In a move intended to court digital nomads and remote-learning students, Bermuda’s Ministry of Labor in July introduced the One-Year Residential Certificate program, which allows visitors to research, study, or work from the North Atlantic island for up to 12 months. The application process officially kicks off on August 1. There is currently no set end date for the program.
The program is aimed at those “who are location-independent, using technology to perform their job no matter where they are,” Bermuda’s labor minister, Hon. Jason Hayward, said in a statement about the new residency policy. “The trend towards remote working has been accelerated by COVID-19. These visitors can reside in Bermuda without seeking employment on the island and will promote economic activity for our country without displacing Bermudians in the workforce.”
The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on Bermuda’s tourism and local economy, resulting in mass unemployment, according to Hayward. The hope is that the program will bring new residents to the island, and with them, new spending.
How to apply for residency
The cost of the certificate is $263. In order to be eligible, applicants must:
- be over the age of 18
- possess valid health insurance
- provide proof of employment and income from a legitimate company that does not operate in Bermuda
- provide evidence of enrollment in a research, undergraduate, graduate, or doctorate program (in the case of a student)
- not face conviction for an indictable offense (those running from the law need not apply)
Those who are interested can submit the application form online, along with all relevant documentation. The approval process is expected to take up to 14 days.
Once approved, you can come and go as you please (as long as you adhere to the arrival requirements below). Those traveling with kids will be able to enroll them in private schools on the island if they so choose—at their own expense. The Bermuda government is also considering the possibility of allowing the residency to be renewed after one year on a case-by-case basis.
For those interested in further exploring the work-from-the-island residency option, the Bermuda Tourism Authority has a list of all the hotels and resorts that are currently open or plan to open soon. The list also includes numerous cottages and guest houses.
Additionally, Bermuda has extended the maximum period a visitor may stay in Bermuda from 90 to 180 days.
Traveling to Bermuda requires multiple coronavirus tests
Bermuda’s government allowed international commercial flights to the island to resume on July 1. As of July 11, all visitors to the island must provide proof of a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnostic test (also known as the nasal swab test) for COVID-19 procured within 72 hours or no more than seven days prior to arrival. This applies to adults and children ages 10 and up—children who are 9 and younger are exempt.
Upon arrival, visitors will be required to take another PCR test at the Bermuda L.F. Wade International Airport. They can then quarantine at their accommodation until results are ready (turnaround time is typically between 6 to 8 hours but can take longer, according to the Bermuda Tourism Authority). Visitors are then required to take additional COVID-19 tests on the 4th, 8th, and the 14th day of their stay at pop-up rapid-result testing centers around the island (visitors can schedule an appointment for these).
Prior to traveling to Bermuda, visitors will be required to fill out a travel authorization form online that includes a copy of their predeparture COVID-19 negative test result. The form also includes a $75 fee per traveler that includes the cost of all COVID-19 testing in Bermuda. (For children ages 9 and younger who do not have to be tested at any point, the fee is $30.)
Visitors must also have health insurance that covers any illness or injury while traveling, including those related to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis while in Bermuda. If not, they will be responsible for any and all health and accommodation costs related to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis while in Bermuda.
Bermuda authorities ask that travelers wear a face mask and practice physical distancing and hand hygiene. Also, pack a thermometer, as visitors will be asked to take their temperature twice daily and report the results via an online portal. The Bermuda Tourism Authority did not specify how long after arrival the temperature checks would be required.
As of July 28, Bermuda had a total of 154 confirmed coronavirus cases and 9 deaths.
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