After several months of staying at home, and an unprecedented shutdown of international travel, there’s no doubt that millions of white-collar workers around the world are wishing for a change of scenery. Now, one Caribbean country is making waves with the launch of a special remote work visa targeting digital nomads worldwide.
In a statement, Barbados’ prime minister Mia Amor Mottley said that COVID-19 had changed the global business landscape, and her government was introducing the Barbados Welcome Stamp visa to “provide workers with an opportunity to spend the next 12-months working remotely from paradise.” Applications opened just a few days ago; the initiative is already proving a hit in the U.K., the United States, and Canada.
According to the BBC, applicants must earn at least USD 50,000 per year to qualify and have health insurance covering the duration of their stay. The non-refundable visa fee costs USD 2,000 per person or USD 3,000 per family. Remote workers can choose to bring along a dependent, which the Barbadian government has defined as a child or stepchild under the age of 26, or any other relative who is unable to work due to their age and/or infirmity.
Each application will be processed and confirmed or denied within one week; accepted travelers can then enter Barbados for a maximum of 12 months from the date of approval. After that period is up, it will be possible to reapply and extend the Welcome Stamp’s validity for another year. The visa scheme doesn’t just offer digital nomads the chance to get to know Barbados and immerse themselves in the island’s Bajan culture, as successful applicants will also have permission to travel into and out of the country an unlimited number of times while the Welcome Stamp remains valid.
Barbados reopened its borders to international travel on July 12, but all visitors are required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from an accredited laboratory. Travellers from high-risk countries such as the U.S. must take the test no more than 72 hours before departure; those coming from low-risk areas can be swabbed a week before the trip. Test results must also be submitted electronically at travelform.gov.bb for validation by Barbados’ Ministry of Health and Wellness.