Character references (x3);
Notarized copy or original marriage certificate (if married) or other
evidence of relationship (passport);
birth certificates (for spouse and dependent children).
can expect from your attorney:
(a) to provide you
with the application documentation which needs to be completed and provide
guidance regarding what information is required and to answer necessary
(b) to 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) to advise in
relation to what evidence Government will accept as evidence of financial
capacity, and what information should be omitted;
(d) to 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
(e) to assist you in
arranging the blood test;
(f) to review and
organize the completed application documentation and supporting
information prior to submission;
(g) to submit the
application on your behalf; liaise with the Immigration Department; and to
collect the Permit for you when it is issued.
CONDOMINIUM IN THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS
In recent years the
condominium market in Providenciales has generated increasing interest and
activity. Completed developments have to date have been located along
Grace Bay’s ten mile beach and include high quality developments such as
the residential “Grand View on Grace Bay” and condominium resorts such as
“Ocean Club”; “Ocean Club West”; “Pointe Grace” and “Royal West Indies
Resort”, While these figures indicate a buoyant market even in these
uncertain times, a word of caution: buying a condominium can be much more
complicated than buying a single family detached house. In essence, the
purchase of a condominium unit is the purchase of (expensive) air space
being the area between the inner surfaces of the floors, ceilings and
walls their unit. The Strata Corporation, of which each purchaser will be
a member, will own and be responsible for maintaining the rest of the
building structure, including the walls, hallways, elevators, grounds,
parking areas, plumbing, wiring and everything beyond the units inner
On Providenciales, prospective
purchasers are faced with a choice: whether to purchase a new condominium
unit in a new development or purchase a resale unit in an existing
development. There is no right or wrong answer to the question of whether
to purchase a resale or a new condominium. While there are many advantages
to purchasing a new condominium, purchasers of new condominiums should be
aware that there are almost always construction issues. Naturally, these
issues range in significance and are generally resolved without much
difficulty however the attendant delays and occasional stress can dampen a
purchaser’s initial enthusiasm for the condominium.
Perhaps the main advantage of
a resale condominium is the benefit of speaking with existing owners about
the development generally and obtaining from them an experienced
perspective on the development and its operation. Prudent purchasers will
make any offer to purchase contingent on their receipt and acceptance of a
structural engineer’s report. The cost of the inspection and report will
vary but will, according to Chris Conway of Civil Engineering Design
Services, be in the region of US$750.00 and is generally paid by the
To better inform themselves
and to reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse, savvy purchasers will generally
ask some or all of the following questions:
1. What are the
monthly condominium fees and are they comparable with those of nearby
developments? Are there any increases or special assessments planned by
the Strata Corporation within the next twelve months?
2. What is the
financial condition of the Strata Corporation and does it have a
replacement or reserve fund? What level of fire and liability insurance
has the Strata Corporation purchased?
3. Does the
condominium development have professional management? If not, what is the
reason for this? While smaller developments of two to six units usually
cannot afford a professional management firm, larger developments should
hire outside management. Typically, in the case of a new development, the
management company will likely be associated with the developer; in the
case of a resale unit, the management company may be more independent.
4. Do the By Laws of
the Strata Corporation impose any unusual restrictions or obligations upon
owners? In particular, watch for unusual limitations, such as a
prohibition of pets or a forced rental pool. While such restrictions may
be an attraction for some purchasers it highlights the importance of
purchasers satisfying themselves as to the nature of the development into
which they will be investing.
5. How many
condominium owners own more then one condominium in the development? If
the developer has retained and resides in one condominium, that’s
excellent. However if the developer has retained a significant number of
units and rents them to tenants, that’s bad. The reasoning in this latter
respect being that should the developer default in the payment of its
Strata Corporation fees, the Corporation could slip into financial
trouble. Further, it is usually a good sign that a number of the owners
own more than one unit in the development as it shows that they like the
development and presumably believe that it to be a good investment.
