As Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases remain high worldwide, travel into and out of the Cayman Islands has been impacted as the government continues to carefully manage the risks involved.
To make things easier, we have created a step-by-step guide to help you through the process of returning home, based on the current isolation and quarantine parameters in effect (January 2022) for the Cayman Islands, including what steps need to be taken to prepare for your flight for those who are fully vaccinated, those who are not and for children under 18.
On 8th July 2021, Premier Wayne Panton unveiled a five-phase reopening plan for Cayman's borders. While transition through the phases remains dependent on the local and international COVID-19 climate, the plan puts forward target dates for a return of tourism and an easing of restrictions. Presently, as of 20th January 2022, Cayman has moved into Phase 5, at which point travel restrictions for unvaccinated children have now been eased significantly.
Whether you are a Caymanian looking to return home or a tourist looking to visit the Cayman Islands, you may be unsure about which flights are actually operating. This page details which airlines have resumed fully commercial travel, as well as those who are looking to do so in the near future.Read More
On This Page
1. Preparing for Your Flight
Who Are Eligible to Travel to Cayman?
- Vaccinated travellers (securely/non-securely verifiable)
- Unvaccinated returning Caymanians, Residents or Work Permit Holders
- Unvaccinated visitors with close ties to the Island, e.g. owns a local property or business, spouse, child, civil partner, parent, step-parent, or grandparent of a Caymanian/Resident
- Travellers under age 18 who have been vaccinated with one dose (only if their jurisdiction allows one dose for their age group).
*As of January 20th 2022, unvaccinated, accompanied children (those under the age of 18) can now enter the Cayman Islands, including:
- Children aged 0 - 11 can now take the vaccination status of their accompanying parent/guardian
- Children aged 5 - 11 can follow the same pre-arrival and post-arrival testing regimes as their accompanying adult
Prior to booking your flight, persons wishing to travel to the Cayman Islands must first apply for pre-travel approval via the TravelCayman portal. If you are fully vaccinated (with a securely-verifiable vaccination), you must apply for a Travel Declaration, which has become a much smoother process following entry into Phase 4 of the border reopening. You must submit your declaration to travel within 3 months of your travel date (and not before), and if approved, you will be issued a Travel Declaration Certificate with an 'eligibility date' i.e. date of expiration, often within 3 months of applying. You must take this Declaration Certificate with you when travelling. You can apply for a Travel Declaration if you:
- have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least two weeks prior to travelling/date of arrival in the Cayman Islands
- have taken a full course of a WHO approved vaccine
- have a digital copy of your securely verifiable vaccination, with a unique QR code or a vaccination record (such as those issued by MyHSA)
- satisfy all other rules and regulations
If you are not fully vaccinated and/or subject to quarantine requirements, you must apply for a Travel Request with TravelCayman. This means that, as per in place for all travellers previously, travellers who are travelling with at least one individual who meets the below points must have their travel request approved:
- does not have a securely verifiable vaccination
- is not vaccinated
- is subject to quarantine requirements (as per the regulations)
Once registered, you can then book your flight directly with the approved airline carriers. Although other websites are advertising flight bookings to the Cayman Islands, please be advised that only certain airlines have returned to fully commercial travel, including Cayman Airways Ltd (CAL) and British Airways (BA). The Government reminds visitors that, if they are booking flights from other airline providers, they are doing so at their own risk. For more information about flights entering and leaving Cayman, see this page. For information on applying for a travel declaration or request, see the TravelCayman portal.
Travel from the following countries has been restricted as of November 26th 2021: Belgium, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. People who travel to, from or through these countries within the 21 days preceding their arrival in the Cayman Islands, must undergo PCR testing within 72 hours prior to their travel date and again within 24 hours of arrival in the Cayman Islands, and must also complete a quarantine period of not less than 14 days. In the December 16th 2021 CI Government press briefing they talked about removing this restriction now that the Omicron variant is everywhere.
Further Arrival Notes:
All travellers to the Cayman Islands, and those wanting to travel to the Sister Islands, must now have a PCR test or a Certified Lateral Flow Test no earlier than the day before departure and the result must be negative.
If you are fully vaccinated...
Inbound travellers who have completed their COVID-19 vaccination course with one of the approved vaccinations (AstraZeneca, Janssen, Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech) at least two weeks prior to travelling and are over the age of 12 must undergo pre-arrival PCR and/or certified LFT testing, but do not have to test upon arrival.
If you are not fully vaccinated...
When applying for pre-travel approval, travellers who are NOT fully vaccinated must declare their preferred quarantine option, agree to undergo pre-arrival PCR/certified LFT testing up to 72 hours before departure (if aged 5 and above)*, and take another test on their last day in quarantine (day 15), and understand that a negative test result must be produced in order to complete their quarantine period.*Children aged 0-4 will not be tested prior to or following arrival.
For children ages 5 and up who have just returned from international travel, a negative PCR test result is required before they can return to school.
