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Turks & Caicos - Residency Permit ,Driving Licence questions?

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Had some questions on Turks and Caicos -

1.How do you obtain TC driving License if you have US License? How long does it take?Does it needs a test ?

2. Is Residency permit ( 1 yr) right for me ?
( I am not planning to seek employment. I would be living off my savings for a year and will manage my investment portfolio outside of TC.
Confused if I need Self employment permit worth $ 7000
Would a self-employed permit be issued without a business license?
Would the board renew my self employed permit without submitting proof of a valid business license?
No” )

3.How long does it take to get Residency permit ?

3. Can one transfer the utility bill in their name after renting an apartment for a year?

4. Can the residence permit be applied from outside of TC ?

Would appreciate any input


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    There's a huge difference between residency permit, and a work permit. Residency permit does not allow you to work, even from home as self-employed. Roughly the first year is $1000 for residency with no working rights.

    To work, even from home as self-employed, depends on your "trade" how much you pay, but average for computer based work from home is around $7000 annually. You must apply for a work permit every year. You can not even work for a single day without a permit legally.

    Work permits vary: you have to prove you have something to offer, then you have to prove a Belonger (local born there) can't do that work, or have a Belonger as a partner. They say it takes 1-2 months to receive the permits, I've seen it take 6-8 months. (Why would they be in a hurry for an outsider to make money?) Additionally, unless you have permission (I've rarely seen it granted) you can not work even for a day before getting your permit. This includes self-employed, if you will be using a local bank account. (You'll have to for bills!--unless you pay cash for everything.)

    Self-employment, unless you're working on non T&C issues and funds are staying outside of T&C, then you need a work permit. Additionally, if you use a T&C bank account for bills, then you need a work permit. For ex. you're self-employed. You work from home on the computer, for an American company. You keep the funds in American, only sell to American addresses, but want to do it from your home in T&C. Then it's not an issue.

    Self-employment, you want to do web designs for T&C, then you need a work permit. Say you do web-designs for other countries, and keep all funds in the US. Then you're probably fine. Say you open a T&C bank account, then again, need a work permit.

    US drivers license, to my knowledge, works in T&C. Don't know about having to change that.

    Once you've set up utility deposits, you can transfer to your hearts content. But they do it slowly. (Ex. phone can take up to 3 months!)

    I think you can apply from outside TC, which would be smarter since you can't work before getting a permit (even as self-employed). Eventually you have to do things in person: so you should visit, apply, return to where ever you're from, then when you get the permit move down there.

    Actually for something as important and complicated as you're asking, you should fly down a couple of days and personally visit in person. You will not find this an easy task, even in person, so not going to find out yourself is downright iresponsable.

    Not being self-employed, usually the employer gets the work permits and pays for it.

    By being self-employed, if you are trying to avoid the work permits, that's illegal.

    Really, a short weekday visit to gather information is the thing to do.

    If not, you could hire a lawyer from T&C and do it for you, but it's costly. A residency permit without work will run about $3000 lawyer fees. more if you need a work permit. (which self-employed you still do!)

    You will find similar permits on all Caribbean Islands.

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    blamona- Thanks you for taking time and responding. It was very helpful.

    1. However I am still little confused about Self employed work permit vs Residence permit. I believe with 90 % confidence that I need a Residence permit.
    Per -

    " First time (self- employed) work permit application

    1. Covering letter;
    2. Completed application form signed by applicant;
    3. Local medical certificate obtained within six months;
    4. Two passport sized photos;
    5. Financial bank statement;
    6. Copy of business license and payment receipt;
    7. Proof of legal status or proof of departure;
    8. Required deposit (separate from work permit fee);
    9. Copy of applicant's qualifications and experience.
    10. Police record (police records are not accepted from haiti and dominican republic);
    For item 6 & 8 - I don’t believe I am going to obtain business license or put any deposit as there is no business in the first place.

    I do not plan to take money from other people by doing any online work ( computer web design, data entry , advertising etc)..

    I will occasionally manage my stock account in US with US stock broker . And may be once in a while transfer money from US stock broker account to TC local bank. But again this will be my own money.

    So in short- I would not work for an employer or myself. It would be crazy if TC asks its temporary residents to convert their personnel stock portfolio in US into a business/company, get a business license , put down business deposit and then get a self-employed work permit.

    Do you still think Residence Permit is not fit for me ?
    ( I dont know if this is getting complicated or I am unnecessarily complicating it , but just want your take )

    2 . "US drivers license, to my knowledge, works in T&C. Don't know about having to change that."
    I was thinking of getting a TC drivers license to use as TC Photo ID.
    Does TC Residence permit has a photo on it ?

    3 "I think you can apply from outside TC, which would be smarter since you can't work before getting a permit (even as self-employed). Eventually you have to do things in person: so you should visit, apply, return to where ever you're from, then when you get the permit move down there."

    What kind of things need to be done in person ?

    4.If I send the completed forms, supporting docs and fees , can they mail the residence permit if it is approved ?

    5. If I plant to rent an apartment of 6 months or a 1 Yr do they set up a lease like in US ?

    It would be great if 5 bullets could be answered
    Thank you !

  • Report Abuse

    I really can't answer with certainty, but:

    I've seen people go through it.

    I considered residency. Really all it was for us, was a way to stay longer (with no rights to work) instead of obtaining a Visa to stay passed 30, then 60 days. Some people skip this, and just fly to Miami every couple of months. (They go shopping!) So,

    I highly recomend one of 2:

    1. short visit (this is the cheapest alternative) plus you find out if you truly want to live down there. Not truly a visit for paper work, but to see if you even like island life--have you ever lived on an island before?

    2. Obtain a T&C lawyer. (not worth the money)

    To give you an example of time and mailing: My sister got married there. They said 4-6 weeks to receive her documents of marriage. It took 8 months and 2 sets to get. Gotta love Island Life!!! ;-)

    Funny thing about rentals: most will make you sign for 1 year, but have 30-60 day terminations--this means they don't hold you to the year. For rentals: has the best listings. Be aware, some areas are better than others, some houses are old and dated, but sometimes you'll find a diamond in the rough, so again, good to go down and check it out. Leases are same as US. (except with 30-60 terminations easier to get out of) Also, some have utilities set up, you pay in their behalf, some require you to set up. Most utilities require in person.

    hope this helps

  • Report Abuse

    Blamona Thanks again for your input. !

    A short visit really makes sense. Live a fast life in north east .. not sure how a long term stay on the island would be .

    Sent an email to TC immig. dept. regarding the questions on the permit . Have'nt got a reply yet. That kind of gives an idea on how slow the things could be .

    BTW - Do you know any rentals where the owner lives in the same area ?


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    Did you have any luck with your permits. I am sort of going through the same thing now (with the aim of moving to the TCI in August.) Did you use a lawyer or go independent ? How did it all work for you ? What were the relevant costs etc... ? Any info would be greatly appreciated and maybe I could buy you a beer if you are still on the island !

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