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New guidelines for visitors seeking long term stays in Bermuda

Extensions: visitors can apply to stay beyond the maximum 180 days (File photograph)

Tourists who would like to extend their stay in Bermuda beyond six months were asked to follow a new application process.

Guidelines announced today also included changes for business visitors and people with periodic work permits who would like to apply for extensions.

A Government spokeswoman said that the maximum length of stay for all tourists was increased from 90 days to 180 days from August 1, 2020.

But she added: “At the end of which, visitors are expected to depart Bermuda.”

The spokeswoman said: “The Department of Immigration notes that visitors wishing to remain in Bermuda beyond the maximum period allowed should submit an application requesting permission to reside on an annual basis.”

She said that “visitors who require an extension based on extenuating circumstances” should follow a new visitor extension procedure.

The spokeswoman added: “In an effort to adjust to the global pandemic and its associated challenges, the Bermuda Government recognises that visitors may desire to remain on island longer than the allotted 180 days.

“In conjunction with the increasing health and safety measures being implemented globally, and Bermuda’s relatively low per capita infection rate of Covid-19, the island has had success in opening its borders to individuals who possess an adequate independent means to remain as long-term visitors to the island.

“This should not be confused with the current Work From Bermuda certificate already in place, which is designed for students and digital nomads.

“This new initiative will appeal to those visitors who do not have a need to work while on the island.

“Instead, these visitors can simply enjoy the safety and beauty of Bermuda’s shores for a longer, extended period of time.”

Anyone interested can complete an Application For Residence Form and submit evidence of financial means – such as a bank statement – as well as evidence of a local health insurance policy to cover the duration of the residency asked for.

The documents, which must include a police clearance certificate and proof of payment of the $263 application fee, should be in a sealed envelope deposited in the drop box on the first floor of the Government Administration Building on Parliament Street, Hamilton.

Business visitors who were granted a maximum stay of 21 days or people with a Periodic Work Permit – which allows no more than 30 days per visit – were told that the process for requesting an extension has changed.

Applications should be sent by e-mail to at least two weeks before the expiration date of the existing permission, when possible.

The Government spokeswoman said: “Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there are no in-person interviews conducted until further notice.

“All correspondence – including payment – is to be sent online.”

Applicants need a letter of support from the Bermuda company they are working with, their original return travel booking and a passport or travel document valid for at least 45 days past the intended departure date.

Visas for the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom will also be needed in some cases and a copy of the periodic work permit should be included in the application.

The spokeswoman added: “All applicable fees will be paid only after permission has been granted.

“An officer will contact the applicants via e-mail with specific instructions for online payments.

“These fees are non-refundable, therefore, applicants are urged to avoid making any payments prior to receiving notification of an approved visitor extension application.”

UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect that the guidelines announced today relate to a new visitor extension procedure.

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Published January 22, 2021 at 1:00 pm (Updated January 22, 2021 at 4:17 pm)

New guidelines for visitors seeking long term stays in Bermuda

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