In order to live in the Turks and Caicos for part of a year or permanently, one will need government permission and there are a number of different Residency options available.
One way to reside in Turks and Caicos is to have a "Work Permit". This permit allows you to have gainful employment while residing here. This permit your employers may obtain for you. Fees are different for different forms of employment and again, like the the Work Permit must be renewed annually.
Another way to reside here once one knows that it is going to be home for the long term is to apply for a "Permanent Residency Certificate". This permit allows one to reside in the Turks and Caicos Island for the duration of your life. It requires you to make an investment either in business or in a residence of $250,000 USD in Providenciales and $125,000 in outer islands like the South Caicos. A one-time fee is also necessary.
Another permit is the "Permanent Residency with a Right to Work". This is only granted after the applicant has had work permits and been working already on the Island for some time (a 5 year requirement but will probably be a requirement of 10 years working here before application is considered. It is unclear at this time the amount of the investment required by an applicant in business or in residence but it was in the past at least $100,000 USD in Providenciales and $75,000 USD in outer islands.
Once received these certificates allow lifetime residency and with the Certificate with the Right to Work, once granted, allows one to reside and work in the Islands without further permissions. Sometimes, people who have lived in Turks and Caicos and made a considerable contribution and have shown good character might be granted the "Belongership Status" which is usually reserved only for the native people ("Belongers" or sometimes called "Turks Islanders") with voting rights in Turks and Caicos.
The Turks & Caicos Islands is a Common Law, British Dependent Territory which places no restrictions on foreign investment in real estate, the currency is the US dollar, and the language is English. These factors alone make the islands a particularly attractive and convenient jurisdiction for many individuals considering acquiring a second residence or working in the islands.
There are five categories of residency in TCI which arise in different ways, namely:
- Temporary Residence Permits - which are 30 day permits granted to tourists on arrival (can be extended on application for a further 30 days).
- Residence Permits - which entitle individuals to reside in the islands for a period of one year from the date of issuance at a cost to Government of $1,000 USD per annum.
- Permanent Residence Permits (PRC's) - PRC's last for the duration of the life of the holder and extend to the holder's spouse and dependents (until the age of majority when they can apply for their own PRC). PRC's are issued to applicants who have made the requisite investment in TCI and come either with the right to work (i.e. individuals who have held work permits for 5 years) and without the right to work (i.e. the retirement investment category). The investment prerequisite for PRC's in the retirement category varies depending on where the investor acquires property. The fee payable to Government on issuance of a PRC also varies depending upon the category of the Applicant.
- Work Permits Non-Turks & Caicos Islanders require work permits in order to work in the Islands. The majority of work permits are issued on a year to year basis however it is possible to obtain permits for 3 years (employed persons) and 5 years (self-employed persons). It tends to be easier to obtain permits in the self-employed category as applications of non-Belonger employees must demonstrate that the employer was not able to find a suitably qualified Belonger for the post. Employees' work permit applications are generally handled by the employer or through law firms or companies retained by the employer. Organizing, submitting and pursuing a work permit application is an involved process and self-employed persons are best served retaining professional assistance with initial applications. Government work permit fees range from $100 USD per annum in the farming category to $7,000 USD for professionals and business managers. The Immigration Regulations were amended twice in 2001 alone, increasing work permit fees significantly to bring TCI into line with neighboring jurisdictions.
- Citizenship/Belongership - although logically separate (the grant of TCI passports falls under the British Nationality Act - whereas the discretion to grant Belongership rests with TCI Government) these two categories tend to be bound together. Belongership status entitles an individual to vote in general elections, be considered for public offices, and so forth. The possibility of acquiring Belongership status for persons not born to TCI citizens is generally restricted to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the islands.
GETTING A RESIDENCE PERMIT
The Closing Agent for the Resort will facilitate the selection of an attorney who will manage the PRC process for you
What you can expect from your attorney:
(a) Provide you with the application documentation which needs to be completed and provide guidance regarding what information is required and to answer necessary related questions;
(b) Assist you in opening with opening a Turks & Caicos bank account (if required) including helping you to select the right bank for your purposes; providing you with the bank's due diligence requirements in advance; answering related queries; and introducing you to the bank personnel who will have responsibility for your account;
(c) Advise in relation to what evidence Government will accept as evidence of financial capacity, and what information should be omitted;
(d) Advise in relation to the amount of time a permit holder is required to reside in the islands and the nature of the obligations entered into as part of the application process;
(e) Assist you in arranging the blood test;
(f) Review and organize the completed application documentation and supporting information prior to submission;
(g) Submit the application on your behalf; liaise with the Immigration Department; and to collect the Permit for you when it is issued.