Residency options in the Cayman Islands for real estate investors

31 Jul 2019

The Cayman Islands are an English-speaking British Overseas Territory in the western Caribbean Sea with no income, property, estate or corporate taxes and no restrictions on foreign ownership of real estate. In addition to being a major offshore financial centre, the territory boasts one of the highest GDPs and standards of living in the world. It is home to a number of high-net-worth individuals and has one of the lowest crime rates in the Caribbean.

For anyone wishing to spend some or all of their time in the Cayman Islands, this guide provides an overview of how to acquire residency by investing in Cayman Islands real estate.

For detailed and bespoke advice, please contact our experts in this area: Sophia Harris, Daniel Altneu or Harvel Grant.

25-Year Residency Certificate (minimum CI$1m investment)

  • This Certificate, which is valid for 25 years and renewable thereafter, entitles the holder (and any qualifying dependants) to reside in the Cayman Islands without the right to work.
  • An applicant must invest a minimum of CI$1,000,000 (US$1,219,513), of which at least CI$500,000 (US$609,757) must be in developed residential real estate AND must either:
    • Demonstrate a continuous source of annual income of CI$120,000 (US$146,342) without the need to engage in gainful employment; OR
    • Open an 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 (US$487,805) in assets.
  • The application fee is CI$500 (US$610), the grant fee is CI$20,000 (US$24,400) and the fees for any dependants are CI$1,000 (US$1,220) per annum per dependant.

Lifetime Permanent Residency (minimum CI$2m investment)

  • This Certificate provides the holder (and any qualifying dependants) with a lifetime grant to reside in the Cayman Islands without the right to work. Unlike the 25-Year Residency Certificate, the holder or spouse can apply to vary this Certificate to obtain the right to work.
  • An applicant must invest a minimum of CI$2,000,000 (US$2,439,024) in developed real estate in the Cayman Islands and there is no specified minimum annual income.
  • Unlike the 25-Year Residency Certificate, this option has no expiry and it qualifies the holder (provided certain other criteria are met) to become eligible to apply for naturalisation as a British Overseas Territories Citizen once they have been legally and ordinarily resident in the Cayman Islands for 5 years.
  • Naturalisation entitles the holder to a British Overseas Territories (Cayman Islands) passport and enables them to apply to register as a full British Citizen (with all the privileges that entails, including obtaining a British passport). There is no obligation to surrender any existing citizenship and once the holder has been a British Overseas Territories Citizen by virtue of their connection with the Cayman Islands for 5 years, they are eligible to become Caymanian.
  • The application fee is CI$500 (US$610), the grant fee is CI$100,000 (US$121,955) and the one-time fee for any dependants payable at the outset is CI$1,000 (US$1,220).

What rights do you have?
A permanent resident can:

  • Invest in local businesses.
  • Own property.
  • Place dependant children in school.
  • Reside year-round in the Cayman Islands.
  • Enter the Cayman Islands without a return ticket.
  • Have dependant children apply for Permanent Residency at the age of 18.
  • Vary their Certificate to add more dependants.
  • Vary their Certificate to obtain the right to work (Option 2 only).
  • Become Naturalised and obtain the Right to be Caymanian (Option 2 only).

A permanent resident cannot:

  • Own and control a local business without additional authorisation.
  • Spend more than 335 days off-island per annum (Option 1).
  • Spend more than 364 days off-island per annum (Option 2).

 

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