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Cayman Parent | Articles | Expert Advice | Immigration Rules: Children Born to Caymanians | Part I

Immigration Rules: Children Born to Caymanians | Part I


The Immigration (Transition) Law confirms that children born on or after January 1st 2004 are ‘Caymanian as of Right’ (no matter where they are physically born) if at the date of their birth at least one of their parents was Caymanian and settled in the Cayman Islands. If the parents obtained Caymanian status (also known as ‘The Right to be Caymanian’) any other way than by descent, and their child is born overseas when neither parent is settled in the Cayman Islands, then their child will also be ‘Caymanian as of Right’. The responsibility for determining whether or not someone is in fact a Caymanian now falls to a new Government department: Workforce Opportunities and Residence Cayman (‘WORC’). If the children’s parents became Caymanian by descent (i.e. through a parent or grandparent), and the child is born overseas, then the child is not Caymanian.

It is strongly recommended that any child (or indeed adult) who is believed to be Caymanian apply to the Director of WORC under s. 26(2) of the Immigration (Transition) Law, 2018 for formal acknowledgement that they are in fact Caymanian. The form that you need to fill in and submit is the R21 ‘Acknowledgement/Continuation of the Right to be Caymanian’ form. The Law provides that the Director of WORC must, within 14 days, provide such acknowledgement (and, if requested, provide a stamp to be placed in the child’s passport confirming them to be Caymanian) or provide written reasons for the refusal to do so. There is no fee for this application, although a CI$50 fee is payable where the application is being made on the basis that a child is Caymanian by Entitlement (see ‘When Parents Become Caymanians After the Child’s Birth’).

When Caymanian Parents are Not Married

If the parents are not married at the time of the child’s birth, and the parent claiming to be the father is a Caymanian, a DNA test may be required. The issue does not arise if the mother is Caymanian. Such a child will be Caymanian as long as the mother is settled in Cayman at the time of the child’s birth.

When Parents Become Caymanians After the Child’s Birth

Quite often, parents of a child will become Caymanian after the child is born. In such a case the child may be entitled to be acknowledged as ‘Caymanian by Entitlement’, and the parent is expected to apply to the Director of WORC for formal acknowledgement that the child is ‘Caymanian by Entitlement’. The application must include a fee of CI$50, and must demonstrate that the child concerned is under the age of 18, has at least one Caymanian parent, and has been legally and ordinarily resident in the Cayman Islands for at least one year. Please note that the child must be the subject of an application for continuation of their Right to be Caymanian. As the Law presently stands, such children cease to be Caymanian upon turning 18, and need to apply for a ‘continuation’. This should be done after the child turns 17 and before they turn 18. If they apply after the age of 18, they will have ceased to be Caymanian but can technically regain that status provided an application for continuation is granted. However, the child may be unable to apply for a scholarship or a job until their status has been confirmed and ‘continued’. They also risk being determined to be unlawfully in the Islands and thus (if the period is long enough) ineligible to apply for ‘continuation’.


Nick Joseph is a partner at HSM, where he deals primarily with the provision of advice in relation to a broad range of regulatory matters including immigration and employment issues with an emphasis on relocation advice. Nick is a leading immigration lawyer in the Cayman Islands and was a partner for almost ten years at a major offshore law firm in the Cayman Islands before joining HSM in early 2013.


Need more information on immigration?

Check out our articles on deciphering divorce & immigration, immigration laws when your child turns 18, and what happens when your child is born to non-Caymanains.

 
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