed to have the fifth strongest currency in the world.

High standard of living

Excellent healthcare facilities and schools, modern infrastructure, the best telecommunications system in the Caribbean and one of the lowest crime rates in the world all contribute to a high standard of living and the type of lifestyle ordinarily reserved for the elite in other countries.

Island living

Balmy year-round temperatures and a rich natural environment that encourages year-round participation in a wealth of marine and land-based activities produces an enviable tropical lifestyle for residents of the Cayman Islands. Add in its status as the culinary capital of the Caribbean, a thriving cultural scene and a sophisticated community represented by over 135 nationalities, all located on islands surrounded by a turquoise-colored sea, and it’s easy to see why the Cayman Islands is fast becoming the jurisdiction of choice not only in the Caribbean but across the globe.

These compelling benefits invariably invite the question, “How can I live in the Cayman Islands and become a permanent resident?” For qualified applicants, it’s a straightforward process and one which can ordinarily be executed in a timely and efficient manner. There are two options available for residency by investment through real estate.

1. Investment Certificate for Persons of Independent Means 

This option is valid for 25 years and entitles the holder to reside in the Cayman Islands without the right to work. Applicants must invest a minimum of US$1.2 million, of which at least half must be in developed residential real estate in Grand Cayman. In addition, applicants need to demonstrate a continuous source of annual income of CI$120,000 or open a bank account with a Cayman Islands Monetary Authority-regulated and locally licensed institution and maintain a minimum deposit in the account of at least CI$400,000. In addition, certificate holders must spend a minimum 30 days annually in the Cayman Islands. 

2. Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means 

This provides the holder (and any qualifying dependents) with a lifetime right to reside in the Cayman Islands without the right to work. However, the holder or spouse can apply for a variation to the Certificate in order to obtain the right to work. 

An applicant must invest a minimum of US$2.4 million in developed real estate in the Cayman Islands. There is no specified minimum annual income requirement, but all applicants must be able to demonstrate that their financial resources are sufficient to maintain themselves and their dependents adequately. Certificate holders must spend at least one day a year in the Cayman Islands. 

This option has no expiry date and it offers a path to naturalization as a British Overseas Territories Citizen once the applicant has been legally and ordinarily resident in the Cayman Islands for five years. Naturalization entitles the holder to a British Overseas Territories (Cayman Islands) passport and enables them to apply to register as a full British Citizen and obtain a British passport. In taking this up, there is no obligation to surrender any existing citizenships.  

For both programs, the applicant shall need to demonstrate: 

  • They have not had any criminal convictions 
  • They are in good health
  • They have purchased locally compliant health insurance coverage 
  • They can demonstrate the required financial standing 
  • They have made the prescribed investment in the Cayman Islands 

Provenance Properties, the exclusive affiliate of Christies International Real Estate in the Cayman Islands, can assist RBI applicants in fulfilling their investment requirements by identifying properties which meet the minimum investment criteria and providing exclusive VIP service, proprietary market data, and introductions to local service providers. 

For more, contact them at info@provenanceproperties.com or +1.345.640.7000.

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