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Moving to Bermuda

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Moving to the Beautiful Island of Bermuda from the US - by Bermudiana

This page is packed with plenty of helpful advice, tips and legalities to make sure your transition to life in Bermuda is seamless. Yes, it can be stressful to organize all the important parts that make the move successful - but it’s worth it for the rewarding experience when you can finally sit back and relax with a Rum Swizzle in hand.

 

 

01 Entry Requirements

What Documents Will I Need to Move to Bermuda?

You’ve worked hard and now you want to kick back and enjoy the beautiful island of Bermuda. If you’re a citizen of the UK, USA or Canada, you don’t require a visa to enjoy a short stay at the secluded retreat. 

All travelers will need a passport valid for at least 90 days following your departure date from Bermuda. However, we strongly recommend traveling with six months validity on your passport at all times. VisaHQ can assist U.S. citizens with a full range of expedited passport services, including new passport applications and passport renewals.

For more information on retiring in Bermuda, take a look at this blog that tells you everything you need to know to guarantee a relaxing retirement.

However, if you’re looking for something a bit more permanent than a vacation, you need to know about visas, employment and what you need to do next.

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Do I Even Need a Visa? 

It’s not difficult to see why Bermuda is a desirable place to stay. Pink sands, delicious cuisine and thriving wildlife are just some of the reasons you might take a trip.

Visitors are always welcome on the friendly island of Bermuda and can stay for 3 months on vacation up to six months with a short-term permit visa if approved.

Bermuda requires that you have adequate unused pages in your passport. This allows for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure. We recommend that you have at least two free pages in the visas section of your passport before any international travel. For more critical information on visas, find out by looking at this blog and be sure to bookmark it for future reference.

Will I Need a Job Before Moving?

If you're married to a Bermudian resident, you can move to the island whenever you like. For anybody wishing to move permanently to the island who isn’t moving to join their Bermudian spouse, it’s necessary to secure a job on the island beforehand.

Over 20% of the population of Bermuda are employed expatriates.

Securing a job in Bermuda is only the first step to working on the island. There are lots of other important aspects like work permits that need to be finalized too.

Your spouse and children can stay with you as long as you work and live in Bermuda. Whether it’s making memories over some Rum Swizzles by the ocean or taking your family on a walk around the abundant botanical gardens - bringing your loved ones to Bermuda is never a bad idea.

Your employer would need to specify a period for the work permit and pay the relevant fees in full to the government. This period can be extended later if necessary (up to five years) but it doesn’t guarantee permanent residency. It’s important to note that your non-Bermudian spouse cannot work on the island from your permit and will have to go through the same process to acquire one.

Besides that, once everything is finalized, you can come and enjoy the island and take in the serene surroundings in your free time. You’re only ever a mile away from the ocean too.

Accommodation Laws in Bermuda

Bermuda is very popular, so it’s no surprise that property prices for this idyllic location are high. The island is exclusive and purchasing a vacation condo can give you that slice of paradise at a much lower price.

For non-Bermudians to buy real estate in the country, they must obtain a license from the Bermuda Government Ministry of Law and Home Affairs office. The process can take up to nine months, so give yourself enough time for everything to be approved. The cost depends on the type of property the buyer wishes to purchase.

It’s crucial to realize that although international buyers are allowed to purchase real estate in Bermuda, it doesn't make you eligible to gain Bermudian citizenship or a permanent stay.

If you aren’t native to the island and you’re looking to purchase a slice of paradise for yourself, you need to be aware of Bermuda’s real estate laws and legislations. For more insight when it comes to purchasing accommodation in Bermuda, you can take a look at this blog that tells you exactly how.

02 Physically Moving to the Beautiful Island

When moving to Bermuda, you will need to pay Customs Duty on most household goods and other personal things that you bring in - except for some used items like books, clothes and toys which are exempt.

There are many trusted international and local based removal companies that you can ask for help when shipping your belongings to Bermuda. They will assist you every step of the way, from packing securely to delivering to your new home.

The shipping time varies by location, but the average period is between three to nine business days for delivery. All containers arrive in Port Hamilton, the largest port in Bermuda.

Bringing Pets From Home

Domestic animals like dogs, cats, fish and birds are welcome in Bermuda. However, you need to provide your pet’s Import Certificate, which you can get in advance from Bermuda's Department of Environment Protection. 

A health certificate issued 10 days before your arrival by a licensed veterinarian from your country is also required before they clear your pet for entry. You should make sure that you have all these documents upon import. Failure to do so can mean that your pet will be returned on the same flight.

