Naturalisation

If you are a Permanent Resident adult and not married to a Caymanian then getting Naturalised as a British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC) is an essential step in the process of acquiring Caymanian Status. Once you have had PR for 12 months (and have lived in Cayman for at least five years) 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 WORC/CBC. 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 total in one year, or a total of 540 days over the course of five years, then this may affect your ability to be granted Naturalisation on the grounds of residency. If you are applying for Naturalisation on the grounds of being married to a BOTC then you ought not to have been off the Islands 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 or Permanent  (provided their Caymanian or Permanent Resident Spouse is a BOTC), be able to apply for Naturalisation 12 months from the date that their RERC was approved provided they have been resident in the Islands for at least three years and seek to apply on the basis of marriage to a BOTC. Application is made to the Deputy Governor and must include an up-to-date travel history covering the last five years (you can obtain this from WORC/CBC), as well as certified copies of your relevant documents and a fee of CI$825. Please note that a child under the age of 18 can (on successful application) be registered as a BOTC and the cost is CI$450.

Naturalisation 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 on the basis of residence, provided they remain legally and ordinarily resident in Cayman.

Registration is the equivalent of Naturalisation for children, and the basis for Registration can vary widely depending on various factors, including age, immigration status of parents, and place of birth.

The fact that many people who have become naturalised or registered or have otherwise become BOTC’s and possess Cayman Islands passports without being  Caymanian can be potentially confusing. It is perhaps best to think of a Cayman Islands passport as a travel document, naturalisation (or registration) 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 and accordingly, large numbers of Caymanians are not entitled to hold Cayman Islands Passports.