Investing in the Cayman Islands

11 October 2011

Q. I want to make substantial investments in the Cayman Islands. I also want to work in my business that I establish in the Islands. What residency rights would I be entitled to?
The Cayman Islands welcomes high net worth entrepreneurs looking to make substantial investments and offers residency rights along with the right to work when an investment is made. Such an investor can apply for a Certificate of Direct Investment under the Immigration Law, which is valid for 25 years and allows investors who qualify to live in the Islands and work at the business in which they have made the investment.

Q. How do I qualify as a holder of a Certificate of Direct Investment?
You must show that you will exercise substantial management control over the business, for example, prove that you are a director on the Board. You must also prove that you have a substantial business or entrepreneurial track record. You also have to prove that your personal net worth is at least US$7.2 million.

Q. How much do I need to invest in the Islands in order to qualify for a Certificate of Direct Investment?
You have to provide proof that you have US$2.93 million available and under your personal control or that you have already invested in US$2.93 million in a licenced business which employs people in the Islands.

Q. Do I have to employ a certain number of local people in order to qualify?
Yes – to qualify your business will generally be one in which at least 50% of the total number of employees are Caymanian.

Q. So, what is the first step in the application process?
You can apply to the Chief Immigration Officer for an Approval-in- Principle Certificate of Investment that is valid for six months. This gives you time to get your investment together. When you apply for this you must also show you and your spouse (where applicable) have a clean criminal record and that you, your spouse and dependent children (where applicable) are in good health and possess adequate health coverage in the Islands.

Q. Then what happens?
Once you have proved that you have made the investment and obtained all required licences (i.e. before the expiry of the Approval-in-Principle Certificate of Direct Investment), the Chief Immigration Officer can, upon receipt of the prescribed fees, issue a Certificate of Direct Investment valid for twenty-five years.

Q. I have a wife and children. Can they come and live with me as well?
Yes, they can live with you in the Islands if you are granted a Certificate of Direct Investment, but they are not allowed to work in the Islands. You have to give their details when you make the application.

Q. Can I lose my Certificate of Direct Investment before the end of the 25 year term?
Yes, a Certificate of Direct Investment can be revoked if you fail to provide audited financial statements to the Chief Immigration Officer on a prescribed basis; if you fail to maintain the prescribed level of investment; if you are not physically present in the Islands for a minimum of 90 days a year; if the business stops employing people; or if you fail to pay fees with regards to your dependents (where applicable).

Q. Can my Certificate of Direct Investment be renewed after the 25 year period?
Yes, it is renewable upon application to the Chief Immigration Officer at their discretion.

James Bovell

James Bovell

Broker/Owner

+1 345 945 4000

james.bovell@bovell.ky