An amnesty that allowed people who overstayed their immigration visas due to the COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions will end on 31 Oct.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Customs and Border Control and Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman urged overstayers to regularise their immigration status before the end of the amnesty or risk fines or prosecution.
The amnesty has been in place since April, as the closure of the CBC office and of Cayman’s borders made it difficult to access visa and work-permit services or to leave the islands.
The statement noted that on 1 Oct., CBC counters will reopen and its new online system will launch, enabling visitors to apply and pay for visa extensions.
“To avoid congestion by appearing in person to the office, CBC is advising that visitors already scheduled to depart the island before 31 October do not need seek an extension before leaving,” the statement said.
CBC also advised that residents whose work permits have been cancelled or will not be renewed should book seats on upcoming repatriation flights offered by Cayman Airways or British Airways.
The agency said Cayman Airways would add extra flights to Miami, Kingston, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic should the need arise.
Anyone found to be working without a valid work permit or working outside their permit terms may be subject to fines or prosecution, WORC’s Compliance Unit pointed out. Also, WORC advised anyone whose term limit on island has expired and who does not intend to apply for permanent residency to depart on a repatriation flight and leave Cayman for a period of one year before applying for another work permit.
“WORC is currently processing all application types and employers are responsible for ensuring all necessary documentation is up to date and written approval granted before the employee commences work,” the statement noted.
Long-term visitors who are homeowners on island and who want to remain for an additional period can make an appointment with CBC, or apply using the online process.
“Once the amnesty expires on 31 October, CBC will increase their compliance checks and those found to be in breach of the law may be subject to fines and/or prosecution,” the statement noted.
The extensions counter at the CBC will resume its regular opening hours from 1 Oct., Monday through Friday between 8:30am and 4pm. Walk-ins will be accepted but booking appointments and using the online system are encouraged. Contact 244-3318 or email [email protected] for questions or to book appointments. Visit www.cbc.gov.ky to use the online system.