Petition calling for TA form to be scrapped reaches 2,500 signatures
More than 2,500 people have now signed an online petition calling on the Government to drop the Travel Authorisation Form.
The TAF, introduced in June 2020 and expected to continue until March 2023, has been denounced by the Opposition as a “stealth tax”.
The fee for the TAF was cut from $75 to $40 last month.
The petition, which was launched on Tuesday, has so far racked up 2,555 signatures.
The form, introduced as part of travel restrictions against Covid-19, has been subject to delays — which the Government attributed to IT problems as well as travellers submitting their information too soon before their flights.
One resident told The Royal Gazette yesterday: “I've had nothing but problems with this previously whilst travelling.”
Another said: “I helped my 85-year-old mother submit her TA form over a week before her travel.
“After three days of no reply, I called the Covid hotline to check on progress because I had to travel myself imminently and needed to print the form for her as she was getting anxious.”
“Because my passport has all my info on it. I shouldn't have to fill out any forms or pay any money except duty to return home. It's just another way government is robbing us. We're taking pipe living in Bermuda. And you wonder y people are leaving.”
“I'm travelling Friday and this is unnecessary BDA really should be ashamed to do this to the people of this country haven't the government taxed us enough for their mistakes.”
Despite the hotline’s automated message stating he would reach someone within three minutes, he said he waited on hold for 25 minutes.
“When I eventually got through the operator, she said there were delays in processing the large number of applications so they prioritised immediate travellers.
“To her credit, the operator processed it then within seconds.”
He added: “I guess the early birds get punished in Bermuda.
“This is more friction for tourists and makes Bermuda travel an unappealing hassle compared to other destinations that have scrapped this paperwork nonsense.”
The TAF fee was cut from March 7, and the form can be booked through the Government’s website up to one month before travel.
Visitors are warned to book more than 24 hours before their flights to avoid being denied boarding.