Surviving Spouse

Skip navigation

Surviving Spouse


"The surviving spouse of a Caymanian who -


  • was married to the deceased for at least seven years;
  • immediately before the death of the deceased, was not living apart from the deceased
    • under the decree of a competent court;
    • under a deed of separation; or
    • in circumstances where in the opinion of the Board the marriage had irretrievably broken down; and
  • has been legally and ordinarily resident* in the Islands immediately preceding the death of the deceased; and
  • has not in any country been convicted of an offence for which a sentence of imprisonment, not exceeding twelve months, has been imposed other than for non-payment of a fine unless
    • such conviction has been quashed on appeal or has been the subject of a free pardon;
    • the act or omission giving rise to such conviction would not be an offence if done or omitted in the Islands in similar circumstances; or
    • the conviction is one which, in the interest of justice the Board directs to be ignored for the purposes of this section,

may apply to the Board for the grant of the right to be Caymanian."

* Legal and ordinary residence means a person’s uninterrupted voluntary physical presence in the Islands for a period of time without legal impediment (other than a tourist visitor or transit passenger) during which period the Islands are regarded as his normal place of abode for the time being, save that –
(a) absences abroad of six consecutive months’ duration or less for, inter alia, purposes of education, health, vacation or business during such period shall count as residence in the
(b) absences abroad of more than six consecutive months but less than one year shall raise the presumption that there has been a break in residence; and
(c) absences abroad for twelve consecutive months or more shall constitute a break in residence..

Note: Where the marriage referred to in (a) above has not subsisted for a period of seven years or the grant of the right to be Caymanian has been refused by the Caymanian Status & Permanent Residency Board, the surviving spouse may apply to the Chief Immigration Officer for the right to permanently reside in the Islands. In considering such an application the Chief Immigration Officer is required by law to take into account the applicant's health and character.

How will my application be assessed?

In the course of processing an application for the right to be Caymanian, the Caymanian Status & Permanent Residency Board is required by law to satisfy itself that-

  • such grant would be in the public interest;
  • adequate consideration has been given to the number of dependants who would be entitled to reside in the Islands or become Caymanian by entitlement should the application be granted;
  • that it would be in the interest of the Islands to grant such application if the number of dependants becoming Caymanian by entitlement would be more than three;
  • the applicant has not committed an act of insolvency or bankruptcy, or been involved as a shareholder or director of any company or other entity which has been the subject of liquidation especially where creditors have been adversely affected;
  • the applicant-
    • is of good character and conduct;
    • has to his credit three good character references received by the Board directly from three Caymanians; and
    • has a clean criminal record and has not been involved with illegal drugs;
  • the applicant is of good health and does not suffer from any form of communicable or mental disease that would make him a danger to the community;
  • the applicant has not been involved in organising or engaging in any subversive political activity, nor has he organised, caused or promoted racialism or any illegal activity within the Islands;
  • the continued residence of the applicant and his family will contribute to the well being of the Islands;
  • the economic situation of the Islands and the protection of persons already engaged in similar gainful occupations have been duly considered;
  • adequate consideration has been given to the desirability of granting the right to be Caymanian to applicants with different backgrounds and from different geographical areas so that a suitable balance in the social and economic life of the Islands may be maintained; and
  • adequate consideration has been given to the desirability of retaining the economic resources of the Island in the control of Caymanians.

If my application is refused, will I have the right of appeal?

Yes. An appeal against the decision of the Caymanian Status & Permanent Residency Board to refuse the application may be made to the Immigration Appeals Tribunal within twenty-eight days of the communication of the decision. The fee for making an appeal is CI$250.00. An appeal may be lodged on the ground that it is:

  • erroneous in law;
  • unreasonable;
  • contrary to the principles of natural justice; or
  • at variance with the Immigration Regulations

Can the right to be Caymanian be lost?

Yes. For detailed information on how the right to be Caymanian may be lost, please see our revocation page.

Last Updated: 2012-09-30