Immigration and Residency in the Cayman Islands

7 May, 2018


The Cayman Islands is a beautiful archipelago which maintains its rich culture and heritage, while simultaneously ranking within the top ten largest financial centres in the world. As an overseas British Overseas Territory and tax-neutral jurisdiction, Cayman also boasts a strong commitment to the rule of law, world-class health and educational facilities, quality lifestyle choices and excellent transportation links with the USA, Canada and Europe. Foreign investors are able to invest in real estate for the purposes of enjoying a vacation home themselves or to rent to third parties. No express permission is required for foreign investors to purchase real estate and owners are entitled to enter the Cayman Islands to stay for up to six months in an annual period, without the need for specific immigration permission. Therefore, it is not surprising that Cayman attracts international investment as well as those wishing to leave their home jurisdiction to obtain Cayman residency which, in certain cases, can also lead to an eventual grant of Caymanian status and British citizenship. 

The Cayman Islands immigration regime is specifically designed to boost the economy and attract investment. As such, there are various options available to persons seeking residency. 

For those who are seeking to become legally resident on the basis of a real estate purchase, there are two options.



Persons who invest a minimum of $2,000,000 KYD in developed real estate may apply for a Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means. Once granted, a holder has the right to reside indefinitely in the Cayman Islands with the additional benefit that the permission holder and his spouse can also apply for the right to work in a particular occupation. As the certificate is granted indefinitely, it also qualifies a holder to become eligible to apply for naturalisation as a British Overseas Territry Citizen (‘BOTC’) once they have been legally and ordinarily resident for 5 years. If naturalisation is granted, it may allow the subsequent benefit of becoming a full British citizen with the ability to apply to become Caymanian. 

The criteria to obtain a Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means are detailed in Table 1. Please click on the PDF link below to download and view Table 1.



This facility is for persons who wish to reside in the Cayman Islands without the right to work and as such, is ideally suited to retirees. Successful applications are granted for an initial duration of twenty five years but can be extended at the discretion of the Chief Immigration Officer. The criteria which applicants must satisfy, include a prescribed investment in real estate and that financial standing requirements be met. Details of these requirements can be found in Table 1. Please click the PDF link below to download Table 1.

It is also possible to obtain residency in the Cayman Islands via avenues which do not require immediate real estate investment but instead require business investment.



This option is for persons who have invested in (or wish to invest in) and have substantial management control of, a licensed employment generating business in Cayman. Applicants must demonstrate a track record in business and specific knowledge relevant to carry on the business.  They must also be able to make an investment of $1,000,000 KYD in either a pre-exisiting or new business(es) in Cayman. If successful, this certificate will be granted for twenty five years, renewable at the discretion of the Chief Immigration Officer.

Click the PDF link below to download further details.



This facility is for persons who invest in, or who are employed in a senior management capacity, within an approved category of business in Cayman. If an application is successful, applicants are granted residence for twenty five years. This entitles them to reside and to work in the business in which they are an owner or employed in a senior management capacity. The Certificate is also renewable at the discretion of the Chief Immigration Officer.

Click the PDF link below to download further details.

Alternatively, for people who wish to become familiar with life in Cayman before committing to substantial real estate or business investment, it is possible to become legally resident in Cayman with the right to work under the work permit regime or by taking employment with the Cayman Islands Government. A person who has been legally and ordinarily resident in the Islands for a period of at least eight years (but not more than nine years) under the foregoing schemes, may apply for a grant of permanent residency. The cost associated with this application depends upon the salary of the applicant and also requires the payment of fees which are equivalent to work permit fees. The application will be assessed on the basis of a points system whereby applicants are graded on their occupation, education and training, experience, local investments, financial stability and contributions to the community. They will also be awarded points for demographic diversity, age distribution, Caymanian connections and knowledge of Caymanian history and culture. Applicants may lose points for things like criminal convictions or health issues. To be successful, applicants must score one hundred and ten out of a possible two hundred and fifteen points.

This briefing is intended to provide an overview of the different options for residency only. It is not a substitute for legal advice, nor is it legal opinion and should not be taken as such. It is recommended that due to the complexity of the immigration system that persons seek specific legal advice based upon their personal circumstances and requirements. Our specialist attorneys are able to provide advice and ancillary services such as corporate services and conveyancing upon request. Please contact our firm for further information at 


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