6. Are there any
special contracts or sweetheart leases with the developer? If you learn
that the developer retains title to part of the development, such as a
recreation area or parking garage/area, and rents it to the Strata
Corporation, this is not a good situation as the developer can
unilaterally raise the rent. It is however quite common for developers to
retain as “out parcels” portions of the development upon which they will
place facilities such as shops, bars and restaurants.
The developer or real estate
agent should be able to provide much of this information without
difficulty and any offer to purchase should be contingent upon the
purchaser’s approval (or their attorneys’ approval) all this information.
In this regard, should you
hire an attorney to assist you in the purchase? The prudent answer must
be: Yes: the value of obtaining independent legal advice from an attorney
who represents your interests rather than those of the developer cannot be
overstated. No investment is risk free but retaining an experienced
attorney who can assist you in navigating the pitfalls that can befall an
unwitting purchaser can reduce much of the risk associated with any
property transaction. In circumstances where condominium prices continue
to rise and the number of condominium developments increases apace in the
Turks and Caicos Islands, the potential cost of not taking advice will
rise also and, accordingly, the maxim caveat emptor is as true
today as ever before.
Finally, do not be dissuaded:
condominiums can be wonderful personal residences and excellent long-term
investments. However, purchasers can’t ask too many questions before
taking the plunge.
LIVING & WORKING IN TCI
A strong US Dollar, no direct
taxation and a better quality of life are three of the many reasons why
people continue moving to the Turks & Caicos (“TCI”). Those wishing to
retire will need to familiarize themselves with residency requirements:
those embarking on new careers will have to obtain work permits and where
self employed, business licenses.
Non-Turks & Caicos Islanders
require work permits in order to work in the Islands[i].
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 US$100 per annum in the farming category to US$7,000 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. More detailed
information on the fees currently payable for work permits can be found
at the firm's website.
Businesses operating in the
Islands are required to hold business licenses[ii].
Businesses engaging in activities in two or more categories must now pay
for each license in full[iii].
Certain business categories
are reserved for Belongers or Belonger owned businesses[iv]
- (e.g. restaurant operations, real estate agency and retail sales)
however, non-Belonger businesses may obtain licenses in reserved
categories where it is established that there will be a substantial
benefit to the community as a result.
Licensing fees vary depending
upon the business category – e.g. a license to farm is free: a license to
operate a hotel of more than 99 rooms costs US$10,000. The categories of
businesses and related fees can be found at the
with it the entitlement to vote at TCI general elections. Acquisition of
Belongership other than by birth is restricted to persons who have made a
substantial contribution to the Islands.
Certificates ("PRC’s") are granted for life providing security of
tenure to retirees and investors in TCI. PRC’s can also create residency
related tax benefits. The prerequisites to application vary depending
upon the applicant’s situation, however, most PRC applications are based
upon one of the following:
1. A qualifying
investment in the islands - e.g. buying a home or business in
Providenciales for US$500,000 or more, or on one of the less developed
islands of more than US$125,000. [“Investment/Retirement” PRCs do not
come with the right to work in the islands (with limited exceptions). The
Government fee is US$15,000 on issuance]; or
2. Holding a
work permit for 5 years. The Government fee is US$50,000 for
self-employed persons US$30,000 for skilled employees and US$8,000 for
unskilled workers. The prerequisites for PRC applications and
corresponding fees have been added to the firm's
Residence Permits may
be issued for up to three (3) years entitling the holders to remain in the
islands for the duration of the permit otherwise than for the purpose of
engaging in any gainful employment. They cost US$1,000 per year.
Immigration, residency and
work permits are complex and changing areas of law which are too broad to
cover in this article. Persons considering moving to the islands should
seek specific professional advice in each case to ensure that all
situation specific requirements are met.
The Immigration Ordinance 1990, as amended
The Business Licensing Ordinance
Business Licensing (Amendment) Regulations 2001
A company is Belonger owned if the majority of
the voting shares/stock is beneficially owned by a Belonger.
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