CI$ 2 million
Real Estate Investment
Visa Free Travel
While other Caribbean CBI programs were jostling for investors in 2017, the Cayman Islands kept a low profile, and pointedly opted out of the regional CBI price-war by doubling the minimum investment for some of its investment options. Unlike many other Caribbean CBI programs, the Cayman Islands doesn’t simply offer a second passport in exchange for a donation; instead, it provides residency opportunities — including permanent residency, which can lead to a British passport — for investors who genuinely want to relocate, and who are willing to spend a seven-figure sum on real estate or other qualifying investments.
That keeps demand low, with only a few dozen investors seeking Cayman residency each year, but locals say that sense of exclusivity, along with a far higher quality of life than some of the other countries in the region, is part of the islands’ charm. The islands’ investor-friendly tax policies — with no income, property, estate or corporate taxes — are also undoubtedly a big draw.
The Cayman Islands don’t offer a pure citizenship-by-investment program, but as a British Overseas Territory, its permanent residents become eligible for a British passport after five years. That’s potentially an important consideration for investors choosing between Cayman’s pricey permanent-residency option, and its cheaper 25-year residency permit, which offers no such path to British Overseas Territory citizenship.
Applicants seeking either permanent status or a 25-year residency permit through investment must first purchase property in the Cayman Islands, then submit extensive supporting documentation, including a police background check, a health report, a financial statement prepared by a bank or professional accounting firm, and three sealed character references.
Government records show that virtually all investment-based residency applications take between one and nine months to process, from the first receipt of the application to the final decision being issued.
Cayman residency doesn’t confer travel benefits, and holders are required to spend time on the islands each year in order to maintain their status: permanent residents must spend a day a year in the Cayman Islands, while 25-year permit holders must spend 30 days a year physically present in the islands.
Investors who ultimately qualify for British Overseas Citizenship receive a British passport, but do not typically receive the right of abode in the United Kingdom. The British overseas passport is robust, with many countries viewing it as the equivalent of a regular British passport, which allows visa-free travel to 175 countries, including the European Union’s Schengen Area. Some countries do require visas for British overseas passports that lack a right-of-abode endorsement, however.
The Cayman Islands has little domestic industry, and imports 90 percent of its food and consumer goods, but maintains a high standard of living thanks to its thriving tourism and financial-services sectors. About 2 million tourists visit the island each year, and more than 93,000 companies — including 300 banks and 10,000 mutual funds — have registered on the island in order to take advantage of its tax-free status. Add in sunny Caribbean weather, golden beaches, and political stability, and it’s easy to see why Cayman is an attractive destination for many investors.
The Cayman Islands has several different options for investors seeking residency on the islands:
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