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Living in Cayman Islands

Whether you're relocating to Grand Cayman or would like to learn more about Cayman Brac real estate, RE/MAX Cayman Islands can help. Here's a brief look at the beautiful Cayman Islands, the place we call home.

The Cayman Islands are situated approximately 480 miles south of Miami, just a little over an hour by air. Cayman consists of three islands: Grand Cayman, the most populated; Little Cayman, the smallest and least developed; and Cayman Brac, known for its spectacular spine-like bluff.

Interested in Cayman Brac or Little Cayman real estate? Both Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are located about 90 miles from Grand Cayman. All three islands are coral outcroppings of an undersea mountain range, which extends from Cuba to Belize. The "Cayman Trench" lies between Grand Cayman and Jamaica. This is the deepets part of the Caribbean Sea, with depths charted down to four miles.

As you fly into Cayman to visit the popular vacation spot or to tour Grand Cayman real estate, you will be awed by the ever-changing hues of the water. Colors range from the palest of lime to aquamarine to inky cobalt and finally to deep sapphire, as the sea pulls away from the Island walls. This section of our website will give you an insight about living in the Cayman Islands and purchasing Cayman luxury property. We introduce you to the different neighborhoods, legal requirements and other useful information. For links to local businesses and services please click here

Immigration

Visitors may be granted permission to land in the Islands for a period of up to six months although this period may be extended. There are 6 ways to be legally resident in the Cayman Islands if you are not Caymanian.

  • Student Visa
  • Full Time Work Permit
  • Temporary Work Permit
  • Permanent Residency
  • Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means
  • Residency Certificate for Retirees
  • Residency & Employment Rights Certificate

All non-Caymanians that wish to work in the Islands must apply for a work permit.

Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means

To be eligible to apply for a Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means a person must be at least 18 years old, with no serious criminal conviction and in good health with adequate health insurance.

Where the applicant intends to reside in Grand Cayman, he must satisfy the Chief Immigration Officer

  • that he has a continuous source of annual income in the amount of CI$150,000, without the need to engage in employment in the Islands; and
  • that he has invested the sum of CI$750,000 in Grand Cayman of which at least CI$250,000 must be in developed residential real estate.

Where the applicant intends to reside in Cayman Brac or Little Cayman, he must satisfy the Chief Immigration Officer

  • that he has a continuous source of annual income in the amount of CI$75,000 without the need to engage in employment in the Islands; and
  • that he has invested the sum of CI$250,000 locally of which at least CI$125,000 must be in developed residential real estate.

Further information can be found at the immigration website

Important Notice

The information provided is for guidance, and decisions will be made on each individual case by the Immigration authorities acting under the powers granted by the Immigration Law, 2003, amendments thereto, regulations made there under, and any instructions issued under the provisions of the law. For further information please contact an agent.

Cost of Living

The Cost of Living in the Cayman Islands is relatively high compared to Europe or the United States. Nearly every item available for sale needs to be imported from overseas this includes essentials like milk and butter as well as luxury items like boats and cars.

Each of these items is subject to an import duty payable to the Cayman Islands government. The duty varies with the items but most fall under the 22% rate. Some items such as cameras are actually duty free. Complete information on the custom tariff can be found on www.customs.gov.ky

Added to the cost of living are high rental prices for apartments.

The high costs of everyday living are being off set by the absence of income tax. However you may encounter other cost that you won't have in your home country. Children of non-Caymanian parents, for example, will have to go to one of the private school which will require a school fee to be paid. There are many private schools for all ages. Many of which are faith school reflecting the strong religious society in the Cayman Islands.

The Economy

The Cayman Islands economy is dominated by three pillar of economy development: International Financial Service, Tourism and the Real Estate industry.

The Cayman Islands historically have been popular as a tax-exempt destination. Legend has it that Caymanians in 1788 rescued the crews of a Jamaican merchant ship convoy which had struck a reef at Gun Bay and that the Caymanians were rewarded with King George III's promise to never again impose any tax.

From the earliest settlement of the Cayman Islands, economic activity was hindered by isolation and a limited natural resource base. The harvesting of sea turtles to resupply passing sailing ships was the first major economic activity on the islands, but local stocks were depleted by the 1790s. Agriculture, while sufficient to support the small early settler population, has always been limited by the scarcity of available land. Today Caymanians enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world.

The Cayman Islands economy has been affected by the global recession, which affected all three pillars to some extend. Tourism to the Cayman Islands also was in decline for the past couple of years however number of cruise ship arrivals and stay over tourist are on the rise. 2010 figures are the sixth-best in the past decade.