The TravelCayman team can be contacted directly by emailing TravelCayman@gov.ky, or by calling their customer representative line: 1 (345) 743 8463. Phone lines are open Monday-Friday 8.30am-5pm.
2. Arrival at the Cayman Islands Airport
Passengers must present their travel authorisation certificate (Declaration or Approved Request) issued by TravelCayman along with any other standard documents required for travel at check-in from their place of departure. If you are subject to quarantine, you will then be equipped with a geo-fencing monitoring device and wristband. Upon arrival at the Owen Roberts International Airport (GCM) in Grand Cayman, passengers will collect their luggage and depending on your pre-approved quarantine option, you will either be taken privately by taxis to your place of residence for home-isolation, or placed on a bus and taken directly to your designated government-led isolation facility.
If you are not subject to quarantine, you are allowed to make your own travel arrangements from the airport.
For children under 18...
Remember that as of 20th January 2022 - children can now adopt the same vaccination status as their parent and/or guardian (see notes above). Travel Management will provide Transport with a list of all parents, legal guardians, and approved adults that will be collecting unaccompanied minors at the airport and the adult must verify their identification. Both the adult and child will then be transported to the designated quarantine location by an authorized taxi (or to their place of residence, depending on the vaccination status of their parents).
If you are a securely verifiable, fully vaccinated traveller, you must...
- Provide proof of having received the COVID-19 vaccination from the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority, the UK's NHS or were issued a SMART Health Card from certain North American States and the EU (click here for a full list of countries included), and
- Have proof of a negative COVID result, either from a PCR or LFT (lateral flow test/rapid antigen-detecting test*
* If you are travelling to the Island, you can now use a negative LFT result to receive travel approval. However, your test must be done no earlier than 24 hours before your flight departs, even if it's a PCR.
If you fulfil the above requirements then you are not required to quarantine. However, you must agree to take a Rapid Lateral Flow Test (LFT) on days 2, 5 and 10 after arrival (3 tests in total). These LFTs must be administered by a Registered Health Professional. Upon arrival, each traveller will be given 'Lateral Flow Testing Cards', and the card must be certified by a healthcare provider for each test administered. Costs of lateral flow tests are to be paid for by travellers and they are often CI$25 per test from most local providers. You can have an approved LFT administered at several different clinics/locations on-Island. For a list of all approved providers, see this link.
you are a non-securely verifiable vaccinated traveller, but you are
travelling from a place where the vaccination rate is below 60% for
levels of the first doses, you must undergo 7 days quarantine (with an
exit test on day 8).
If you are non-securely verifiable fully vaccinated, but have travelled from a country with vaccination rates over 60% or higher for the first dose within at least 14 days prior to the date of travel, you are not required to quarantine.
If you are not fully vaccinated...
You are required to remain in isolation for a minimum of 10 days upon arrival, after which you will undergo PCR testing on the 11th day and upon receiving a negative test result that has been signed off by the Medical Officer of Health, you can conclude your isolation period. Test results can take anywhere from 48-72 hours to confirm. If your test result is positive, you will have to remain in isolation for a further 10 days until you receive a negative test, or receive further guidance from medical professionals.
Anyone who is not a resident of the Cayman Islands must have a valid health insurance policy that has COVID-19 coverage. If these provisions are violated, you are committing an offence and are liable to a CI$1,000 fine and 6 months imprisonment.
There are now two different options that you can choose from (unless you qualify for essential travel): Quarantining at home, or a Privately Run facility.
1. Quarantine at Residence
Caymanians and Permanent Residence holders may apply to quarantine at their private residence providing they agree to the terms and conditions of the Quarantine at Residence Programme. If you are participating in the Quarantine at Residence Programme and you have other persons in your household, all members of the household will be subject to the same requirements. For more information, visit our Quarantine at Home page.
2. Quarantine at a Privately Run Facility
If you would like to quarantine at a Privately Run facility (which includes Palm Heights, The Marriott Beach Resort, Sunshine Suites, The Ritz-Carlton, The Wyndham Reef Resort, The Holiday Inn and The Kimpton Seafire) you must contact these facilities directly. Once you have booked your accommodation, let the Government know the details (e.g. your reservation number) so that they can complete the approval of your application to travel into Cayman. Prices will vary, depending on the package and length of stay.
Government Sponsored Quarantine:
Government sponsored quarantine is only offered to those who can provide TravelCayman with proof of essential travel. Types of travel that are considered 'essential' include: students returning to Cayman from studies overseas, travel for essential Government business, medical travel, persons representing the Islands at a sporting event, and more. For more information on what constitutes 'essential travel', see this link.
Upon receiving a negative certified LFT result (a PCR result is not necessarily required now as of 20th January 2022), you are now eligible to leave your isolation facility. It is still advised that persons remain cautious, use their best judgement and wear face-coverings whenever they feel is necessary (however, most businesses in Cayman now require a mask upon entry). Continue to remain a safe distance from persons outside your immediate family and practise safe hygiene by washing your hands and avoiding touching areas around your mouth and nose.