American author, financial advisor, motivational speaker and television host Suze Orman has said that “owning a home is a keystone of wealth … both financial affluence and emotional security.”
Here in the Cayman Islands, owning a home can also give you the right to live on an island paradise for decades, or for life.
It is fairly easy for affluent individuals willing to purchase luxury Grand Cayman property to attain residency rights, says Cline Glidden Jr., an attorney who specialises in immigration matters at the law firm Ogier in Camana Bay.
“It’s really a straightforward process to obtain permanent residency if you have the means,” he said. High-net worth individuals seeking lifelong permanent residency in the Cayman Islands can do so by acquiring developed real estate for U.S.$2.4 million or more and paying a one-time fee of CI$122,000. Successful applicants then need only to reside in the Cayman Islands for at least one day each year.
Due to the lifetime worth of obtaining permanent residency in this fashion, successful applicants can apply to become naturalised as a British Overseas Territory citizen of the Cayman Islands, which would give them the right to get a Cayman Islands passport and then apply to become a British citizen, if they so choose. It is possible for these applicants to obtain the right to work in the Cayman Islands as a benefit of their certificate of permanent residence.
Affluent retirees who won’t need to work in the Cayman Islands may also obtain a 25-year renewable residency certificate. This method of residence requires the applicant to either have a continuous source of income of US$146,000 per year or a have a minimum of US$488,000 in a Cayman Islands registered bank. The applicant must also own Cayman Islands developed real estate worth at least US$610,000, have other investments that bring their total local investments to US$1.22 million and pay a one-time fee of US$25,000. Successful applicants to this form of residency must reside in the Cayman Islands for at least 30 days per year.
Of the 30-50 permanent residency applications of this type handled each year at Ogier, Glidden said no applicant has been denied the right to become a resident of the Cayman Islands. The process typically takes four to six weeks, but can be approved in as little as a week.
Mr. Glidden said all residency applicants — regardless of income — are required by law to be at least 18 years of age, have no criminal convictions, be in good health and possess adequate health insurance.
Besides the residency benefits, owning real estate in the Cayman Islands has other benefits such as guaranteed ownership, Glidden said.
“Unlike other countries offering similar residency schemes, there is no need for title insurance and there is no risk involved.” Glidden said the residency process is designed to be flexible and clear-cut.
“If my affluent clients were looking to buy real estate in the Cayman Islands and fit the criteria for consideration, I would highly recommend they apply for permanent residency in the Cayman Islands,” he said.