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What is the limitation of a British passport obtained through Cayman Islands’ RBI program?

I am considering applying for Cayman Islands’ RBI program to obtain a British passport. If I get a British passport after being a permanent resident of the Cayman Islands for five years, would I be able to enjoy all rights as a British citizen?

  • Bedell Cristin
    January 14, 2019

    There is no limitation whatsoever, and after about six years, the holder (and dependent spouse) can obtain full British passports. Please also note there are no obligations to surrender any existing citizenship(s) throughout this process. Because the certificate of permanent residence has no expiry, it qualifies the holder (provided certain other criteria are met) to become eligible to apply for naturalization as a British Overseas Territories citizen (BOTC) once he or she has been legally and ordinarily resident in the Cayman Islands for five years. Essentially, the holder could not be absent from Cayman for over 450 days in that five-year period (and in respect of the final 12-month period, for no more than 90 days). There are exemptions, such as if you were absent for educational, medical or business purposes. As the process is discretionary, it is still possible to obtain a grant without satisfying those requirements. Certainly, I have done it for other clients previously. Please note that once the holder of this certificate has been naturalized (the application process typically takes eight weeks), the dependent spouse can apply for his/her own naturalization on grounds of marriage. Naturalization entitles the holder and dependent spouse to British Overseas Territories (Cayman Islands) passports (the application process for this first Cayman passport typically takes six weeks) and once obtained, and as a BOTC, the holder and dependent spouse are immediately eligible to apply for registration as British citizens based on their status as BOTCs under s4A of the British Nationality Act 1981 (in force from May 21, 2002) provided: they are not solely connected with the sovereign base areas of Cyprus; they have not previously renounced British citizenship; and they are of good character. Registration is discretionary, but will not normally be refused unless there is a specific reason. Once the requisite applications and supporting documentation has been submitted to the Office of Deputy Governor in the Cayman Islands, they will confirm everything is in order before sending the package to the U.K. Home Office for processing. The guidelines state that the registration process takes six to 12 months, but every application that I have handled thus far has resulted in a successful issuance of registration certificates within three to four months. Once in possession of those certificates, your representative can apply for the holder and spouse's full British passports (this final application process typically takes six weeks).