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Government refunding TA money to travellers who prepaid before scheme ended early

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A screenshot from a Government of Bermuda instructional video for completing a Travel Authorisation form (File Photograph)

Refunds for people who prepaid the controversial $40 Travel Authorisation fee before it was ended early are getting refunds – but the process will take up to two months.

It was announced in the Throne Speech that the TA system would end on November 13, more than two weeks before the previous stated date of November 30.

People eligible for refunds include travellers who applied for arrival between November 14 to 30, 2022, and passengers on the Oceania Sirena, which embarked on November 4, and Norwegian Joy, which embarked on November 12.

It also includes travellers on two Norwegian Getaway cruises that were cancelled due to weather and which were scheduled to embark on September 3, and September 22, respectively.

The reimbursements began last Monday, according to the Ministry of Health, but the travellers will have to wait between six and eight weeks to get their money back.

Refunding will happen chronologically, starting from November 14 and working towards the end of the month.

A Government spokesman said: “Travellers requiring a TA refund do not need to contact the TA help desk and should refrain from flagging their card transactions with their bank as this can potentially slow down the refund.”

Vance Campbell, the tourism minister, last week welcomed the cancellation of the fee, stating it was “good that we have that distraction out of the way”.

Vance Campbell, tourism minister (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The TA form, originally brought-in as border protection against Covid-19, was predicted to generate $22 million – but Mr Campbell said Finance Ministry figures showed that the Government had raised between $23 and $24 million.

Earlier this month, a couple whose cruise to Bermuda was cancelled because of a tropical storm revealed they had to wait five months to get a refund of their TA fees from the Government.

Rob Butler, who was due to visit the island with his wife, Jean, in June, said their $80 payment was returned by the Department of Health only after The Royal Gazette intervened.

Other tourists due to travel on the same voyage, which was shelved because of Tropical Storm Alex, told the newspaper they were still waiting for their TA refunds.

The Government has been asked how many people are eligible for the refund.

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Published November 18, 2022 at 7:54 am (Updated November 18, 2022 at 7:54 am)

Government refunding TA money to travellers who prepaid before scheme ended early

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