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Process for children of Bermudians born overseas to get status to be made easier

Stamped: a Bermuda Immigration officer holds up a passport showing the stamp, which says the holder is registered as a Bermudian. Under a new policy, it will be easier for the children of Bermudians living abroad to get status. (File photograph)

The process for Bermudians to get status for their children born overseas will be made easier under a new policy announced by the labour minister today.

Jason Hayward told MPs this morning that Bermudian parents living abroad will no longer have to swear a document certifying that they consider Bermuda their domicile and that they intend to return to the island.

Instead, the Bermudian status application form will be amended from April 5 to include a statement in which they attest to the fact that Bermuda is their domicile.

Mr Hayward said the requirement for an Affidavit of Domicile, which had to be be sworn by a notary public, could be “costly and complicated for the parents” and time consuming for both the applicant and the Department of Immigration because at times the applicants had to produce documentation going back several generations.

Mr Hayward said that the Repatriation and Mixed Status Families Amendment, which last year gave automatic Bermudian status to children born of Bermudian parents abroad, did not address the problem, because it was not retroactive and only applied to children born after September 20, 2020.

Bermudian parents of children born before September 20 last year must still attest that Bermuda is their domicile.

Mr Hayward said the new Bermuda Status form will include a declaration that defines the term domicile as: “The country in which a person is domiciled is the country that the person regards as home. Therefore, to be domiciled in Bermuda, a person must regard Bermuda as home (ie the place to which he eventually intends to return) regardless of the country in which he is temporarily or ordinarily resident at the time.”

He said the declaration will require applicants to attest to the accuracy of their statement. The form will also be say that false statements on applications are liable to fines and imprisonment.

Mr Hayward said the change followed promises made last August to deal with the problem. Under last year’s policy change, for children born overseas to a Bermudian parent after September 20, the parents of these children are not required to prove that they were domiciled in Bermuda at the time of the child’s birth for up to two generations of children born overseas.

This means that if a Bermudian has a child born overseas, that child is automatically Bermudian at birth without the need to fulfil any other requirement. And if that child born overseas in turn has a child of his or her own, that second generation born overseas will also be Bermudian from birth.

But the legislation was not retroactive, meaning Bermudian parents of children born before September 20, 2020 must still attest that Bermuda is their domicile in order to attain status.

The revised and updated application for Bermudian Status will be posted on April 5, 2021 on the Department of Immigration’s website, located at: https://www.gov.bm/online-services/applybermudian-status

Application Fees and Online Banking Information for the Department of Immigration may be found on the Immigration website at: https://www.gov.bm/department/immigration.

Mr Hayward added: “The Government seeks to increase the number of persons living and working in Bermuda, and particularly focus on the repatriation of Bermudians.

“These changes align with that mandate, while reducing red-tape and a decades-old headache for many.”

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Published March 22, 2021 at 11:30 am (Updated March 22, 2021 at 7:01 pm)

Process for children of Bermudians born overseas to get status to be made easier

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