Changes to Immigration Ordinance

 How do I get status in the Turks and Caicos Islands?

Obtaining status in the Turks and Caicos Islands (“TCIs”) is governed by the new Turks and Caicos Islander Status Ordinance 2015, which obtained assent on 30th September 2015.  The Ordinance has not yet come into force, but shall do so once announced in the Gazette.

In essence, a person entering into the TCIs to live or to partake in gainful occupation[1] is required to be: a Turks and Caicos Islander; a British Overseas Territories Citizen; a permanent resident or hold either a:  residence permit; home owner’s permit; a freelancer’s permit; business visitor’s permit; work permit or temporary permit.

Island Status – Turks and Caicos Islander Status

A person can now acquire status by way of right or by grant.

Acquisition by right – this comes into being if one of the following applies and you have an uninterrupted voluntary presence in the TCIs during which the TCIs are regarded as your normal place of abode:

  • You had status immediately before commencement of the Ordinance; or
  • You were born in the TCIs and one parent has status;
  • You were born outside of the TCIs and one parent has status and one parent or grandparent was born in the TCIs;
  • You were born outside of the TCIs but at the time of birth one parent has status and is settled in the TCIs; or
  • You were adopted in the TCIs by a person with status and you are not 18 at the time of adoption.

Acquisition by grant – this comes into being if:

  • You are a British Overseas Territories Citizen or a British Citizen and you have had held either: a Permanent Residence Certificate for at least 5 years; or you have been legally resident in the TCIs for a period of at least 10 years; and in both instances you are not incarcerated nor declared bankrupt; or
  • Your spouse has status otherwise by virtue of marriage and you have lived together for a period of 10 years and have been resident in the TCIs for 2 years; or
  • You were born in the TCIs to parents who at the time of birth were legally resident; you have acquired British Overseas Territories Citizenship; has been legally resident for a period of at least 10 years and is 18; or
  • You are married to a person who has been granted status by virtue of residency and that person was endorsed on a PRC;
  • You are under 18 and are endorsed on a PRC; or
  • You are a child of a person who is the spouse of an Islander, who has not been adopted by the spouse or who is not the biological child of the Islander who was endorsed on that person’s PRC.

The fees for applying for status are: $150 administrative fee; $1,500 application fee if application is by way of marriage or $5,000 application fee for all other applications; and $50 for the status card.

Misick & Stanbrook

November 2015

The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice and is not intended by the authors or Misick & Stanbrook to do so. Before relying on any information or opinion in this article you ought first to obtain advice on your particular circumstances from your Misick & Stanbrook professional.


[1] Gainful occupation, for the purposes of the Ordinance includes a person who engages in an occupation in any capacity in any profession, trade or business for or in the expectation of profit, gain or reward in cash or kind but excludes a person who invests in a business and is not employed in the day-to-day operation of that business or a passive investor.