Vehicle Ownership

There are restrictions in place on vehicle ownership. For example, you can’t purchase a car on the island unless you have an assessment number, usually from the apartment you buy or rent (each residence is issued one assessment number, therefore it is only one car per residence). If you choose to import your car, here are the important things that you should know, you can take a look at the GOV website for more details.

However, not many people import their car to the island. There’s a lot of red tape and very high import duty involved. There are some good second-hand cars for sale in Bermuda and a lot of people choose to ride motorbikes as the weather is generally pleasant and distances are short. These are easily obtained either new or second-hand island-wide.

03 Bermuda’s Economy

Although Bermuda does not impose direct income tax on your earnings, you will most likely have to pay tax to your home country, particularly if you are from the US, UK or Canada. There are tax treaties and agreements signed between Bermuda and these countries that require expats working in Bermuda to file tax returns and pay taxes in their home country.

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What Currency is Used in Bermuda?

Everywhere in Bermuda uses Bermudian dollars and US dollars interchangeably. So if you have US dollars, bring them. Just make sure all Bermudian dollars have been spent before leaving. The Bermudian currency is pegged to the US dollar so, one Bermuda dollar equals one American dollar.

Other currencies aren’t freely traded on this luxurious island. It’s instead recommended that any other currency is exchanged for US dollars before arrival. You can find out more about the currency here.

What’s the Unemployment Rate Like?

Bermuda’s unemployment rate is declining and the gross annual income is climbing. This directly correlates with the increase in living standards in 2019. As the World Bank states, Bermuda has the second-highest gross national income (GNI) per capita in the world.

The island is well underway in developing a Fintech ecosystem, which will further lower the unemployment rate and allow Bermuda to become a real leader within this modern technology.

For more information on this exciting innovation, this blog tells you everything you need to know about it and also delves into the history of Bermuda’s unemployment rate.

04 Standard of Living in This Lavish Location

When comparing the standard of living in Bermuda to other countries, many assume that it’s either in the Caribbean or a third-world country. Neither of these are true statements and when you break it down, Bermuda can be compared to popular countries like the US or even famous European destinations.

From a cost of living perspective research has shown that Bermuda is slightly more expensive than New York City. When you consider the beautiful sunsets, serene ocean views and thriving wildlife that you can’t witness in the big city, it makes sense why this is.

That added cost is worth it to experience the enviable calmness that’s so hard to find elsewhere.

Bermuda’s Well-Connected Transport System

When it comes to Bermuda, you have plenty of options which showcase the island’s well-connected transport system. There are 11 bus routes in Bermuda that connects almost all corners of the beautiful island and the many ferry routes are another quick way to get around.

Bermuda has lots of accessible transport options so you can take in the beautiful sights with ease.

How Are the Hospital Facilities?

Bermuda has the impressive King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. The modern facility houses over 1,800 employees so you can be sure that if you need to visit the hospital, you’ll be seen to quickly. 

The hospital has purchased nearby buildings and a brand new wing was created in 2014. So, you’re in the safest hands with the latest technology being used.

The Ins and Outs of The Educational System

Bermuda has only 38 schools, all of which use state-of-the-art equipment and learning resources. These schools teach about 6,000 students which include preschools, elementary schools, colleges and more.

While there might be fewer schools with smaller classrooms than the US or UK, you can be sure that every child receives the same level of attention while you’re at work, or preferably teeing off on one of the many championship golf courses and soaking up the sun.

To know more about Bermuda’s transport, healthcare, education and more, make sure to take a look at this helpful blog that compares the island to other countries.

05 Lifestyle

What’s the Climate Like in Bermuda?

There’s never really a bad time to take a trip to the beautiful hidden gem that is Bermuda. The island has exciting things to do all year round and the seasonal weather doesn’t affect the friendly faces of the local residents.

The most popular time to visit is between March and April as the season starts to pick up and the temperatures begin to rise. However, the best time to vacation on the island is quite subjective. After all, beauty is in the eye of the Bermuda lover.

During the colder months, the temperature seldom dips below 65 degrees and guarantees a pleasant getaway. In fact, years ago the hotels used to refund your money if the temperature was cooler than that! Unfortunately, they don’t anymore but don’t worry, the weather is pleasant enough year round.

The hurricane season is from June to November and construction in Bermuda is required by code to be able to withstand Category 5 hurricanes. Although well equipped, tropical storms are very rare and typically avoid the island altogether. It does bring wind and waves however, which is great for those who want to kitesurf.

Even if it rains, there’s plenty to do indoors, so bookmark these 30 things to do if there’s a downpour.

