Naturalisation

People who have been lawfully resident in the Cayman Islands for a total of five years (at least one of which must be without Immigration restriction as to the period they are permitted to remain) may apply under the British Nationality Act for naturalisation as a British Overseas Territories Citizen (‘BOTC’) by virtue of a connection with the Cayman Islands.

If you are a Permanent Resident then getting Naturalised is an essential step in the process of acquiring Caymanian Status. Once you have had PR for 12 months you can apply under the British Nationality Act for Naturalisation as a British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC) by virtue of a connection with the Cayman Islands. For the application you will need to provide a copy of your PR approval letter, your PR certificate, your birth certificate, passport picture page, a passport-sized full-face photo, a police record, a current job letter, a marriage certificate (if it applies) plus the birth certificate for your spouse, and a current travel history from Immigration. One thing worth noting is that the physical presence rules are totally different under the British Nationality Act than those under the Cayman Islands Immigration Law. If you have been outside of the islands for longer than 90 days in a row in any one year, or a total of 540 days over the course of five years, then this will affect your ability to apply for Naturalisation on the grounds of residency. If you are applying for Naturalisation on the grounds of being married to a BOTC then you cannot be off the island for more than 270 days over the course of three years. Please note that you will still need to pay your PR work-related fees every year once you are Naturalised. However, the spouse of a Caymanian does not pay these fees.

The spouse of a Caymanian on the other hand only has to wait 12 months from the date that their RERC was approved to then apply for Naturalisation. This rule was changed in July 2018. Previously to that the spouse of a Caymanian had to wait until they became Caymanian (having been married for seven years) to then be naturalised and ultimately apply for a Cayman passport.

Application is made to the Deputy Governor’s Office and, upon grant, the applicant becomes a BOTC by virtue of a connection to the Cayman Islands. This entitles the applicant to a Cayman Islands passport but does not make the applicant a Caymanian (i.e. does not grant Status) or give them a right to work or even necessarily to reside in the Islands. It does however normally entitle the holder to ultimately apply for the right to be Caymanian, provided they remain legally and ordinarily resident in Cayman.

The fact that many people who have become naturalised and possess Cayman Islands passports are not Caymanian can be potentially confusing. It is perhaps best to think of a Cayman Islands passport as a travel document, Naturalisation as becoming a BOTC (but not a Caymanian) and being Caymanian (known as possessing the Right to be Caymanian) as possessing a particular type of Immigration permission (whether by right, entitlement or grant).Not all Caymanians are BOTCs or even entitled to hold Cayman Islands Passports.

Here are more details on getting Naturalised:

Twelve months after you have been granted Permanent Residency you can apply to be Naturalised. The process of Naturalisation is governed by the British Nationality Act, 1981, and is a required step in the process of becoming a Caymanian. Then after you have been successfully Naturalised you have to wait five years, or have been legally resident in the Cayman Islands for 15 years, before you can apply for Caymanian Status.

Being a citizen of any other country, including Britain, does not offer you any shortcuts: you still have to be Naturalised before applying to be granted Caymanian Status.

Application is made to the Deputy Governor’s Office and, upon grant, the applicant becomes a BOTC (British Overseas Territory Citizen). This entitles the applicant to a Cayman Islands passport but does not make the applicant a Caymanian (i.e. does not grant Status) or give them a right to work or even necessarily to reside in the Islands. It does however normally entitle the holder to ultimately apply for the Right To Be Caymanian provided they remain legally and ordinarily resident in Cayman.

The application for Naturalisation is fairly onerous and you must complete an application form and submit certified copies of the following:

– Certificate of Caymanian Status/Right to be Caymanian
– Letter of Permanent Residence plus Residency and Employment Rights Certificate
– Original birth certificate
– Original marriage certificate, if applicable
– Divorce decree, if applicable
– Data/photo page of current passport
– Original birth certificate of spouse, if applicable
– Original deed poll of change of name or Statutory Declaration authorising retention of maiden name, if applicable
• One recent colour full-face photograph (passport size).
• A current local Police Clearance Certificate (Original).
• Employment Letter
• An up-to-date Travel History sheet covering the last 5 years (to be obtained from the Department of Immigration).
• A fee of CI$825 (of which $200 is a filing fee and is non-refundable).