New fee hikes to boost government coffers

| 04/12/2009

Cayman islands news island weather classifieds business financial services(CNS): Under a range of new fees to increase government income now in effect, the issue or renewal of a Cayman Islands passport is $75 for a child under 16 years and $100 for an adult, while visitors wanting to get married in the Cayman Islands will now have to pay $200 (up from $160 or US$200). Also passed in the LA on Wednesday (2 December) but not yet gazetted is an increase to the annual licence fee payable by money services businesses to $10,000, though this fee hike does not apply to the banking system.  A 2% tax on sending money overseas through a money service will also be introduced when the law comes into effect.

Other fee increases include a US Visa Waiver, which is now $25 for Grand Cayman residents and $15 for residents of Cayman Brac or Little Cayman, a US Visa Waiver Express for all three islands (issued by appointment in one business day) now $50, and call-out fee for emergency opening of the Passport Office now $75. Administrative services to British Overseas Territory citizens, or to British citizens, relating to applications for visitor’s visas to the USA – $50

A government release explains that the regular two- to three-week processing time for travel documents remains. However, PCS customers may choose to use the Express or Super Express passport services. Fees for these are in addition to passport application fees and cost $50 for Express Service (issue or renewal within two days to one week of application), or $100 for Super Express Service (issue or renewal in one business day or less).
Both services are available by appointment only and apply specifically to new or renewal of passports. They cannot be used in cases where a passport is stolen, lost or damaged.

In addition to these fees, new costs have been introduced for an Express Service which is separate and apart from that used for passport applications. Accordingly, whenever express service is required within one business day (and by appointment only) a charge of $75 is incurred and added to all the following fees: Change of name in a passport – $50, emergency passport for a British citizen – $100, Certificate of Identity – $75, documents to travel to Jamaica – $75, refugee travel documents – $40 (issue/renewal).

The following changes are associated with fees relating to the Governor’s Special Marriage Licence: A non-refundable application fee of $50 is now required. However, the use of a $10 postage stamp, which previously had to be affixed to every special marriage licence, has been discontinued. The licence fee remains at $150, but if the application is refused the licence fee will be refunded in full. Total fees payable for the issue of a special marriage licence for visitors are therefore CI$200.

New legislation passed this week will also increase the annual licence fee payable by money services businesses to $10,000; introduce an annual fee of $1,000 for each additional subsidiary, branch, agency or representative office that a money services business operates; and introduce a new transaction fee payable to Government, equal to 2% of the gross amount transferred overseas by a money services business on behalf of its customers. However, such a fee cannot exceed $10 per transaction.

Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson said in a release from his office, “Government made a deliberate decision to limit the fee to a maximum of $10 recognising that the majority of persons transferring funds overseas are lower-paid employees.” The Money Services Law makes it clear that banks, building societies and co-operative societies do not fall within its ambit. Hence, wire transfers, drafts and overnight funds in the banking system are not subject to the new transaction fee, he explained.

 

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Comments (2)

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  1. Sentinel says:

    Now that the PCS (passport office) is charging real good money for passports then they should start to issue a real good modern e-passport like most other countires are producing now. Also, trim down the regular processing time to no more than 1 week since the applications are purely dealt with on island with a relatively small citizen population. The visa waiver charge is reasonable though and is fair for the convenience it allows ( I believe that the police clearance certificate can be re-used over a 6 month period, I stand to be corrected still & hopefully that fee of $10 doesn’t shoot up as well).

    I still have some misgivings about the money transfer fees that affect mostly the voiceless underclass members of society but, oh well ……

  2. Geordie Sam says:

    A good opportunity then for the local banks to try and attract the smaller accounts and educate the people who use money transfer offices how to open an run their own account and carry out transfers overseas at lower cost. If they can be bothered.

    But really, if they’re going to institute such a charge it should apply to all oversead transfers of funds, with a lower capped charge or flat fee. This way, they’re just raising a relatively small amount by soaking the voiceless minority. An opportunity missed I think.