Relocations: Moving to the Cayman Islands

A world-class commercial environment in a relaxed, safe, holiday location – what more could you ask for?


1. Moving to the Cayman Islands

Choosing a location to move to is not just about finding a home for your wealth; it's about finding a home for your family. Our team is your trusted partner in relocating to the Cayman Islands.

Cayman is a tax-free British Overseas Territory which is consistently ranked and recognised as one of the top offshore financil centres in the world. But it’s also much more than that – Cayman is a beautiful and secure island that combines spectacular scenery, a tropical climate and stunning beaches with traditional values of respect, community and privacy.

The excellent education provision offers a choice of either the British or American school systems, and a broad range of medical services are available, with health insurance required by law.

The Cayman Islands are a tax-neutral economy - there are no income, inheritance, sales, corporation, capital gains or withholding taxes in the Cayman Islands.

The services offered by our High Value Residency Team go beyond basic immigration – we advise on finding a property, and work with clients to introduce them to our trusted networks of local suppliers and professionals. When you visit the island, we roll out the red carpet, offering our clients the ption of VIP hospitality services upon their arrival including expedited immigration and customs at the airport.

Our team is recognised by clients as being responsive, professional and discreet.

We advise both domestic and international clients on buying and selling residential property in Cayman – including the most expensive property purchase in the island’s ultra-luxury propertymarket – and our team provide not just the legal advice to guide you through the process, but also the practical, local, hands-on expertise that you need as well.

And should you need outside expertise – be it trusted tax advisers, surveyors, architects, or private banks – we will open up our network of trusted experts to you.

2. About the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are located in the western Caribbean about 150 miles south of Cuba, 460 miles south of Miami, Florida, and 167 miles northwest of Jamaica.

The Cayman Islands are drawing more and more entrepreneurs and people with young families, lured by a combination of the lifestyle and sports on offer, as well as the friendly and secure environment, and the infrastructure in terms of travel, health and education.

You're never far from the beach, and Cayman has a wealth of things to do on the water – from world-class diving, an early sunrise paddle, fishing excursions or family boat outings, there is a raft of water-based activities for families with young children, to more adventurous adults.

The fact that you can be at home or on the beach within minutes of leaving work, the absence of capital gains or inheritance taxes, income taxes and an enviable work-life balance are still key drivers both for inward investment and decisions by high net-worth individuals, but today, the reasons that the relocation shortlist is so often whittled down to the Cayman Islands go much further than tax and lifestyle.

Cayman's air travel links extend to the US, the UK, Canada and Central America, as well as Jamaica and Cuba, and the combination of top-class education and health services and very low crime rates make the islands an attractive community environment.

In addition to that comes the exceptionally high quality of professional services, including some of the world’s leading banks, financial institutions and lawfirms, offering the same quality of advice and professionalism that you would expect from the top London or New York institutions.

3. Life in Cayman

One of the major selling points of moving to Cayman is the quality and breadth of the healthcare and education services on offer.

Healthcare in Cayman
For a jurisdiction with a total population of just over 60,000 people, you may be surprised to learn that Cayman boasts three fully-equipped hospitals and many private healthcare specialists.

The provision in terms of cardiac surgery and oncology is worldclass, with full technical infrastructure such as advanced radiology and MRI services, as well as specialists in the respective fields.

Health insurance for island residents is mandatory, and is highly recommended for visiting residents because of the high cost of treatment.

Education in Cayman
Cayman has a wide variety of excellent public and private schools from preschool all the way to university level, as well as provision for adult learning. Under Cayman law all children from the age of four years and nine months to 17 must be in fulltime education, or be homeschooled.

There are almost 5,000 places in the island's private schools – we can advise on the right choice for your child and on the application process (the schools can fill quickly, and early applications are strongly advised).

4. Residency Requirements

The Cayman Islands has a flexible and accommodating immigration system that offers a number of immigration related incentives for persons who invest in a business or in developed real estate in the Islands.

There are four key routes to residency in Cayman, and our team can advise you on the processes and which option is most appropriate for your bespoke circumstances.

Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means

An individual who is able to demonstrate that he has a continuous source of annual income of CI$120,000 (US$146,341.46) without the need to work in the Islands or that he has an account with a Cayman Islands Monetary Authority regulated and locally licensed institution and maintains a minimum deposit in the account of at least CI$400,000 in assets and that he has invested at least CI$1,000,000 (US$1,200,000) in Grand Cayman of which at least CI$500,000 (US
$610,000) must be in developed real estate, may apply to the Chief Immigration Officer for a Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means.

A Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means is valid for a renewable period of twenty-five years and does not allow the holder to work in the Cayman
Islands. The spouse and dependent children of the applicant will also be allowed to reside in the Cayman Islands without the right to work if they were named in theapplication.

A Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means is valid for a renewable period of twenty-five years and does not allow the holder to work in the Cayman Islands. The spouse and dependent children of the applicant will also be allowed to reside in the Cayman Islands without the right to work if they were named in the application.

Certificate of Direct Investment

A person who makes, or proposes to make, an investment of at least one million dollars in an employment generating business – either existing or a new venture - and in which he plans to exercise substantial management control,
may apply for a Certificate of Direct Investment. The words ‘employment generating business’ mean a business in which at least thirty per cent of the total number of employees are Caymanian unless it can be shown that overriding circumstances dictate a lower percentage.

