Welcome to the United Kingdom

The CIGO UK Welcome Pack for new and returning arrivals to the UK.

Useful informaton and advice if you are returning to the UK to live after COVID-19, coming back to school or university or are arriving in the UK to study for the first time. 

We are here to support you, and want to say … Welcome to the UK!

Please stay connected with us and sign up below: 

André Ebanks

Welcomes you to the UK

André Ebanks
Qualified attorney, civil servant with experience in public policy development and a degree in Sociology, a past Gender Equality Tribunal member and  former Human Rights Committee member.

Phillippa Knights

Assistant Representative, Culture

Born and raised in Cayman, Phillippa has been with the Cayman Islands Government Office in the UK since May 2015, her invaluable service to the office includes promoting Caymanian cultural projects in the UK, leading Student Affairs, and coordinating office activities and special events. Phillippa comes from a background of Human Resources, and prior to joining CIGO Phillippa held a position as HR Manager at the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands.

Charles Parchment

Deputy Representative
Charles Parchment is the Cayman Islands Government Deputy Representative in the UK and Europe. Born and raised in the Cayman Islands, Charles has been with the Cayman Islands Government Office in the UK since May 2002, initially founding and heading up the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau and comes from a background of International Relations and Business Administration. As Deputy Representative, Charles is centrally responsible for supporting the Representative to accomplish his representative duties and other vital mandates.

Follow us

Latest tweets

Cayman Connection Welcomes You

Connect with Caymanians and those associated with Cayman in the UK.

Cayman Connection is a network for individuals and groups associated with the Cayman Islands who now live overseas. We work closely with the network to provide support for Caymanians overseas,  please be sure to become a member HERE if you would like to stay connected. 

If you are from Cayman and have just arrived in the United Kingdom then become a Cayman Connection member today.

Coming to the UK - Life with and after COVID

In these uncertain times situations and regulations can change quickly so please stay up to date with UK advisories.

Currently when entering the UK directly from the Cayman Islands there is no need to self-isolate, however, please check for updates on UK Government travel advice: UK TRAVEL CORRIDORS LINK (List of countries and territories from where you can travel to England and may not have to self-isolate.)

Once you have arrived in the UK there are some changes required to how you go about life.

Currently, face masks must be worn in shops and on public transport, with social distancing of 1.0m+ currently observed in public places, also where available use sanitiser when out or carry your own for use after touching surfaces.

Local press, news and media will provide updates relating to COVID and any local changes, however you can also stay up to date with Government guidance and advice about Coronavirus: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Additional guidance is available for staying safe outside your home, be aware that there is different guidance for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland: STAYING SAFE OUTSIDE YOUR HOME

Also for current advice on shielding: GUIDANCE FOR SHIELDING  LINK

Frequently Asked Questions - UK COVID

UK COVID INFORMATION – www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Is the UK still in lockdown?
The UK is not currently in full lockdown, however circumstances may change. Local councils now have the authority to lock down by region, so if local outbreaks of COVID are identified additional restrictions may be put in place. Some of the North of England is now in partial lockdown, including Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire are now prohibited from meeting people from different households indoors. The rest of the UK is on “Stay Alert” and is not in lockdown, details below.

What can and can’t I do in the UK?

The UK message is “Stay alert”

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance from people not in your household (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

UK FAQs – what you can and can not do

Do I have to isolate/quarantine when I arrive?
Currently when entering the UK directly from the Cayman Islands there is no need to self-isolate, however please check for updates on UK Government travel advice for travel corridors. (List of countries and territories from where you can travel to England and may not have to self-isolate.)

If I feel symptoms what should I do?
If you are showing key symptoms – a new continuous cough, a temperature, or loss of taste or smell – contact the NHS to further discuss by calling 111 and request a COVID Test. Or visit NHS TESTING  for information on requesting a test. Should you be showing key symptoms or your results are positive, in the UK you must self-isolate for at least 10 days.

Who can I socialise with?
Adults who live by themselves and single parents with children under 18 living at home in England can join up with one other household to create a support bubble. 

Forming this support bubble means you effectively become one household  – you can act as if you all lived together. This means you can do things such as go round to their house, stay the night and travel together in private vehicles. You don’t need to socially distance from others in your support bubble.

But once you’ve formed your support bubble, you can’t change who’s in it. From 4 July, you are also able to spend time inside with one other household. This is different from a support bubble as you’ll need to socially distance from people in the other household, and you shouldn’t spend time together in places where you can’t keep your distance, such as in cars.