There’s something for everybody to enjoy. So regardless of when you jet off to the island, there will be an activity that appeals to everyone. Falling in love with this idyllic place could happen at any time. You can decide the best and worst time to visit for yourself here.

Bermudian Wildlife: Birds, Marine Life and More

The wildlife is abundant in Bermuda. Vibrant marine life like parrotfish are plentiful all year round and Bermuda is home to one of the oldest aquariums in the world.

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April is a favored month for wildlife enthusiasts as over 15,000 humpback whales migrate from the Caribbean, creating impressive displays that can be witnessed by boat tour.

You can often find these whales having fun with their pods and breaching out of the water in an extraordinary fashion. Not only is it a once in a lifetime opportunity to be close to these amazing animals, but it also makes the perfect day trip for any family.

The national bird of Bermuda can be found flying freely over the clear blue surrounding ocean. Also known as the Cahow, this nocturnal bird is white in color and has an iconic chirp. You’ll also find the Cahow on Bermudian bank notes too.

From the unique Bermuda Buckeye butterfly to Bermuda Longtails, learn more about the wonderful wildlife on the island in this blog.

Island Living 

The Bermudian lifestyle is enviable and it’s not difficult to see why. Pink sands, delicious cuisine and thriving wildlife are just some of the reasons you might take a trip.

The island enjoys a high standard of health and this ties back to the tranquil lifestyle which the locals enjoy.

Although the Bermudian people work hard to earn a living, everyone makes time to relax and embrace the beautiful natural environment.

What’s the Population of Bermuda? 

As of 2019, Bermuda actually holds the highest population of all the British Overseas Territories. Today, most of Bermuda’s 65,000 residents proudly trace their roots to British, African, Portuguese and Caribbean bloodlines.

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The island’s civilian population is estimated to be around 64,867 and the locals are known for being extremely friendly. Their natural charm and smiling characters create a warm and vibrant backdrop for both expats and tourists.

It’s also attractive because the population is smaller compared to other major cities. Here’s how some of them compare.

  • New York: 8.55 million.
  • Boston: 698,898.
  • Philadelphia: 1.57 million.
  • Toronto: 2.8 million.

Sometimes, it’s nice to swap the busy lifestyle surrounded by millions of people for a more serene and peaceful escape. If you want to immerse yourself in the history of Bermuda, from the coastal wreckage where it all began to the diverse demographics of the island today, take a look here.

The Parishes and Towns of Bermuda

Bermuda is packed full of culture, history and eye-catching architecture. The island is made up of nine parishes, each with its own charm and characters. It all depends on how you want to spend your days.

  • Devonshire
  • Hamilton
  • Paget
  • Pembroke
  • Saint George
  • Sandys
  • Smith’s 
  • Southampton
  • Warwick

If you want the ultimate guide to the parishes and towns in Bermuda and what to do in each of them, click here.

The Complex Language of Bermuda: Accent, Influences & Dialect 

Bermuda’s language is a unique dialect that’s a fusion of many different languages, accents and influences.

It’s common for people to assume Bermudians talk with the Caribbean accent. However, the island is in the North Atlantic and is a British Overseas Territory that’s administered independently as a country. The Bermudian accent typically sounds American to British ears and vice versa, so it’s considered one of the most unique dialects in the world.

If you want to know more about the complex language and learn some Bermudian slang so you can feel like a local, you can find out more in this blog. You’ll be a Bermy Onion in no time.

The Low Crime Rates and Guaranteed Safety on the Island  

Everywhere you go has the risk of crime. However, Bermuda is generally a safe place and is considered to be one of the top holiday destinations - with 2018 seeing the most visitors ever!

In fact, the country’s crime rate has greatly improved within the last 10 years, with the number of robberies now less than half the amount recorded in 2009. There were no homicides at all in 2019.

The rise in tourism has boosted businesses and led to the Government of Bermuda increasing investment in the tourism industry.

The Bermuda Police Service operates continuously to achieve its mission statement of ‘making Bermuda safer’.

For more insights about the improving crime rate and thriving tourist industry, you can have a read over this blog for more knowledge. Don’t worry, you can be confident you and your family will be safe on this spectacular island.

Customs and Culture

The island’s rich history means that Bermudians have plenty to celebrate. Bermuda Day, for example, takes place in May. This is when most locals take their first dip in the sea and parades go on through the night to welcome the coming of summer.

Bermuda, while very friendly and welcoming, is a conservative place when it comes to attire. You should dress modestly and appropriate for the island, however, Bermudian clothing is as playful and vibrant as the island itself, so don’t be afraid of color in your wardrobe. 

