Clients regularly ask whether the Cayman Islands offers a pathway to citizenship for persons of independent means who have invested in real estate. The answer is yes and no – there is a pathway, but it is not immediate or direct.
Rights of residents in the Cayman Islands
The first step to citizenship is acquiring a Certificate of Permanent Residence as a Person of Independent Means, which is outlined in “How to Gain Residency in the Cayman Islands through Real Estate Investments.”
The rights gained from permanent residency through real estate investment include the ability to:
- Reside full-time or part-time in the Cayman Islands
- Enter the Cayman Islands without a return ticket
- Place dependant children in school
- Obtain a right to work in a chosen occupation
- Invest in local businesses
British and Cayman Citizenship
Whilst each family’s Cayman Islands immigration journey is different and requires bespoke advice spanning an array of applicable laws and regulations, the basic steps involved in acquiring citizenship are as follows:
- Having acquired a Certificate of Permanent Residence, and because this option has no expiry, 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. Once Naturalised, the holder can apply for a British Overseas Territories (Cayman Islands) passport.
- Upon receipt of their Cayman passport, the holder can apply to register as a full British citizen (with all the privileges that entails, including obtaining a British passport). Dependant spouses and children may also be eligible to apply for Naturalisation, Cayman passports and for registration as full British Citizens.
- Provided applications are submitted in a timely fashion and their consideration is not protracted, the entire family can acquire British passports within 6 years of the initial grant of the Certificate of Permanent Residence.
- There is no obligation to surrender any existing residencies or citizenships throughout this process and once each family member has been Naturalised for 5 years, they are eligible to apply for the Right to be Caymanian on grounds of Naturalisation.
The process may seem lengthy, but it is less complex than many other jurisdictions. Plus, the benefits of living in Cayman are endless. Cayman has stunning natural beauty with world-class beaches, water sports and scuba diving, as well as one of the highest GDP’s and standards of living in the world. The Cayman Islands is an attractive place to purchase property because there are no restrictions on foreign ownership of real estate. Plus, its tax neutrality means that there are no income, capital gains, property, inheritance, estate, wealth, sales or corporate taxes.
To top it off, there is direct accessibility from numerous major cities in North America and its strong rule of law and stable government make it one of the safest places to live in the Caribbean, and likely the world.
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.
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.