What should I still avoid doing in the UK?
It remains the case that you should not:

  • socialise indoors in groups of more than two households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household) – this includes when dining out or going to the pub
  • socialise outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households; gatherings larger than six should only take place if everyone is exclusively from two households or support bubbles
  • interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship
  • hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, besides small wedding celebrations as outlined above
  • stay overnight away from your home with members of more than one other household (your support bubble counts as one household)

It is against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces). Businesses and venues following COVID-19 Secure guidelines can host larger groups provided they comply with the law. This can include weddings and funerals (which we advise should be limited to no more than 30 people), religious ceremonies and services, community activities and support groups. If attending a place or event that is following COVID-19 Secure guidelines, you should take care to limit your interactions with anyone outside of your group and you should continue to maintain social distancing from those that you do not live with. It is critical that you follow these guidelines to keep both yourself and others safe.

Are restaurants and entertainment venues open is there anything I should know about going out?
Some restaurants and entertainment venues are now open to the public, all that are open are following social distancing requirements. When eating out with people you do not live with (and who are not in your support bubble), you should keep to the wider guidance on group sizes: up to two households indoors, and up to either two households or six people from more than two households outdoors.

In all cases, people from different households should ensure they socially distance as much as possible. You should think about where to sit at a table with this in mind – the premises should also take reasonable steps to help you do so in line with COVID-19 secure guidelines. It remains the case that you do not need to maintain social distancing with those in your support bubble. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers.

Is it mandatory to wear a mask?
Currently, face masks must be worn in shops and on public transport. From 8th August face coverings will also be mandatory in more settings. 

When will the gym and other places start to open up?
From 25 July, subject to rates of transmission:

  • sports facilities and venues, including such as indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios, indoor swimming pools and indoor water parks, can open.

Please see further information on possible further easing of restrictions in the FAQs HERE 

    How is guidance to those shielding (clinically extremely vulnerable) being relaxed?
    Current government advice is that the clinically extremely vulnerable:

    • may, if they wish, meet in a group of up to six people outdoors, including people from different households, while maintaining strict social distancing
    • no longer need to observe social distancing with other members of your household
    • in line with the wider guidance for single adult households (either an adult living alone or with dependent children under 18), may also form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each other’s homes, including overnight, without needing to socially distance

    This is a small advisory change that brings those affected a step nearer others in their communities.

    From 1 August, the government will be advising that shielding will be paused. From this date, the government is advising you to adopt strict social distancing rather than full shielding measures. Strict social distancing means you may wish to go out to more places and see more people but you should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household or support bubble.

    In practice, this means from 1 August you are advised that you no longer need to shield and:

    • you can go to work, if you cannot work from home, as long as the business is COVID-19 Secure
    • children who are clinically extremely vulnerable can return to their education settings if they are eligible and in line with their peers. Where possible children should practise frequent hand washing and social distancing
    • you can go outside to buy food, to places of worship and for exercise but you should maintain strict social distancing
    • you should remain cautious as you are still at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus, so the advice is to stay at home where possible and, if you do go out, follow strict social distancing

    The guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable group advisory.

    Frequently Asked Questions - Moving to the UK

    What’s it like living in London and the UK?
    The UK is a multi-cultural, interesting and dynamic country in which to live, study and work; there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The UK has a world-class cultural scene with a huge variety of entertainment, restaurants and theatres meaning you’ll never be bored. It is also very rich in culture and history. There are many historical buildings, castles, palaces and some of the best museums and art galleries in the world. Most museums and galleries are free; you usually only have to pay for certain exhibitions within the museum.

    What’s the UK quality of life like?
    The UK has good health, social and public services. Life is always changing and growing with culture at the heart. Diversity and economic growth make the UK a great place to live and work. Accommodation varies, for those who prefer a quieter life the suburbs are probably better with more open spaces and larger properties. Other’s might opt for central London apartments, whatever your preference the UK is sure to suit almost everyone.

    What’s the UK cost of living?
    Before you start looking for a place to rent, it may help to check out the average cost of living in the UK to see what you can afford.
    Here are a couple of websites that show you the average UK cost of living in different
    regions.

    NUMBEO – Compare the cost of living in countries.
    For example you can find out the difference in cost of living in Cayman vs UK.
    ESPASTAN – similar to numbeo but breaks cost of living comparisons into useful categories such as food, housing and transportation

    There is a great resource through UCAS by region/city to help estimate the cost of rent, attractions and universities – See LINK HERE

    What are the average UK rental prices?
    Here are some really helpful websites that give info on how much you should be paying on rent:

    –  MAP – Average London rent by postcode district.
    –  Average rent by London tube station.
    –  Average UK rent for towns across the country by size and type of property

    How do I find accommodation?

    Rental accommodation can be found on listings such as RIGHTMOVE or ZOOPLA. You can also register your details with a local estate agent. If you are coming across for university your university may be able to assist you with halls of residence for the first year.

    What do I do if I have found a rental property but the agent/landlord requires me to have a guarantor?
    The CIGOUK knows of UK commercial agencies that will act as guarantors, if you would like further information please contact info.cigo@gov.ky. 

