The Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory made up of three low–lying islands in the Caribbean. At 76 square miles, Grand Cayman is the largest of the three islands and home to the world-famous seven mile beach, cruise ship docs, and the capital city of George Town. Nature lovers should head to Cayman Brac or Little Cayman for fabulous scuba diving opportunities.
A U.S. citizen needs a valid passport to visit the Cayman Islands, as many of the Caribbean Islands count as international travel destinations. Here’s what you need to know about entry requirements before you go.
The Cayman Islands fall under the 2007 Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which means you’ll need a valid passport to visit the islands no matter what mode of travel you use to get there. All American air travelers must hold a valid passport book, but a U.S. passport card is sufficient if you’re traveling by sea.
Visas and Permits
As a United States citizen, you do not need a visa to visit the Cayman Islands for tourism. If you plan to do any work during your stay, you’ll need to contact the Cayman Islands Department of Immigration in advance to arrange a work permit. Permits have two durations: a temporary permit, which lasts up to six months, and an annual permit which lasts longer than six months. Be sure to look into the visa requirements for the specific visa you’d like to request. The maximum length of time most people can work in the Cayman Islands on a permit is seven years.
When you arrive, you’ll pass through Cayman Islands Customs and have your documents checked. The Department of Tourism advises getting everything ready in advance to ensure a stress–free experience. You’ll need to show your passport, but you also need to complete a tourist identification card and a customs declaration card, which you’ll receive on the plane or ship. Immigration officials will give you an immigration card; keep it in a safe place with your other travel documents as you’ll need to present it to officials again when you leave the Islands.
Although crime is low in the Cayman Islands, petty crime is always a possibility when you travel, so it’s wise to take precautions with valuables and your passport. Keep your passport close to your body, for example in a money belt worn under your clothing rather than in a fanny pack or jacket pocket. If you lose your passport or have it stolen, contact the United States Consulate in Georgetown or the United States Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, to arrange for a replacement. The State Department advises bringing a spare set of suitable passport photos with you on overseas trips to expedite a new passport should you need one.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC recommends that all travelers get the most recent dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before traveling. However, the Cayman Islands do not currently have any vaccine requirements. Be sure to look up the local laws surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic before you go.