Sometimes you need to make the adventure of a lifetime your permanent vibe! We know how tempting it is to get more of that sunny, laid-back lifestyle. As we’re sure all our dedicated friends and fans know, the Big Blue Collective can offer it’s unique, in-depth perspective on our beautiful Turks and Caicos home because our operators aren’t transient here only for the holiday season. We’re resident in the TCI year-round, and this gives us a depth of understanding of this beautiful, wild place it’s difficult to match. With that in mind, knowing that we have many people looking to come not just for a holiday, but for a lifetime, we’ve assembled our easy guide to moving to the Turks and Caicos.
How does TCI residency work?
To move to the TCI, you’ll need to get your residency in order. Many foreigners below retirement age start working towards residency through work permits. We’re particularly short in the academic, medical and engineering fields, as well as in many other niche specialities. Work permits will typically last 1-2 years, and you will need 10 years of uninterrupted residency to apply for more permanent status. Do be aware that a criminal record, and some kinds of medical issues, could be a hurdle for you.
You have both temporary and permanent options open to you. Temporary residency is pretty easy to establish if you’re willing to invest in real estate here. You’ll need $500,000 on Provo or West Caicos, or $250,000 on other islands. The permit costs $1500 annually- so don’t forget to renew!
The real estate route is also a solid path to permanent residency if you have outside income or independent means. Permanent residency does not confer the right to work automatically, so otherwise you may need to keep renewing a work permit. On Provo, you will need real estate assets over $1,000,000, or just $300,000 on other islands. You can then submit your application for permanent residency, which will put you back about $27,000 in total. There are also qualifying business options, which will also require a significant investment and for at least 60% of the workforce to be locals, not work permit holders.
To muddy the waters a little, if you’re looking to actively participate in local government, like through voting, you will need to acquire Turks and Caicos Islander status, which needs 10 years of permanent residency, or 5 if your spouse happens to be a local. Turks and Caicos- British Overseas Territory Citizenship will confer a TCI passport on you.
Is living in the TCI good?
If you’ve ever visited the islands for yourself, you’ll know how exquisite the vistas here are. From our world-famous soft beaches to the turquoise waters, it’s hard not to fall in love. Is that all the Turks and Caicos has to offer, however?
Not at all! When you arrive in the TCI, you’re arriving in a stable island nation with economic security and no unrest. As we’re a British Overseas Territory, we also use a very similar legal system. Our currency is the US dollar. So day-to-day activities will feel familiar to you. In other great news, we have an attractive tax structure, with no property or capital gains tax, no inheritance tax, and no corporate tax for registered businesses or income tax for people. Of course, we are also a developing nation, so some of our services like post and courier may seem a little slow to you if you’re used to a fast-paced business environment.
In part due to the holiday-focused economy of the islands, we also have fantastic amenities, restaurants and shops, and it’s not hard to find premium luxury real estate to enjoy. In short, the standard of living is exceptional. Real estate can also be a great investment here, again due to the tourism-focused nature of the economy, so you can expect to see your asset appreciate even as you enjoy it. Provo is, by far, our most developed island, and amenities on some of the smaller islands can be a little lacking. This may draw you to them, however, depending on the living experience you are looking for.
Is this one of the best places to live in the world? We may be biased, but we believe so!
What is it like working in the TCI?
Of course, it’s always a little different living somewhere than it is coming on holiday. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to max out your tourist visa stay at first, and chat to locals as you enjoy everything the island has to offer. This will give you a more in-depth insight into the pace and expectations of life here. We do have reliable internet services, and several shopping chains will cover your day-to-day grocery needs.
Will it be easy to move my belongings to the TCI?
While an international move is always something of a challenge, you can rest assured that you will not encounter significant issues moving containers to the Turks and Caicos. Regular cargo flights from main ports like Miami will keep you connected. The TCI has recently spent a great deal of money on infrastructure upgrades that make flights and movement between the islands and many other countries a lot simpler.
If you’re looking for a permanent home or retirement destination packed with friendly people, the best of island culture, sunny days year-round and excitement at every corner, the Turks and Caicos may be the right place for you. If you’d like to know anything more about island life, do feel free to reach out to the Big Blue Collective team with your questions! We’re always here to help.