Children born in the Cayman Islands to expats are not automatically entitled to reside in Cayman. Their treatment varies depending on the immigration status of their parents. The main options for the children of non-Caymanians are set out below:
How to Make Your Expat Child Legally Resident
When a child is born in or brought into the Cayman Islands, unless they are ‘Caymanian as of Right’, they must be reported to the immigration authorities and have the appropriate permissions sought to allow them to stay. The procedure to be followed will vary depending on the nature of the parent’s immigration standing. For example, your child must be added as a dependant if you are: here on a temporary or full work permit, are a Government-contracted worker, or have an application for Permanent Residence submitted and are working on a valid PCW (‘Permission to Continue Working’). The next paragraph explains how you add your child to your work permit or Permanent Residency.
Children Born to Work Permit Holders
If you are on a work permit, your baby must be added as a dependant on your work permit. You can find the AMD2 ‘Dependant Information Form Checklist’ (aka the R15) on www.immigration.gov.ky which outlines the things you need to gather and submit. These include the application filing fee of CI$100 and a separate grant fee of CI$500, which is payable on approval. The required supporting documents include employment letters in relation to each parent and a ‘Monthly Income and Expense Report’ with which the Dept. of Immigration will decide whether you can afford to have a dependant stay in Cayman with you. It is generally accepted that your minimum monthly base salary for a family of three must be in the region of CI$3,500. You will generally be expected to earn an extra CI$500 to CI$1,000 per month for each additional dependant. When all the requirements are met, your child’s passport (once issued) will get a stamp with a date on it. Remember to get each new passport re-stamped as airlines need to see an up-to-date dependant stamp in the passport when you travel. If you have any questions, call WORC on (345) 949 8344 or see their website.
Children Born to Applicants for Permanent Residence with Permission to Continue Working
In the event that you become a parent while your application for Permanent Residency is still being processed, you need to act as soon as possible to vary your Permission to Continue Working (PCW) to add a new dependant. Following this, you need to update your application for Permanent Residence to reflect the change of circumstance. This requires a submission to the Director of WORC, accompanied by a CI$100 application fee, a completed copy of the R15 ‘Dependant Information Form’ and its list of supporting documents.
Children Born to Government Employees
Foreign nationals in government service are exempt from the Work Permit Regime by virtue of their government contracts. They should, however, check with their relevant Department/Ministry to seek to ensure that their child is able to lawfully reside in the Cayman Islands. Please note that there is no distinction between expatriate children of persons in government service and those in the private sector, and so considerations as to Permanent Residence and the ‘Right to be Caymanian’ (including ‘continuation’ thereof) should be taken fully into account.
A foreign national who has lived in the Cayman Islands for at least eight years and works for the Cayman Islands Government can apply for Permanent Residency. Once it is granted, they have the choice of adding their child/children as a dependant and paying the annual dependant fee of CI$500 per child. Alternatively, they can continue to include the child as a dependant on their government contract and, in such a case, they will not have to pay an annual fee for their children. Please note that it is very important that evidence of your child’s residency status is maintained. At some point you may want to apply for Permanent Residency or Status for your child, and you will need to show proof that they have been resident in the Cayman Islands for five years prior to the application.
Children Born to Permanent Residents
A child born to a Permanent Resident (whether through the points system or by independent means) must be added as a dependant to the parent’s PR. You will need to fill in and submit a ‘Variation of Permanent Residence’ form (the RV30 or RV34-37 form) as well as the ‘Dependant Information Form Checklist’ (the R15 form). There is an administrative non-refundable CI$500 fee attached to the application. You will need to include a cover letter explaining why the change is being made, as well as a certified copy of your child’s birth certificate, a signed affidavit, a filled in application form, as well as (where relevant) an employment letter from both parents which includes the hours worked per week, the monthly income and any other benefits received.
The issue fee is CI$400 for the holder of a ‘Residency and Employment Rights Certificate’ on the basis of eight years’ residence, or CI$1,000 for the dependants of the holder of a ‘Certificate for Persons of Independent Means’.
At the time of the child’s birth, if one parent already holds Permanent Residency and/or has been Naturalised as a British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC) because of a connection with the Cayman Islands, but is not (yet) Caymanian, then the child born in the Cayman Islands (to expatriate parents resident in the Cayman Islands) will be born a British Overseas Territories Citizen by virtue of a connection with the Cayman Islands. Although they will not be Caymanian, such children can hold a British Overseas Territories (Cayman Islands) passport and have an automatic right to live (but not to work) in the Cayman Islands. They should be registered under the British Nationality Act with the Deputy Governor’s Office and an application made through the local passport office. As mentioned above, the child also needs to be added as a dependant on your Permanent Residency.
Please note that as a Permanent Resident, if you then become a Caymanian (and have children and a spouse as dependants) you have only 45 days to ‘regularise’ your dependants. If for some reason you forget, then your spouse’s ‘Residency & Employment Rights Certificate (RERC) as the Spouse of a Permanent Resident’ will be revoked and there will in effect be nothing to extend. If this situation happens, then the only option to ‘regularise’ your spouse’s position is to apply for the ‘Right to be Caymanian’, but you cannot do this unless you sign an affidavit saying that you tick the ‘stable marriage’ box. Alternatively, if you have been married for less than seven years, then you can simply apply for a RERC on the grounds of being married to a Caymanian.
Expatriate Children Born in the Cayman Islands and Continuously Resident for the First 10 Years
The British Nationality Act makes provision for the registration of children born in the Islands (and legally resident for the first 10 years of their life) as British Overseas Territories Citizens by virtue of a connection with the Islands. Whilst such registration will not make them Caymanian, they will be entitled to a Cayman Islands passport and allowed to reside permanently in the Cayman Islands provided they do not move away, are of good character, and do not breach the Immigration Law.
This option is available without regard to the immigration status of parents and an application should be made to the Deputy Governor’s Office as soon as possible following the child’s 10th birthday. Such children can hold a Cayman Islands passport, and (independent of their parents) almost certainly be able to apply to become Caymanian immediately following their 15th birthday if still legally and ordinarily a resident in the Cayman Islands at that date.
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.
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