PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands — The Ministry of Border Control today announced the tripling of the maximum period that business people and tourists can spend in this British Overseas Territory without seeking an extension of stay.
This means that effective May 1, visitors can now spend three months in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) before applying to stay here longer.
“The rules, promulgated in guidance to ministry staff today, were made in an amendment to the Immigration Ordinance on January 16, 2009 which says that, instead of 30 days, Immigration Officers granting entry to a visitor should normally give leave to enter and remain for a period not exceeding 90 days,” said a statement from the Ministry of Border Control.
However, it said that immigration officers will be allowed to grant leave of less than 90 days in cases where there is doubt as to the visitors’ intentions but it is expected that this provision would only be used sparingly.
“Importantly too, strict measures would still be in place to deal with any abuse,” the statement added.
On making the announcement, Clara Gardiner, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Border Control and Labour said the move displays that the TCI is open for business and investment.
“As we look to bring on economic recovery, it's key that we make it clear that TCI welcomes genuine visitors and investors to the islands. Our new 90-day policy is intended to reflect that,” she said.
“Take for example a retired couple from abroad who own property in the TCI and wish to visit for a long vacation, or the investor supervising the setting up a new business. There's no reason we should be making them hurry home or seek multiple extensions.”
Gardiner said such visitors are not competing in the local job market, nor do they place a burden on public services.
“But they do contribute significantly to the local economy and give generously to local charities and community events. People like these should be welcomed to these shores, TCI should be encouraging them to plan for an extended hassle-free stay,” she added.