Depending on your nationality, you may be able to get a visa upon arrival in Barbados and be granted a specified period of stay. Entry to Barbados does not require a minimum validity on your passport as some other countries do, so long as it is valid for the duration of your stay. If you wish to extend beyond your specified period, you can apply for an extension at the Barbados Immigration Department located in Bridgetown.It is worth noting that Barbados has a departure tax for all foreigners over the age of two years old leaving the country. The departure tax is sometimes, although not always, included in your ticket price. The cost of the departure tax is US$70 per person for those flying outside of the Caribbean region, and US$35 for those travelling within the Caribbean region.
UK ETDs (Emergency Travel Documents) are accepted for entry, transit, and exit. It is a criminal offence to overstay your specified period of stay, and also to work in Barbados without a valid work permit. Other important information concerning local laws and culture includes the severe penalties for drug offences, and the conservative attitudes towards public displays of affection. It is illegal for anyone to wear camouflage except for members of the local army and police.
In terms of LGQBT+ rights, homosexual activity is illegal in Barbados. The penalty for homosexual acts, regardless of whether they are consensual or not, is technically life imprisonment, although it is claimed that this is rarely enforced. The law has been under scrutiny in recent years and is pending a review to repeal.
Usually, you will be given a ‘visitor’s visa’ stamp in your passport by Immigration Officials upon arrival. This will be valid for up to 28 days. Some visitors may be required to additionally present an ‘entry visa’. If you wish to travel to Barbados and require a visa, this must be obtained prior to travel. It is therefore wise to submit your application (if applicable) to be processed in advance of booking your travel arrangements.
According to the immigration government website, the documents you will be required to submit when applying for a visa to Barbados are as follows:
• completed and signed application forms (one application form per person applying)
• one passport sized photograph of yourself
• depending on the type of visa you require, you may have to send your passport to the embassy along with your application. Alternatively, you may only be asked for a copy of the outer cover and biometric page
• you may be required to produce originals and/or copies of your birth certificate or marriage certificate
• you will need a copy of your appointment letter (usually applicable to those attending appointments at embassies in the US or UK)
• a letter of employment, a letter confirming your education status, or an acceptance letter to a college or university in Barbados (whichever is applicable)
• you may need to produce copies of previous work permits, student visas, or residence permits, if you were previously residing in a country different from the country you were born in
Documents not in the English language will need to be accompanied by a certified translation.
If you are submitting your visa by post, you will also need to enclose the visa fee. Some embassies may specify whether this must be in cash or by cheque, so make sure you check the guidelines beforehand.
For those wishing to study in Barbados, a student visa can be applied for prior to travel. There are two different types of student visas: one for minors under the age of 18, and one for young adults over the age of 18. A notable difference between them is that additional documentation is required from minors’ parents or guardians.
Special Entry Permits
A Special Entry Permit, also known as a SEP, is available to those referred to as ‘High Net Worth Individuals.’ This scheme is specifically aimed at those aged 60 and over, but is also available to certain individuals under the age of 60, provided they meet the requirements. It is similar to a retirement/investment visa.
Single Entry Visas
The single entry visa allows individuals to stay in Barbados for a period of up to three months, but you cannot leave or visit other countries whilst retaining this visa, and it costs around US$107.00.
Multiple Entry Visas
The multiple entry visa allows an individual to stay for a period of up to six months, and also allows you to make multiple entries and exits without it affecting the status of your visa. It costs approximately US$211.00.
The government website states that all immigrant visa applicants, regardless of age, gender, etc., will be required to submit to a medical examination prior to their visa being issued. You should bring your vaccination certificates and medical history records with you to the examination.
All non-nationals will require a work permit in order to work on the island. This must be done before you arrive. Exceptions apply to those who are nationals of other Caribbean countries, i.e. CARICOM nationals. Work permits are approved by the Barbados Immigration Department and take the form of either a short-term permit or a long-term permit.
It is also worth noting that you must register with immigration prior to commencing employment.
A short-term permit is valid for a period of up to 11 months. Your employer should be responsible for filing an application for a short-term permit on your behalf.
A long-term work permit is valid for a period of up to 3 years. In order for a foreign national to obtain a longer work permit, the employer of the individual must prove to the Immigration Department that no Barbadian citizens are capable of doing the job. This means that the job must be advertised locally first. Application fees for work permits cost around US$150.
Any foreign nationals wishing to become a permanent resident in Barbados must provide evidence that they are not likely to become a financial burden to the nation. Applications should be made to the Immigration Department.
If you are married to a Barbadian citizen, then you may be eligible for residency, and you can apply for citizenship after being a resident in Barbados for a period of longer than 7 years.
If your child is a citizen or permanent resident of Barbados, you may also potentially apply for a parental residency visa.
According to the immigration government website:
“The Immigration Act of Barbados makes provision for persons who can prove that they can successfully maintain themselves and their dependents in Barbados, to be granted the status of immigrant in the first instance, and upon application five years thereafter to be granted the status of permanent resident.”
Therefore, if you are successful in your application for a long-term work permit, and this is then renewed, you should be eligible to apply as an immigrant. Following this, you can apply for citizenship should you wish to.
In order to apply for residency in Barbados, you will be required to pay a non-refundable fee of around US$100.00, payable to the Chief Immigration Officer. Additionally, a further fee of approximately US$400.00 will be payable once the application is approved.
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