    How do I get around on public transport?
    Whether you’re based in the city or the countryside you’ll be able to travel to most places quickly and see a lot during your time in the UK. The UK has a wide variety of public transport: Underground trains, over ground main line trains, light rail, tram systems, buses, taxies, ferries and planes making travel easy and convenient.

    Prices and methods vary across the UK with the London transport system being the most expensive and sophisticated with their contactless tap and go payment method; other major cities are a little cheaper. Booking intercity trains early using thetrainline.com makes things a lot cheaper than booking a ticket 1-2 days before you intend to travel. If you are moving to London, the London Underground, or “the Tube”, connects every part of inner London and extends to most parts of outer London. Where the Tube doesn’t go, London is well served by frequent overground train and bus services. To get around London it is often cheaper to buy a travel card or an Oyster Card that will allow you to travel on bus, rail and tube. You can download their app to make top ups and view timetables. London also has an extensive network of Black Cabs, and Uber also operates in London and most regions of the UK making it easy to get around. Most UK towns and cities offer regular bus services. You can buy a ticket from the driver when you board (except on buses in London where you must buy tickets in advance, use a travel card, or Oyster Card/contactless payment). For regular journeys, consider a season ticket to save money. Students and seniors can also apply for discounts on most journeys.

    Do I need to open a Bank Account?
    Whether you’re thinking of moving to the UK, or you’re there already, having a local bank account is highly recommended.
    In order to open a UK bank account, you will need two documents: one to prove your identity (passport, driving licence or identity card) and one to prove your address (tenancy agreement, utility bill).
    For more information contact a respective bank of your choice for their bank account opening requirements.

    Before opening a bank account you can order a pre pay cash card to keep you going until your bank account is open. Please see below in “Tips and Tricks” for more information.

    Can I use my Cayman Bank card in the UK?
    If you want to use your Cayman bank card be sure to advise your Cayman bank that you are travelling so that they do not cancel your card, you can then use your bank card when you are in the UK. 

    Where can I buy groceries/food?
    Grocery stores are actually called supermarkets in the UK. A quick google search in your area will tell you where the nearest supermarket can be found. Grocery shopping online is also available for delivery to your home or pick up. Here is a list of some popular ones:

     Tesco Groceries
     Ocado
     Sainsbury’s
     Asda
     Waitrose
     Morrisons
     Amazon Fresh/ Amazon Pantry

    For take-out there are numerous food delivery services such as Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Just Eat, etc. Check your area for what services are available and download the app to order. You may also find Caribbean restaurants in your area! For instance, Brixton is a very popular area in South London and there are many food stalls, shops and restaurants selling brands and dishes we are more accustomed to in Cayman.

    What happens if I need a doctor or dentist?
    Once you have found a place to live you can register with a local General Practitioner (GP) and dentist. You can find local practices online using  NHS Choices  or visit in person to ask them if they are accepting new patients and how to register.
    – Registration is free.
    – You can only be registered with one GP/health centre at any time.
    – Most medical practices will require basic details such as your:
    o Name
    o Home address in the UK
    o The date you came into the UK
    o Proof that you have registered with the university or college.

    Some practices may not be accepting new patients, if that is the case, you will need to find an alternative doctor.

    After you have completed the registration process you will be sent an National Health Service (NHS) number. This is unique to you and helps NHS and healthcare staff and service providers identify you and add your details to your health records.

    Does it actually rain every day?
    British weather tends to be varied and unpredictable. Depending on where you are based, it is possible to experience all the seasons in one day in the winter, so always be prepared. In the UK temperature is measured by Celsius not Fahrenheit, the difference is approximately 32 degrees. With an average summer temperature of 25 degrees C and a winter average of 2 to 15 C in the day and -3 to -10C at night.

    What is a Biometric Residency Permit? 
    As a student, under the General Student Visa (Tier4), you are automatically provided with a Biometric Residency Permit (BRP) which will allow you to work in most jobs – depending on what level your course is and what kind of sponsor you have.
    For those of you who have chosen to emigrate to the UK with plans to settle and begin working and you intend to be in the UK for longer than 6 months; you should have applied for a BRP before your travel to the UK. If you have not done this, please apply for your British Passport immediately (should you not hold a British Passport already).

    How do I obtain a National Insurance Number for working adults?
    A National Insurance number is your own personal administration number which ensures contributions and tax paid is recorded against your name. You will need to provide this number to your employer. Should you already hold a Biometric Residency Permit (BRP), you may have a National Insurance (NI) number printed on the back of your BRP. Not all BRPs have this – it depends on factors like the date it was issued and your visa status.
    If you do not have a BRP (and you hold a British Passport), or the National Insurance number is not printed on your BRP; you must apply by calling the National Insurance Helpline to request an application form.

