Entry Requirements for the Cayman Islands
A guide to the immigration and visa requirements for visiting the Cayman Islands
All people arriving in the Cayman Islands are required to produce to an Immigration Officer a valid passport or other travel document that establishes his identity, nationality and his place of permanent residence. People travelling to the Cayman Islands on a passport are not required to prove their place of permanent residence upon entry; however, people who are able to enter without a passport (i.e. persons permanently resident in and travelling from the UK, the US or Canada) must prove their place of residence. All visitors must have a return ticket.
By law, a person who has no other basis to enter the Cayman Islands (i.e. a Work Permit), and no right to residence, may be admitted into Cayman as a visitor for up to six months, with extensions permissible in rare circumstances thereafter. However, many people arriving in Cayman will be permitted entry for an initial 30 days only, unless they own property in which they will be staying and can demonstrate an ability to maintain themselves during their stay.
Requirements for Visitors
If a person is admitted as a visitor, wants to stay longer and an extension beyond 30 days was not approved on initial arrival, then they must go to Customs and Border Control (CBC) located on 94A Elgin Avenue in George Town before their time runs out, fill in an extension form and request to remain longer. This process can also be done online at www.cbc.gov.ky. Fees of CI$50 are payable for the first extension and CI$100 for each further extension. Note: It can get quite expensive after a few months! However, if you plan well in advance and come prepared with a letter showing you can support yourself, have health insurance and have somewhere to live, you may possibly be given a longer period to stay upon landing.
If a visitor is arriving for a significant period, like many of our returning ‘snow birds’ do over the winter period, they will generally be admitted for up to six months. For this, they must show the entry officer their return ticket, a very recent bank or investment statement showing that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and a hotel/condo reservation or a lease. This paperwork is looked at very discreetly and returned to the visitor. If the visitor owns a home in the Cayman Islands and can show the Land Register, then a six month permission will be granted to them and other visitors accompanying them.
Visas for Cayman
Nationals of the USA, Canada, the UK and most countries within the British Commonwealth do not require visas to enter the Cayman Islands. Citizens of Jamaica (between the ages of 15 and 70), Honduras and the Philippines, for example, do. Check the ‘Visa’ section of www.cbc.gov.ky if you need one. However, if you hold a passport from Jamaica, India or China and you have a US, UK or Canadian Visa, you do not need a separate Cayman Visa. However, you must enter Cayman directly from the country where you hold the visa and can only stay in the Cayman Islands for 30 days. Where visas are required, they must be sought and obtained prior to travel. Contact the British Embassy or Consulate with a visa department that is nearest you. There is a dedicated visa office within the Customs and Border Control office. You can call the manager of that department on (345) 649 4579 or email: Emily.Hurlston@gov.ky. There is also one in Kingston, Jamaica. Tel: (876) 906 7866/5336 or email: email@example.com.
Applying for a Visitor Extension
If you are a visitor and would like to remain longer than the amount of time you were given on entry to the Cayman Islands, then the following must be done prior to your time running out:
Visit this page of the Cayman Islands Customs & Border Control website, fill in the form, include your contact information, and within 24-48 hours you will get a video call on WhatsApp, Zoom ir Skype to confirm your identity.
The applicant must provide evidence of his/her ability to support themselves in the Cayman Islands. If an applicant is dependent upon hospitality being furnished by a friend or relative, the applicant is advised to have his/her host provide proof of support to avoid delay.
The below list of documents (not exhaustive) should be presented together with the application to aid in the processing of an application. Some may not be relevant but gather whatever you think might be needed:
- Travel documents (return plane ticket or confirmation of reservation)
- Processing fee
- The white landing card (E/D Card)
- Proof of finances, or if being sponsored, the sponsors proof of solvency
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate
- Evidence of Property/Land registration
- Bail bond
- Deed poll
- Health Insurance
- Doctor’s note
- Custody or Guardianship agreements
Fees of CI$50 are payable for the first extension and CI$100 for each further extension.
Seeking employment whilst in the Cayman Islands as a visitor
There is no prohibition against seeking employment whilst visiting the Islands as a tourist, however, if you do find employment then you cannot be on the island when the work permit is submitted to the Department of WORC.
A Business Visitor’s Permit & Visitor’s Work Visa
Any business in Cayman that regularly needs workers to come from overseas to work for no more than 14 days on any particular visit may seek to apply for a Business Visitor’s Permit, allowing such individual(s) permission to work for a specified number of visits per year, subject to strict limitations. These Business Visitor’s Permits are not available for people attending for one visit only. Please see this page for the Business Visitors Permit application form.
There is also a category of Visitor’s Work Visa that permits individuals who are employed outside of the Islands (and who wish to visit for up to five calendar days at a time to engage in commercial activity with a locally licensed entity or person/sponsor) to apply for the grant of a Visitor’s Work Visa. To obtain a grant on arrival, the local business or visiting worker must send to Customs and Border Control a cover letter explaining why the visitor is coming to Cayman and what they are coming to do, and include the 'Visitor Work Visa Letter of Invitation' which can be filled in online, printed off, signed and then emailed - no later than 24 hours before the visitor is arriving - to firstname.lastname@example.org. It should be noted that once approved, the person will be required to pay CI$100 at the airport. The Visitor’s Work Visa is not available to those who are employed in a professional capacity (lawyers, accountants, medical professionals, architects, surveyors, teachers and other occupations) or who are otherwise not entitled to a work permit by virtue of having reached their term limit. The Visitor’s Work Visa also does not exempt someone from the requirement to obtain an entry visa if they possess a passport from a country that would otherwise require a Visitor’s Visa to enter the Cayman Islands. In addition, a business visitor may not hold more than one Visitor’s Work Visa in relation to the same sponsor or sponsors within the same calendar month, but unlike a Business Visitor’s Permit, a Visitor’s Work Visa may be used for a single visit. Visitor’s Work Visas are dealt with by Customs and Border Control, not WORC.
More information for those that would like to live in the Cayman Islands
If you decide that you love the Cayman Islands so much that you would like to make it your permanent home, there are many options to make that a reality. Acorn Media have developed a specific website about living and working in the Cayman Islands and it is called Cayman Resident. For specific information on the immigration process of becoming a legal resident in Cayman please see what the different options that are available to you. It is somewhat of a minefield but hopefully we have explained it in the most straightforward and easy way that we can. Please do email me - Joanna Boxall - on email@example.com if you don't manage to get your question answered. I would be happy to help.