Bathing suits, revealing tops and small shorts should only be worn on the pink-sand beaches or around pools. If in doubt, you can always sport a pair of fashionable Bermuda shorts. You can learn more about the laws and customs of the island here.

Appetizing and Delicious: Bermudian Cuisine

Combining a unique blend of British, African, Spanish and Caribbean influences, you’ll never be short of cuisine options when you’re in Bermuda. The culinary landscape here is as diverse as it is delicious, so it’s no surprise that the locals have long taken pride in the national food and drink.

Wahoo’s restaurant is just one of the amazing eateries you can enjoy. It features local staff, spectacular views from the patio and delectable dishes - you can do no wrong by visiting here. It’s always recommended by locals.

According to local Bermudians, not all Rum Swizzles are created equal and Wahoo’s version simply can’t be missed.

For the full experience, it’s advised to eat and drink on the patio during sunset. Don’t forget to try their signature Wahoo Nuggets.

For more delicious eatery recommendations to have you dining out like a local, check out our guide to where the locals eat. It’s guaranteed to get your mouth watering.

Sport in Bermuda and How to Get Involved

Most Bermudians have pastimes that revolve around sport. Although this serene getaway has more golf courses per capita than anywhere else in the world, a variety of sporting activities are played on the beautiful island.

Golf

Championship oceanfront courses and calm weather all year round makes Bermuda the perfect destination to get your golf fix. Golfing has never been greater and the panoramic ocean views aren’t too bad either.

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Cricket

Cricket, with its rich British roots, is played in private clubs across the island. There are even streets named in honor of the sport - Bat ‘n’ Ball Lane is just one you’ll see. Cricket is popular amongst locals and visitors and is really easy to pick up! Why not catch a game and watch local teams hitting the ball for six.

Running and Marathons

The island’s cooler months attract many athletic enthusiasts. Events like the Bermuda Race Weekend are perfect for avid runners looking to spend some time here. Combining sport and ocean views is never a bad idea.

Watersports

Bermuda’s cerulean seas cater to a multitude of water activities. From exhilarating kiteboarding to a leisurely paddle on a glass-bottom kayak above the vibrant marine life, the island offers it all.

Don some Bermuda shorts and head to the shore. You’re never more than a mile away from the ocean.

If these activities are getting your blood pumping and you want to get involved, this blog covers sporting events you can attend and how to get involved with sports on the island. Get involved in the sports scene on the island and feel the beat of Bermuda’s heart.

Beaches, Adventures, Activities and More

From renowned top quality golf courses to a vibrant nightlife scene, Bermuda has so much to offer when it comes to finding things to do. The island’s capital, Hamilton, is a treasure trove for foodies and art lovers.

It’s also home to some of the most picturesque beaches in the world, including Horseshoe Bay and Elbow Beach. Explore this blog to find out the best beaches on the island and get ready to dip your toes into the azure waters.

Here are just 10 of the wonderful things you can get involved with in Bermuda.

  1. Sailing on the cerulean waters around the island.
  2. Walking through the botanical gardens, embracing the abundant nature of Bermuda.
  3. Venturing to hidden gems to experience secluded and exclusive adventures. 
  4. Tee off with the whole family and teach the kids how to get a hole-in-one.
  5. Whale watch and witness the amazing migration.
  6. Hike or cycle the Bermuda Railway Trail on the coastline.
  7. Pull up a picnic table and take in the sunset at Daniel’s Head Park.
  8. Enjoy the pink beaches with the grandkids all year round.
  9. Explore historic stone buildings and pastel houses in the town of St. George.
  10. Meet up with other expats and attend social events like yoga, tennis and golf.

Looking to keep the kids entertained? No problem, we have that covered. And if you’re looking for the hidden gems the island has to offer, we let you in on all the secrets here.

There’s so much to experience in Bermuda, it’s up to you how you enjoy this wonderful location.

Make Your Time in Bermuda Special with a Vacation Home

You’ve taken a vacation to Bermuda and you’ve completely fallen in love. It’s almost bound to happen. Your time in Bermuda can be made even more special if you have a beautiful vacation condo to return to after a long day at the beach.

International buyers can purchase a vacation condo in Bermuda and spend up to 90 days a year on the island.

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Spas, gyms, beach facilities and so much more are included at Bermudiana Beach Resort,Tapestry Collection by Hilton, an upscale vacation condo complex.

It’s perfect for retirees who want to just enjoy their time, families and even frequent business visitors who want to live in Bermuda for up to three months each year.

The best part? Your slice of paradise will be looked after while you spend six months back home.