Digital Nomad Visas are all the rage in 2020, with the Cayman Islands being one of the latest countries jumping on the remote working bandwagon.
The Cayman Islands are now offering professionals who are employed outside of the country, and who have the ability to work remotely, the chance to live and work in paradise.
They call their digital nomad visa program the ‘Global Citizen Concierge Program’, which grants up to a 2-year pass to work-from-home, in the Cayman Islands.
Like with every other nation currently offering digital nomad visas, there are some pros and cons to consider before packing your bags.
Below we’ll go over the details for the Cayman Island’s Global Citizen Concierge Program, both the good and the not so good, as well as compare it to some other Caribbean nations with similar offers.
Cayman Island’s Global Citizen Concierge Program
At A Glance
$100,000 / year single
$150,000/ year for couples
$180,000/ year for an adult or couple with 1 or more children.
up to 2 years
$1,469 (covers 1-2 people), $500 extra for each child dependant
Other Requirements/ Supporting Documents:
- Police check
- Proof of travel health insurance
- Notarized bank reference
- Copy of passport photo page
Pros of The Cayman Island’s Global Citizen Concierge Program
Extremely Low Covid Cases
For many digital nomads, especially those currently living in the USA, the thought of jetting off to an island where Covid hardly exists sounds like heaven on Earth.
Although they have seen a slight resurgence (and I mean slight) since opening their borders in October, it’s so minuscule compared to the case numbers of the world stage. The Cayman Islands have only seen 245 total cases, 1 death, and as of November 5, only 11 active cases.
While there are still many safety protocols in place on the islands, like social distancing and mask-wearing, nomads can enjoy life and work without the constant paranoia of the virus.
Office workers all over the world dream of working beachside and the Caymans give any professional with the option of working remotely that exact chance. Great weather, fresh air, perfect views, tons of open space, and a generally more relaxed lifestyle are all found on the islands. Especially at this time of year, the dream of escaping election stress or a cold winter sounds more enticing by the minute.
Water-babies would love to relocate to the Cayman Islands, as they have some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world. Residents can swim with stingrays, visit coral reefs, discover shipwrecks, walk along Seven Mile Beach, and have easy access to any type of watersport available.
The Cayman Islands are offering the longest remote work visa on the market right now, with most other nations offering only 1 year. The ability to have a 2-year visa, with unlimited trips allowed in and out of the country, allows for a nomad to create a nice little home base for a while.
Flights to Miami only take 1.5 hours, giving easy access to a great international airport for remote workers who need to travel.
Cons of the Cayman Island’s Global Citizen Concierge Program
Tough Entry Requirements
Anyone who applies for the program and gets approval will have to abide by all entry requirements and rules, which currently includes multiple tests, quarantines, and even a monitoring device upon arrival in the Cayman Islands
All inbound travelers are required to:
- Undergo COVID-19 testing upon arrival at the Owen Roberts International Airport (day 0) and again on day 15; and
- Remain in isolation for a minimum of 14 days, after which a day 15 negative test result and sign off by the Medical Officer of Health is required for the quarantine period to cease. Then another 24-72 hour period may follow to wait for results in quarantine
- Wear a personal monitoring device for the entire length of quarantine
Cost of Living
While the cost of living in the Cayman Islands is very high when compared to other digital nomad hotspots, it’s more or less on par with the other Caribbean nations offering remote work visas. While all of the Caribbean is known for a higher cost of living, the value the Cayman’s can offer might not jive with every flexible entrepreneur.
Let’s take the cost of accommodation for example: An average 2 bed/ 2 bath condo with a good location will start around $3,500 USD per month, which could add up to over $40,000 per year on just rent alone.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Cayman Islands have essentially been sealed shut. They finally started allowing select categories of incoming passengers on October 1st, months after other Caribbean nations had already reopened for tourism.
This is a very important fact to mention because as second waves are currently overwhelming many countries around the world, another lockdown will greatly affect anyone residing in the Caymans. Since the Cayman Islands have shown they are very serious about containing the virus, it’s not a stretch to hypothesize another full border or airport closure could easily happen again, restricting movement of anyone living in the Caymans, or even prohibiting family or friends coming in to visit.
Proof of Income
Let’s be frank about this – You’ve got to be pretty wealthy to even qualify for this program. Not to say that many digital nomads are not high-income earners, but the nomadic lifestyle allows remote workers to earn less in general, without having to downgrade the quality of life.
Even if you are a single parent with only 1 child, you have to prove at least $180,000 USD/year of income. Rightfully so, because living in the Cayman Island’s will require a certain amount of money, but that is a steep requirement no matter how you justify it.
It seems the Cayman Island’s end goal is really to attract high-level executives with remote working capabilities.
How The Cayman Islands Remote Work Visa Compares
Cost of the Program:
Cayman Islands $1,469
The Cayman Island’s comes out to be middle of the pack when cost of the visa is compared to other Caribbean nations, but much more expensive when compared to other worldwide options.
Caribbean: Anguilla $2000, Barbados $2000, Antigua and Barbuda $1,500, and Bermuda $263
Worldwide: Estonia €100, Georgia free, Dubai $287
Cayman Islands $100,000 (up to $180,000) per year
Cayman’s income requirement is currently the highest in the world.
Caribbean: Anguilla ‘enough to support’, Bermuda ‘enough to support’, Barbados $50,000, Antigua and Barbuda $50,000
Worldwide: Estonia €42,000, Georgia $24,000, Dubai $60,000
While the islands are gorgeous and the weather is incredible, the high cost of living, the considerable amount of yearly income needed and the upfront costs of the visa will discourage many digital nomads, even if they can afford it, due to the value simply not being there.
The Caymans have a chance to attract some growing medium-income entrepreneurs if they lowered the bar slightly, but so far they just seem to be only after one demographic.
Many digital nomads who want to stay in the Caribbean will likely choose other islands with much easier income and entry requirements.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories
Originally published November 5, 2020