    National Insurance Application:
    Call the National Insurance number application line to ask for an application form in England, Scotland and Wales – telephone: 0800 141 2075

    I have a BOTC Passport, am I eligible for University Home Fees?
    See details below and information at CIGOUK VISA & HOME FEES PAGE 

    How do I apply for a British Passport?
    See links below and information at CIGOUK BRITISH PASSPORT PAGE

    How do I renew my Cayman Islands/BOTC Passport whilst in the UK?

    See links below and information at CIGOUK BOTC PASSPORT PAGE

    Is there a Cayman Community in the UK?
    YES! We have a Cayman community overseas: Cayman Connection www.caymanconnection.org.

    Cayman Connection is a network for individuals and groups associated with the Cayman Islands who now live overseas. We work closely with the network to provide support for Caymanians overseas,  please be sure to become a member HERE if you would like to stay connected.

    Helpful links:
    UK Government
    UK National Health Service- Transport for London
    British Council
    – Train Travel

     

    Tips and Tricks for moving to the UK

    Using your Cayman Bank Cards in the UK

    In order to use your Cayman Bank Cards in the UK be sure to notify your bank of your travel dates and have them place a travel advisory note on your card to avoid the inconveniences of having it blocked. Please also be aware that there may be an extra charge to use your Cayman bank card overseas.

    Get a Prepaid Card to Start you off

    When moving to the UK it may take some time for you to open a bank account. In the interim you can order a prepaid card and have it delivered to your address (even in advance of your arrival). You can use a prepaid card to make purchases or withdraw cash in the same way as a credit or debit card. When you top up the card with money it is added to your balance and this is the maximum amount you can then spend until adding more funds. You can buy prepaid cards at retail locations (such as grocery stores and drug stores), online, over the phone, or from some banks and credit unions. If you buy the card online, the process usually takes a few minutes and you may be issued a virtual card, or you may receive a physical card in the mail within a few days depending on the provider.

    Order a Prepaid Sim Card 

    If you have an unlocked phone (not connected to any network already), having a prepaid sim card delivered to your address in the UK prior to your arrival is a great idea. It allows you to instantly connect to a network and communicate with family and friends without the high roaming costs. You can buy SIM cards from supermarkets, retail stores and online providers that will post a card to a UK address if you can provide one.

    Adaptors for Electronics

    All of Europe operates on the same 2 round pronged outlets except for the UK and Ireland that operate on its own unique 3 flat rectangle pronged outlets. If you wish to use your Cayman devices you may need to use an adaptor or transformer as UK voltage is 230 whilst Cayman is only 120. Adaptors can be found from Amazon, Ebay, or some retail stores like Poundland. PLUGS AND SOCKETS WORLD STANDARDS

    Where to Find Local Favourites

    Food is very different and diverse in the UK. Which is great because you can still find some of your favourite Caribbean items. A quick google search will yield the closest farmer’s market, or Caribbean cuisine restaurant near you. You can also find limited items in some international aisles in some supermarkets like Tesco.

    Suggestions on where to find local faves online:

    GRACE FOODS

    SHOP CARIB

    AMAZON

    UBER EATS

    JUST EAT

    DELIVEROO

    UBER EATS

    Become part of a strong Caymanian Community in the UK

    Join Cayman Connection today and become a member of our strong Caymanian community.

    Cayman Connection is a network for groups and individuals associated with the Cayman Islands who now live or study overseas.

    Cayman Connection is in the process of establishing a buddy system for new and returning students, if you are interested in budding up with a Cayman student who has been in the UK for a while, please email hello@caymanconnection.org. 

    Likewise, if you are a Cayman student who has been in the UK for more than one year, and would like to join the buddy system to help a new student coming to the UK for the first time please let us know by emailing hello@caymanconnection.org

    Travel and weather apps – it is useful to download google maps, City Mapper, TFL London, Oyster Card App and BBC Weather apps to be sure you are prepared for how long a journey will take and what the weather will be like!

    Be prepared for all eventualities for the weather – we recommend to check the weather before you leave the house and always carry an umbrella if necessary!

     

    Talking about the Cayman Islands Financial Services

    A few of the many reasons to be proud of Cayman Islands Financial Services.

    Visas & Passports

    For more information on visas, passports and how to apply.

    The Cayman Islands Government Office in the UK (CIGO) is situated on Dover Street, in the heart of Mayfair, London.

    The Office is an extension of the Cayman Islands Government in the UK and Europe. The Cayman Islands Representative, Mr André Ebanks, invites to you to join the CIGO news network to receive updates of CIGO activity by subscribing here. CIGO’s Annual Briefing and Monthly Newsletter will be circulated to all subscribers from news@cigouk.ky. For our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy please see HERE.

    34 Dover Street, London, W1S 4NG
    +44 207 491 7772 | info.cigo@gov.ky

    If you would like to receive these updates straight to your inbox click here to sign up.

    Privacy Policy Statement Ts & Cs