An applicant for a Certificate of Direct Investment must also show that he or she has a substantial business track record or an entrepreneurial background, including specific professional, technical and other knowledge relevant and directly necessary to carry on the proposed business. A Certificate of Direct Investment is valid for a renewable period of 25 years and entitles the holder to reside in the Cayman Islands and to work in the business or businesses in which he or she has invested.

Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means

This category of long-term residence is different to the others in that it affords the holder full permanent residence in the Cayman Islands. The holder will also be able, subject to meeting the requirements of the British Nationality Act 1981, to apply for naturalization as a British Overseas Territories Citizen, including obtaining a BOTC passport - which may allow an individual to renounced additional citizenship if desired, and ultimately the right to be Caymanian – a term known as ‘belongership’ in other Territories. The holder and his spouse may also have their permission to remain varied to allow the right to work in the Cayman Islands. This residence category is subject to an annual quota which is currently set at 250.

The holder of a Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means and their family are allowed to reside permanently in the Cayman Islands without the right to work initially. But the Certificate may be varied to allow employment (for any employer) though it will be limited to a particular occupation.

Residency Certificate (Substantial Business Presence)

This is a long-term residence category for persons who invest in, or who are employed in a senior management capacity, within an approved category of business. The category is open to persons already resident in the Cayman Islands and persons wishing to become resident. Applicants who meet the eligibility criteria will be issued a Residency Certificate (Substantial Business Presence) valid for 25 years (renewable) entitling them to reside in the Cayman Islands and to work in the business in which they have invested or are employed in a senior management capacity.

In considering whether an applicant has established, or will establish, a ‘substantial business presence’ in the Islands the Chief Immigration Officer will take into account whether through the purchase or lease of commercial real estate the business has established a physical presence in the Islands. It will also be taken into account whether the business in question employs, or will employ, a minimum of four fulltime employees who are legally and ordinarily resident in the Islands for a minimum of nine months in any calendar year.

5. Our Real Estates Services

Relocating clients need real expertise and real insight when dealing with real estate - Ogier's dedicated team offers both.

Our full-service Cayman Island property law team is well known for executing some of the largest and most complex commercial property transactions with accuracy and speed. We provide a responsive, constructive and commercially aware client service for large and small businesses.

Our team has acted for local landlords, tenants, developers and financiers as well as institutional investors of international repute. We also handle a wide range of local residential transactions ranging from the purchase and sale of the most valuable and prestigious properties in the Cayman Islands to smaller condos and first homes. Our residential property team is highly recommended by local agents, banks and the people we have helped to buy, sell and finance their property.

Our services to relocating families, individuals and firms goes beyond basic real estate - we advise on finding a property, and work with clients to introduce them to our trusted networks of local suppliers
and professionals. We also have a leading planning and construction team who can help to navigate through the sometimes complex regulations relating to development activity.

Our team have specialist expertise in:

  • Residential sales and purchases, particularly high-value residential conveyancing.
  • The Planning process for renovations, extensions or new developments.
  • Development, sales and lettings of large scale commercial and residential projects.
  • Construction, environmental and health and safety law issues.

6. Trust and Estate Management

Our experienced team of trust and estate lawyers can help make sure your affairs are in order so you can pass on your wealth to your family in a structured and efficient manner.

Once you own land in the Cayman Islands, you will need a Cayman Islands will to make sure that, in the event of your death, the most appropriate people are appointed as your executors and that you leave your estate to the beneficiaries that you have chosen.

Cayman Islands law is constantly under review to keep it sophisticated, flexible and fit for the modern world. Trusts and succession law is no different and the range of structures available means that there will be a robust and flexible way for you to leave your wealth for future generations. We can assist you put in place wills, trusts, companies and foundation companies. Our team has worked with high net worthand ultra-high net worth individuals based in the CaymanIslands and further afield and we have lots of experience in succession planning for business owners, retirees and others.

There are no inheritance or death taxes in the Cayman Islands but,depending on your personal circumstances, there may tax considerations in other places. We regularly work with onshore lawyers around the world to make sure that the planning put in place here is efficient and effective in the other jurisdictions that you may have connections.


7. Travel Links

Cayman has a well-connected international hub.

In Grand Cayman, the Owen Roberts International Airport processes over one million passengers each including tourists, business visitors and residents.

The airport is located in the capital George Town and hosts several major airline carriers with a variety of route options to North America, the United Kingdom, the Sister Islands (Cayman Brac and Little Cayman) and the wider Caribbean.

8. Contact Our Team

The things that attract people to Cayman are the high quality lifestyle, healthcare and education, reliable and well-connected travel options, a thriving entrepreneurial culture and access to high quality property.

Begin your move to Cayman today by getting in touch with a member of the Ogier team and learn more about what we can do for you.

James Bergstrom - Partner


Cline Glidden - Associate


Download our comprehensive guide

The information and expressions of opinion contained in this guide are not intended to be a comprehensive study or to provide legal advice and should not be treated as a substitute for specific advice concerning individual situations.