Barbados officially opened applications for their brand new ‘Remote Work’ visa on July 18th, calling it the 12 Month Barbados Welcome Stamp.
The 12 Month Barbados Welcome Stamp allows digital nomads and professionals who normally work from home, a 1-year pass to live and work on the island instead. Not a very hard sell for people who have been stuffed into their isolated home office for the past few months.
The tag-line for the new visa boasts “Barbados’ new visa lets you work remotely in paradise for up to a year.”
If you are considering applying for Barbados’ new digital nomad visa, it does come with some perks and some drawbacks. We cover all pros and cons in detail below. ↓
Head of Global Markets at the BTMI Petra Roach says Barbados’ established multi-tiered tourism model has positioned it to easily accommodate the different types of remote workers.
“Barbados as a destination has always been very much in demand, so we have a wide range of accommodation from budget-friendly studios to beachfront luxury condos. Added to our year-round warm climate, beautiful countryside, world class beaches and countless activities, this is an ideal backdrop for the more sustainable work-life balance many are craving for themselves and their families.”
Applications opened for the visa much faster than anyone anticipated, since the Prime Minister had just announced the idea of it in early July. The remote work visa is a fantastic way to not only boost Barbados shattered tourism industry, but it also allows for some refuge for digital nomads looking for a safe place to land for a while.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley stated:
“We recognize more people are working remotely, sometimes in very stressful conditions, with little option for vacation. Our new 12 month Barbados Welcome Stamp is a visa that allows you to relocate and work from one of the world’s most beloved tourism destinations.
We believe we have something very special to offer on this little rock we call Barbados. Our friendly people, professional services, commitment to education and importantly safety and security, all make Barbados an ideal place to live for both singles and families.”
Barbados has only seen 105 total cases on the island, with 7 deaths and as of July 20th, only 7 active cases. Barbados officially reopened the island for tourism on July 1, allowing all nations to visit with a negative PCR test
Barbados 12 Month Welcome Stamp –
everything you need to know
$2000 for an individual
$3000 for a family or couple
Maximum of 12 months from date of approval
At least $50,000 per year
Barbados is asking you to sign a declaration stating “ I certify that I expect to earn an income of US$50,000.00 or more over the next 12 months and/or have the means to support myself, my spouse and dependants accompanying me, during my stay in Barbados .”
Supporting Documents Needed:
- Passport sized photos
- Bio data page of passport
- Copy of birth certificate
- Proof of relationship when applying as family/couple
- Completed application form
- Payment of visa fee upon approval
Pro’s of Barbados 12 Month Welcome Stamp
Saves on Visa Runs / Fights
Even though the Visa comes with a hefty fee of $2000 USD, that can actually save some digital nomads some cash on what they normally spend doing visa runs. Visa runs can cost a lot of money when you factor in flights in and out of the country, visa extension fees, or having to move countries because of a visa expiry.
Barbados’s visa works out to be $166/m, which is a decent cost to be able to stay in one place without having to worry about visa runs.
Easy Fine Print
The 1-year long remote work visa does not come with a ton of scary fine print. At this point, we are unsure if they will even check income, as they are only asking for applicants to declare they expect to make at least $50,000 USD. The only other notably thing we found was they do not want you to earn any income from employment within the Barbados, meaning all your income needs to come from abroad, even if you are doing the work within the Barbados. This is only to ensure you are not taking employment away from nationals.
Barbados is chill. Who wouldn’t want to trade in the busy city life for tranquil island vibes?
Many people thrust into the remote work world due to Covid-19 have realized just how hard it can be from their dark home office with views of the towering parkade beside them. Working from a island with views of the ocean and sounds of the waves brings a much higher quality of life and happiness when working remotely.
Allows for Routine
My husband and I personally know from experience that staying in one place for an extended period of time means we can get into a good routine. Being digital nomads for the past 5 years has taught us that the more we move around, the less we seem to accomplish. It takes time to learn new cities, new currencies, and to get your bearings in a new environment. If we find a great place to unpack the bags for a while, we can set up efficient routines and get more quality work done.
Sunil Chatrani, chairman of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, stated that Barbados has the fastest fibre internet and mobile services in the Caribbean. Music to a digital nomads ears.
Con's of Barbados 12 Month Welcome Stamp
Cost of Living
Barbados is not known for being a digital nomad haven. Despite their incredible forward-thinking approach to attract remote workers, many won’t come due to high cost of living. Many remote workers choose locations like Thailand, Bali, Vietnam, Mexico, and other countries with a very low cost of daily life in order to save as much money as possible. Many condos in Barbados will come with a price tag that might even exceed an applicants home country, which makes it a harder sell. Pair that with the $2000 visa fee and it may be more expensive to go abroad for some than to stay home.
Listen, we are all trying to navigate through this virus, and what is to come in the future is so unknown. Although Barbados was very quick and effective in controlling outbreaks, there is nothing to guarantee what the situation might be in a few months or even weeks from now.
A second wave might occur, throwing the island into lockdown, which brings a level of uncertainty for people who are considering living there for an entire year.
Many digital nomads, especially ones who normally live in big cities in Asia or Europe, might find Barbados to be a little isolating. It will be harder to find certain products, brands and supplies, not to mention there won't be as many direct flight options as other nomad hubs.