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How to Gain Residency in the Cayman Islands through Real Estate Investments

As the world becomes ever more interconnected, the desire for wealthy individuals to acquire the right to reside in a different jurisdiction is stronger than ever.

Making an investment in Cayman Islands real estate is one of the fastest ways to facilitate this ideal and attain residency rights, and eventually citizenship.

The Cayman Islands is a particularly attractive place to obtain an alternative right of residence in order to enjoy the following:

  • An English-speaking British Overseas Territory with one of the highest GDP’s and standards of living in the world
  • Natural beauty with world-class beaches, water sports and scuba diving
  • No restrictions on foreign ownership of real estate
  • Tax neutrality with no income, capital gains, property, inheritance, estate, wealth, sales or corporate taxes
  • Direct accessibility from numerous major cities in the US and Canada
  • Strong rule of law, stable government, cosmopolitan outlook, elite health services and education
  • Safe and secure place to live with one of the lowest crime rates in the Caribbean
  • Able to use Permanent Residence status on account of a real estate investment as a pathway to Cayman and British Citizenship.


Flexible approach for real estate investments in the Cayman Islands

Obtaining residency through a real estate investment in the Cayman Islands is often more financially accessible than people initially assume. Applications are typically approved within 3 months of submission but often much quicker.

The local Government offers a flexible and accommodating approach for investors with the following benefits:

  • Property purchased can be registered in the applicant’s name/in joint names/in the name of a limited liability company for asset protection reasons, which can also facilitate settlement of its shares into a trust.
  • There are no restrictions as to how many properties make up the minimum threshold.
  • Stamp Duty paid on the purchase is included in the minimum threshold.
  • Properties can be rented on short-term or long-term bases.
  • There are no specific residency-by-investment properties, as is often found in other citizenship-by-investment programmes, so applicants have no limitations on their choices.


Options for acquiring Cayman Islands residency by way of a real estate investment

Option 1: Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means

A decade ago, most of the applications with which I assisted were for retirees looking for somewhere idyllic to reside with a slow pace of life. They typically purchased a condo in one of the beachfront complexes and a corresponding 25-year Residency Certificate that did not lead to citizenship nor the ability to seek employment in the Islands (Option 2 below). However, in recent years, there has been a significant shift towards wealthy families with young children acquiring Certificates of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means.

For many, this Certificate is the ultimate option as not only does it provide a holder and spouse with a lifetime grant to reside in Cayman for a minimum investment of US$2.4m in developed real estate, it also gives them both the ability to work and provides the entire family with a pathway to Cayman Islands and British Citizenship without any obligation to surrender existing citizenships. In order to maintain the Certificate, the holder only needs to reside in Cayman for a minimum of 1 day per year although, should the holder and any family members wish to progress to citizenship, the individual residence requirements are greater.

Option 2: Extended (25-Year) Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means

Whilst this option does not provide any right to work nor any pathway to citizenship, it does offer the holder (and any qualifying dependents) a 25-year (renewable) Residency Certificate for a minimum investment of US$1.2m of which at least 50% must be in developed residential real estate.

In the majority of cases, the entire investment is in developed residential real estate, but this option does offer some flexibility in the event the applicant wishes to also purchase land, a pre-construction property and/or make another local investment.

Unlike Option 1, there is an additional ongoing requirement that an applicant must demonstrate either a continuous source of annual income of at least US$147,000 without the need to engage in gainful employment in the Cayman Islands or maintain a deposit of at least US$488,000 held with a Cayman Islands Monetary Authority-regulated and locally licenced institution.

In order to maintain the Certificate, the holder needs to reside in the Cayman Islands for a minimum of 30 days per annum. However, unlike Option 1, should the applicant wish to invest and reside on either of our sister islands, Little Cayman or Cayman Brac, the investment and ongoing requirements are halved.

Author


Daniel Altneu, Managing Associate, Bedell Cristin.

Daniel Altneu is a guest contributor to the Williams2 resource centre and Managing Associate within the International Private Client team at Bedell Cristin.

His practice focuses on advising and assisting HNW and UHNW individuals and families with their acquisition of residency and citizenship, and on relocating business and family offices to the Cayman Islands.

Daniel is a full member of the Investment Migration Council. He was also invited to be UGlobal’s founding Cayman Islands residency-by-investment representative and to be the Cayman Islands’ sole representative on the UGlobal Writers Council.

Legal 500 Caribbean 2023 – Daniel is described as ‘truly a remarkable attorney’ with ‘incredible care and attention to clients’ and he is ‘especially highly regarded for his expertise in residency  and high-net-worth immigration law’.

For further information or bespoke advice about any matters concerning residency, citizenship and inward investment in the Cayman Islands, please do not hesitate to him.

daniel.altneu@bedellcristin.com | +1 345 949 0488

About Bedell Cristin

As one of the only true full-service law firms in the Cayman Islands, Bedell Cristin’s strength in depth is never more evident that during the relocation process. Our clients commonly require our local and international expertise when it comes to wealth structuring, succession planning, family business structuring, governance, and regulatory matters, and all the associated high-end immigration and real estate services. Our team has significant experience and a proven track record of drawing upon their skills and expertise to provide first-rate services and solutions for  individuals and families who move internationally.

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